Most popular art galleries originate in entrepreneurs’ cunning minds. Terrell Tilford’s gallery, Band of Vices, originated in his living room.

After he and his wife, actress Victoria Platt, successfully hosted an art show in their Los Angeles home in February of 2003, the pair decided to do it again. “I reached out to five different artists,” Tilford recounts to the Weekly. “And when we opened up that [second] show two months later, you would have thought we were a drug house!”

Nearly a hundred people showed up in his living room, and Tilford remembers, “literally people were walking around going, ‘I want that, I want that, I’ll take that, I’ll take this one.’ It was crazy.”

The kind of crazy that an art fiend who started collecting art at the age of 16 eagerly embraced. Located in the heart of the West Adams district, Band of Vices is the people’s art gallery. “It’s about the artists, it’s about the people, it’s about people bringing their individuality into the venue,” Tilford says.

Although the space opened in May of 2018, it has already produced acclaimed shows, including “You Is Pretty!” —Chelle Barbour’s afro-surrealist show that was co-curated by Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett. Tilford says he’d like to collaborate with director Ava DuVernay and producer Swizz Beatz in the future.

But the real stars of Band of Vices are its diverse roster of artists and the neighborhood where it resides. Tilford, a Los Angeles native, envisioned a space that would dismantle the separation and exclusivity prevalent in the art world. “I think when people walk by and see themselves on the wall, they know they’re included right away,” he shares.

Band of Vices’ commitment to inclusion and showcasing the work of emerging and established artists distinguishes it from other galleries. “We’ve done more solo shows of women of color than probably any gallery here in L.A. in the past five years,” Tilford states. A 21 year-old Nigerian-American artist Monica Ikegwu from Baltimore, and 17 year-old Remi Patton, a local artist, completed sold-out shows at the gallery; and the beginning of 2020 will showcase WAVES, a solo show by Shantell Martin that will create a “complete experiential process.”

But even such inclusive, sold-out art shows of top-notch artists aren’t enough for Tilford, who maintains an ever-expanding vision. The gallery’s ARt2You program delivers curated art shows into homes, offices and public venues. ”It’s almost like a Tupperware party for art,” Tilford explains. “We recognize that there are so many people that have never set foot in the gallery before, so our goal is to get out into the streets more, to push the art that way.”

Art is clearly Tilford’s vice of choice, and he’s pushing for it to become the neighborhood’s favorite vice, too. “This is here for all of us. There’s no, you know, airs about anything. We want to engage people with it — because how many of us grew up with an art gallery right in our own neighborhood?”

Terrell Tilford (Photo by Danny Liao)

LA Weekly