To many outsiders the art world is a glamorous life full of champagne and parties. And, while to some extent that is true, there is also a lot of grit, demanding clients and hard-to-please artists. But what is it really like to work in the art world, and what are the perks? We spoke to our favourite art girls – from conservators to curators – to find out!
Amanda Imai, Art and Archaeological Conservator @curatorialchronicles
One of my favourite things about being a conservator is being able to look at centuries-old art and artefacts up close. Oftentimes we’re the ones who discover newfound secrets as to who made them and why.
Aimee Dawson, Associate Digital Editor The Art Newspaper @amldawson
The perks have definitely dropped off during the pandemic… They used to include jetting off to exciting locations, being wined and dined at beautiful places and having access to some incredible art and creative minds. Hopefully one day some of these will return – perhaps less of the flying but certainly the return of local exhibition and auction previews. But by far the best perk is having so much access – saying you work for a leading arts publication means you get to speak to the most amazing artists and get sneak peeks at a lot of exclusive events. Because of my job I’ve been able to personally meet and interview some of my great artist heroines like Dia Batal, Larissa Sansour and Shirin Neshat – and through that I’m even lucky enough to call them friends
Aindrea Emelife, Art Historian, Writer, Curator @aindrealondon
- Interacting with artists. Artists are my favourite kind of people. The conversations I have are one of the biggest perks.
- Having a platform for change. The idea that something I write or curate may affect someone, open up new perspectives or catalyse new thinking excites me like nothing else.
- Being around works of art that epitomise beauty, provoke and make me think is a luxury. The backdrop of the curator job is a constant reel of stimulating art works to engage with.
- What desk job? Things have changed during lockdown but I spend my days bouncing from place to place, meeting interesting people, plotting and dreaming. It’s exhilarating. No day is the same.
Dima Abdul Kader, Co-founder Emergeast @emergeast
Special personalised gifts from artists and all the behind the scenes access to amazing art in the making
Daria Borisova, Curator and Art Advisor @punh
The positivity of the job is always meet with inspirational people and making connections that can develop into both friendship and business. Also travel and meeting the most creative people. The best thing is the people, I really love the people around me
Alma Zevi, Gallerist @almazevi
There are so many perks of my job. Mostly that I get to do what I love and am surrounded by amazing art and artists
Roisin Tapponi, Founder Habibi Collective @habibicollective
A special perk is helping to support and engage with work of emerging talent
Natasha Arselan, CEO Auc Art @natashaarselan
Firstly – I’m grateful for the fantastic & efficient team at AucArt. I meet a lot of talented artists, I get the opportunity to escape into their universe via studio visits. I meet a lot of interesting people from all over the world who share the same interest (art is universal). I love living/being around artworks, feeling the presence & beauty on a daily basis. Work has also taken me to some very fascinating places.
Special perks of my job in the art world are many and varied. There is a social component on the one hand, and a financial component on the other. Of primary importance, of course, is the direct access to artworks and artist studios. As an art dealer you can also do wonderful bartering. This is not only fun, but also very practical! You can not only exchange artwork for artwork, but also art for jewelry, design, fashion or vacation homes. The access or the possession of works of art therefore enables various discounts. You just need to go for it.
Rebecca Anne Proctor, Arts Journalist @rebeccaanneproctor
Since leaving my role as editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar Art and Harper’s Bazaar Interiors in November my career has taken a turn. While I still report regularly on art and culture in the MENA region and Africa and also the luxury market, I have been reporting also on current affairs in the Middle East and Africa as well as doing more broadcasting which I have discovered I really love! Working at the interstices of culture and international affairs has shown me how important it is to be surrounded by art. One of the perks of reporting on art and culture in the Middle East and Africa are the many opportunities to discover new artists, curators and art lovers and to be surrounded by powerful works of art. I still believe that it is often the artists that have the best pulse on what is happening in any given society and you can usually see it in their work. Pre-Covid I was on a plane nearly every week to attend art fairs, exhibitions and biennials across the globe. While I at times miss the travel I am relishing all of the experiences that my career has allowed me to have around the world. Here in Dubai, I continue to visit artist’s studios and gallery exhibitions now that we are no longer in lockdown and this brings me great joy.