A Return To Passion - Small Town Girl, Turned International Art Dealer - DIVE Madhouse Mag

A Return To Passion – Small Town Girl, Turned International Art Dealer

Through many years and aversions, destiny could not be denied. How roaming the globe and “rolling up my sleeves” led me back to art.

We can all recount that moment in our earliest youth, sitting attentively in a kindergarten classroom, when we’re asked the infamous question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Easy! Without hesitation, our nubbly little 5-year-old fingers start working out the the illustration of a stick-figured future self. In my drawing, I sat at an easel with a rainbow in the background, the word “ARTIST” scribbled below. How is it that once we become older, and at an age where we can actually start taking steps toward the career we want, this image often becomes hazy, confusing, and sometimes terrifying?

Of course, many factors come into play, but in my case it was a lack of information that caused a serious diversion from my passion: ART. Growing up in a very rural community in Kentucky that focused mostly on agriculture, my earliest artistic influences came from my grandmother’s creative career as a professional lampshade designer, my mother’s crafty nature and fascination with French culture, and most specifically the large “IMPRESSIONISM” book that lived on our coffee table. Years passed and my artistic vision was further curated by television shows such as Anthony Bourdain, Project Runway and Iron Chef. I was constantly drawn to all outlets of creative expression.

After multiple independent art studies throughout high school and winning multiple awards for my own creations, graduation was approaching… and that big question introduced in Kindergarten resurfaced as: What do you want to major in, in college? The obvious answer to me was still something to do with my artistic capabilities. But what? I didn’t want to be a “starving, struggling artist” for years to come; I wanted to be successful.

Opening My Eyes to the Unfamiliar

Ultimately, I majored in International Business leading me to study in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Wow! What an experience! That year abroad totally nourished my starving soul. I explored the streets and culture of a city bursting at the seems with creative expression. Living and backpacking in South America totally opened my eyes to a universe of possibilities. I met people from all over the world– from all walks of life. I explored culinary scenes and architectural dreams, wandered museums and even found beauty in cemeteries. I learned Spanish, how to read subway maps, and even how to barter currency on the black market! Every direction offered a surprise that opened my eyes to an endless, unfamiliar world. Being uncomfortable became my new comfort zone.

20 year-old me, sketching on the Puente de la Mujer. Buenos, Aires, Argentina.

So how did you become an Art Dealer?

After graduating college, I tried out a number of other jobs– selling luxury cars, selling memorabilia at concerts, direct marketing, and eventually modeling. Modeling allowed me to work as I traveled to other cities both globally and domestically. It was during this time that I started modeling for the handbag line of Dutch artist, Caroline Dechamby. This led to assisting with marketing objectives like social media, branding and concept suggestion for her luxury items. Eventually, I had the opportunity to assist in the opening of her newest gallery space located in Saint-Tropez, France.

Caroline Dechamby Gallery and Concept Store. 14 Rue Quaranta, Saint-Tropez, France.

Wearing All The Hats

Alongside my husband (who happens to be her son!), we successfully opened the first Caroline Dechamby gallery and concept store in the Côte d’Azur. Through this experience, I learned how to sell fine art, direct PR, oversee press releases and even plan events/fashion shows. Wearing multiple hats gave me a wealth of unique knowledge and experience that has definitely lit the path for my continued journey.

Fashion Show at the pre-season launch party. Hotel Byblos, Saint-Tropez.

Keeping Momentum

Wrapping up a successful first season in Saint-Tropez, I made my way back to sunny, art-filled city of Miami, FL. Infamous for its multitude of galleries, designer goods, luxurious shopping centers and constantly expanding architecture – there is no shortage of art collectors. I was put in touch with a gallery owner, Bernard Markowicz, who interviewed me for a temp position at the Richard Orlinski Pop Up Gallery. My two week temp job turned into a permanent management position; selling Orlinski sculptures to clients from Austin, TX all the way to Kazakhstan!

Richard Orlinski Pop-Up in Miami, FL.

During Art Basel, I met someone in the gallery.. who, at first, I expected was a potential client. This person was actually secretly interviewing me for a partnership to open a gallery space in San Francisco. (You never know who you’re talking to!). Additionally, I began getting approached by corporate clients for curatorial work and artists for help in exposing their work. This led me to start Curated Concepts, offering multifaceted advising, curatorial and design services to artists, collectors and businesses.

Through Curated Concepts, I have expanded my range of clients and my network of artists, galleries and art dealers. Already, creating artistic proposals for luxury residential buildings, curating artwork for home staging, advising clients from Buenos Aires to Puerto Rico AND…

*DRUMROLL*

I have officially opened my first gallery, TRACE CONTEMPORARY, in San Francisco, CA. (Remember that secret interview?). Needless to say, my journey in the world of Fine Art has not been by the book. Alternatively, it’s been one for the books! Never in my wildest small-Kentucky-town dreams would I have thought my passion for art would inspire such an interesting professional journey.

Trace Contemporary, fine art gallery in San Francisco, CA.

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A Return To Passion - Small Town Girl, Turned International Art Dealer

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