Thursday, July 13, 2006

Suzanne, art dealertrix

Today I spent the afternoon reading Am I Gay?. Between questions about whether giving hand relief to a tranny rates you as a gay, I rattled off some questions to my pal Suzanne, who runs The Beholder Gallery an online no-bullshit gallery, where normal people can buy original, reasonably-priced fine art without dealing with the weirdness of a gallery.

She's also great art director.

Here's the Q&A. I did not ask her if she thought I was gay.

G: You've got a gallery, yeah? You just up and did it. Why did you do it?

S: I've always felt that the art establishment was just a little too
haughty for what is essentially a business driven by money.
Maybe I've got a chip on my shoulder for becoming a graphic designer and never wanting to play the art game seriously. But that's another story.

The Beholder was started to give people a way to connect with artists outside of the usual way. The web lets people look at their own pace and decide for themselves what they like for whatever reason.

I've sold a number of pieces to people I know are just getting into
buying art. And when someone tells me its their first piece of "real" art I get all excited, because that's really my goal.

G:Have artists responded to the web gallery concept?

S:I just got a submission today from an artist who has taken a really
established path: Yale Grad School and a bunch of NY shows.

When folks like that come to me because they like what I'm doing, I know that I must be doing something right. Some are doing it for kind of an experiment and are not sure my idea is for them, and some really get it and are helping me with shows and promotions.

G:Does it bring them closer to the collector?

S:There hasn't been that much "customer bonding" but the buyers who I do get to know are curious about the artists and vice versa.

G: Next! What sort of background do you have? Any fancy pants art training?

S:I have been working in the art-for-commerce world for about 15 years and have really enjoyed it.I was nervous at first when I started the gallery that I don't have any formal experience selling fine art, but I think that turns out to be a bonus most of the time. Sometimes I ask dumb questions, but for the most part, people are pretty understanding.

G:How do you find the artists? Right now, my fav painter on your site is Bob Bechtol. Great stuff. Perfect for say, a birthday present. For me. (And of course, Robert Hardgrave is awesome. And Katja.)

S: At first it was begging my friends and now it's almost half
submissions, which is great. Everyone has a different perspective and is in
different points in their careers, which is the fun part.

Robert Hardgrave just opened a big show at BLK MRKT in LA which is a pretty big deal. Pretty soon he won't be needing me anymore (sob) but I'm stoked that I found him before they did.

G: Have you ever rented art to porno film productions?

S: Maybe the stuff behind glass...

G: I have a dead trout in an aquarium filled with aspic. Will you unload it for me? 50/50?

S: You could try calling Saatchi, I hear he's quite a nice bloke.

G: One more question: Were you aware there's monster in
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons called a beholder? It's pretty badass, too.

S: Sweet. Maybe I can contact them to do some "cross-promotion."

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