And she’s doing a pretty good job of it, too.
Flora Alexandra Ogilvy
'In a nutshell,' Flora explains, ‘Arteviste creates accessible editorial, video and events-based content with a focus on the emerging art market across London, Berlin and New York.' She also takes collectors on artist studio visits and hosts intimate supper clubs with hotshot emerging contemporary artists.
Using Arteviste as a spring board, the young art consultant is opening up the contemporary art market to a tech-savvy audience. 'It's no longer about knowing the auction schedule by heart,' she says, 'it's about being on the pulse digitally. The best artists can now be found on social media.'
Flora waxes lyrical about the opportunities social media, in particular Instagram, has offered her professionally and the emerging artists she represents. ‘Social media empowers and liberates emerging artists from the conventional hierarchical gallery system. It’s such a powerful tool for anyone working in the art world today. It can serve as a catalyst for young artists to launch their careers. I embrace it with open arms'.
India Whalley, Owner and Founder of The Dot Project
The art world can’t ignore the ever-growing power of Instagram. The recent Great Women Artists Exhibition, which exhibited 15 artists who have used Instagram as the main platform to carve out their artistic careers, was a wild success. The private view was attended by 1,200 people according to Facebook. But its real draw was the questions at its heart: can something created and curated for an on-screen gallery fare well in the real world?
Now, it's the turn of Flora and India Whalley, the founder of The Dot Project gallery, to see if it can.
Opening later this month, their co-curated upcoming exhibition, Love in a Cold Climate, focuses on the ‘most interesting young talent in Europe right now’. All of these artists, she assures me, made their name on social media. Why then stage an exhibition?
'Because we still champion the creative process, the physical work, the tangible,' Flora stresses. ‘Anything can look good, pint-size on a small screen. But in the gallery, the works will have the space to breathe. These artists are still ultimately creating works to be seen, to be loved. They are evocative and emotive. We respect that,' she sums up.
Sang Woo Kim, (Untitled uneven diptych) crying to shout, 2017, Mixed Media on Canvas
Inspired by Nancy Mitford’s novel of the same name, Love in a Cold Climate knits together abstraction and figuration. It attempts to foreground tensions between surface and space, the concrete and the sublime, whilst also exploring the physicality of the human body.
Sipping her matcha latte in a cosy booth in Soho House, Flora swipes through a reel of pictures on her iPhone. ‘The exhibited artists come from all over and work in a variety of different mediums,' she says.
Scarlett Bowman will exhibit works which recall the aesthetics of minimalism and British abstract art, while the collage-like bold canvases of Brixton local, Milla Eastwood play with perspective.
Sang Woo Kim, the British-Korean artist-model who has acquired an impressive 90,000 followers on Instagram, has a creative impetus that is rooted in a dislocated sense of self. 'He explores ideas of heritage in his work,' Flora exclaims, 'his work speaks of his eclectic identity.'
Jack Penny, Tropical Dancing, 2017
Why call it Love in a Cold Climate? ‘For us,' Flora replies instantaneously, ‘Love in a Cold Climate encapsulates the hybrid nature of the artists’ work. There is an element of romance to all the exhibited work but there is still a hard edge to it. It’s not flourishing decorative work, it’s provocative, insightful and thought provoking.’
All the works exhibited in Love in a Cold Climate are for sale. But the prices are not eye-wateringly expensive. Investing in emerging artists offers new or younger collectors ‘an entry point into the contemporary art market,' Flora exclaims, 'it also allows collectors to follow the artist's journey'.
‘Although we originally found the six exhibiting artists through Instagram almost all of the artists are now friends. For me, it’s not about the money, or the publicity. If it was, I wouldn’t focus on emerging artists. It’s about the human aspect, the friendships, the stories behind the work and the artist. These stories make a piece come to life. This is what makes art liveable. Following the creative journey makes you fall in love with it.' Her approach is refreshing to say the least.
Flora and India, by Jill Damatac Futter
This female power duo seem to have cracked it, but it's not always been an easy ride. Flora’s adamant that their success has not come without real hard graft and determination. 'Being two young women in a still predominantly patriarchal art world has its challenges,' she argues, 'but this kind of obstacle just makes us work harder. I hope in some minor way to show that the art world is changing, and changing quickly. It's open to you, it's just up to you to embrace it.'
It's this forward-thinking and open mindset that distinguishes both Flora and India from the more established, traditional dealers populating the art world. Now, it's time to see whether their hard work will live up to real-life scrutiny.
Art-market buzz around the exhibited emerging artists has never been so loud. But can they live up to expectations?
|What||Love in a Cold Climate, The Dot Project|
|Where||The Dot Project, London, SW3 6HS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
30 Nov 17 – 28 Jan 18, Open Monday - Saturday, Closed Sundays
|Website||Please click here for more information|