First of all let me tell you a short history of my artistic development. I studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art, the same place Jeff Koons went to. After getting a BFA in sculpture in 1988, I moved to Italy and worked as a street artist. I painted and sold in Piazza Pitti, Piazza Santa Croce and Piazzale Michelangelo. That’s were I learned to paint and also were I learned a LOT about life. I learned how to mass produce paintings and I knew I was going to get the hell out of there. Street vending is a school of life. Not for the faint of heart.
In 2006, I moved to Paris for personal reasons and walked around the city. I happened across Carré d’artistes gallery on rue Saint André des Arts. I thought about sending them an application but didn’t. That was before they opened the EXPO on the same street. Then, my gallerist from Nantucket introduced me to the manager who opened the first Carré d’artistes gallery in the Marais. I still didn’t apply.
Some years went by and I was contacted by Carré on the internet, I don’t remember how they contacted me. Later, I was at the Bastille (in Paris) for the GMAC — the Grand Marché d’Art Contemporain, and Deborah came to my stand. She was the artistic director at the time. She asked me if I would like to work with Carré d’artistes. I said I’d think about it, but I didn’t apply. After working as a street artist in Florence for years making tiny paintings, I knew I could do it but I wanted to make large paintings and Carré didn’t offer the opportunity to exhibit large formats. Other galleries contacted me, I exhibited. Met agents. My paintings sold on auction.
Again, I was contacted via email, again I ignored the invitation.
The next year at the GMAC, Deborah came to my stand and asked if I might like to work with them. (I’m sure she met several artists, not only me.) I hesitated. She told me to talk to Daniel Castan, and other artists who were at the GMAC. She left my stand. I went to Castan and the other artists, and asked them how it was to work with Carré d’artistes.
Every single artist had ONLY positive things to say about them. So, I sent an application. The way it used to be. Four paintings. With a check. To the headquarters.
They accepted my application and I received my first order. Forty paintings in 60 days. That was in 2013. Since then I’ve painted close to 400 paintings for them and they’ve sold lots.
Last year, my paintings were selected for their website and I was offered an exhibition in at the large format gallery on rue Saint André des Arts in Paris. The show ran from January to April 2015. Then a few weeks ago I had a dédicace at the Lille gallery on rue Esquermoise with the adorable Céline Jacob. The show didn’t go as planned because of a technical problem but it was a fantastic success.
Every single person I’ve dealt with from Carré d’artistes, has been kind. They are professional. They give contracts. They pay. They follow up. They are innovative and they are expanding. Take a look at their website. How many galleries are expanding like they are? How many businesses let alone galleries are expanding? Is there really a crisis in the art market or are “traditional” galleries using an archaic business plan?
When I decided to work with them, I had a talk with myself. I didn’t know if I wanted to work with a corporation and not the individual. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue painting small works. I am so happy I applied. Thank you Daniel Castan for telling me, “What are you waiting for?”
No one has asked me to write this post. Now I’ve got to get back to my easel.