fbpx
tag Sign Up for our Newsletter
Site Logo
Don’t miss out on the art world’s most entertaining newsletter - every Friday. And career news every Tuesday.
Become a members
Woman Shaping the Art World: Anna Maja Spiess & Franziska Paul
Anna & Franziska, Founders Cicada Concepts
Career 11 Jun 2019

20190611_AnnaMajaSpiessFranziskaPaul_theartgorgeous
Anna Maja Spiess, Franziska Paul, Founders

Cicada Concepts is a Berlin-based creative agency offering solutions for the physical space. We develop ideas from the ground up or help translate existing projects into a more sustainable, culturally intelligent concept that fosters growth and connectivity while keeping a close eye on flawless execution and the highest aesthetic standard. We had the pleasure chatting with the two ladies on top of it about mentors they learned from, first jobs and an outlook for 2025

20190611_AnnaMajaSpiessFranziskaPaul2_theartgorgeous

 

Maja

Where did you do your first internship?

At ARDI a service for archeological digs. We had pouring rain every single day, 40 degrees (4 celsius) and there was zero adventure and just loads of hard work. I had calluses on my hands for years after 😉 kinda gave up my Indiana Jones aspirations after that and moved on to Art.

Did you have any mentors you learned a lot from?

I was lucky enough to work for and with an amazing, badass group of women over the years! From my first art gig with Annette Vogel, to my times at the Galerie Thomas and later at Artsy I was blessed with strong female colleagues and inspiring leaders.

In no particular order: Ani Petrov, Hena Kapadia, Lara Day, Jennifer Pratt, Anna Patricia Kahn, Franziska Paul, Heike Grossmann, Hedwig Solis Weinstein, Andrea von Götz and everyone I am now shamefully forgetting. I am eternally grateful!

What was your first job?

My first proper job (after years of babysitting and odd little side gigs) was at a used book shop. Excellent training for future art fairing. (Who’s just here to browse, who to buy and who’s the weirdo who’s just here for you and how to make sure he’s not lurking when you lock up)

Did you experience a lot of competitiveness in your career path?

I did, to some extent, but luckily I was never truly in sales. I always welcome a challenge and I believe as long as it’s a fair, equal competition, it will motivate us to go above and beyond. Imagine a world where you are the only one in your field. That would be terribly boring.

Did you always like to work in the art world and why?

Art is the only constant in my life. I’ve always created my own pieces, I studied sculpture and still have my practice and it’s a very special, weird yet incredibly fun world to work in.We are so lucky: we get to travel loads, party, see places and meet quite extraordinary humans along the way. It’s a privilege to work with and for art and artists.

Do you feel the art world is undergoing lots of changes these days?

Having been at artsy the 5 years prior to founding our company I kinda was that change. So sure. There is a lot that’s possible now that would have been unthinkable 10years ago when I started out in art.

Opening the floor to a whole new, important, diverse, non-Eurocentric group of people that’s to me the most exciting change I’ve personally witnessed.

Where do you see yourself in the coming 5 years?

Cicada Concepts (the company Franziska and I founded after 15+ years of friendship, guidance and creative expression) has a diverse portfolio of exciting clients we work with. In Art and outside of it. We get to create incredible, immersive environments with an almost unlimited budget (looking at you Es Devlin 😉 and we have enough time to go to the forrest a lot. A healthy balance of excitement and calm is what we are aiming for.

Best career advice you received?

The pediatric surgeon wife of a former colleague of mine always said: „There are no real emergencies in Art.“ – especially given her job it always managed to put things into perspective.

Your words of wisdom for young women?

Be kind. To yourself and others. That moment it took you to chat with a shipper or ask a gallery assistant if she/he is alright will go a long way. Don’t think the way to the top (wherever that is for you 😉 is all elbows. It’s a bit of that but mostly it’s staying human, and humble and real.

And do the things that work. Forcing things takes way too much energy.

Oh and find your partner in crime. There is no reason to do this alone. There are people out there that will be your people and they make all the highs and lows of this job 1000% better!

 

Franziska

Where did you do your first internship?

At a traditional furniture restorer who unfortunately no longer exists. In “Adams Fachwerkstatt” in Schwabing, the artists’ district of Munich, the picturesque workshop was located in a backyard of an old building. The wonderful Fjodor, the muscle-bound, Russian chief restorer, as tall as he was wide, was my patient teacher. My speciality was the retouching of historical surfaces with watercolour.

Did you have any mentors you learned a lot from?

I’ve met an incredible number of inspiring people in my life, both professionally and privately, and I’ve learned something from all of them!

What was your first job?

I‘ve worked for a publisher, sold clothes, vinyls and CDs, learned to make perfect cappuccinos as a barista, installed solar panels on roofs and drove people as a chauffeur. My first artworld gig after studying Interior Architecture was as a designer, exhibition architect and project manager in an agency for museum scenography.

Did you experience a lot of competitiveness in your career path?

I’ve been in the creative industry for some time – the pressure is incredibly high. Creative output in all fields is often not adequately valued, creative achievements are not paid as other professions are and so many creative people are forced to work for next to nothing.

Did you always like to work in the art world and why?

I don’t feel alive until I can create things. The possibility to bring an idea, an electric impulse in my head, to life, to invent something new and to bring it into the world simply gives me incredible joy and is the greatest gift life has given me.

Do you feel the art world is undergoing lots of changes these days?

Truths are spoken these days, especially about the role of women in the art world, which is good. Taboo topics are addressed and forms the fundament for change. We have to stay alert and collectively turn words and media reports into actions.

Where do you see yourself in the coming 5 years?

In my longtime close friend and partner in crime, Maja, I also found an excellent business partner, with whom working together becomes an art form in itself. We simply continue where we just started: creating living, stirring, moving scenographies for everyone – trust us, it’ll be great!

Best career advice you received?

Believe in yourself and work with people you like.

Your words of wisdom for young women?

Listen to yourself – You don’t have to do everything just because you’re able to do it! When something gets crazy tiring, behaves square and edgy, ask yourself if you really need it or if you or something is making it unnecessarily hard for you right now. Get rid of ballast. When things flow, you are on the right track. This is just as true for the implementation of ideas as it is for people. Go with the flow!

You May Also Like

Weekly Wrap-Up
Weekly Wrap-Up
Strategies for Boosting Confidence in Your Creative Career
Strategies for Boosting Confidence in Your Creative Career
Navigating Art Galleries - How to Get Your Work Exhibited
Navigating Art Galleries - How to Get Your Work Exhibited
Top Curators Activate Public Space in London For World Environment Day
Top Curators Activate Public Space in London For World Environment Day
Weekly Wrap Up News
Weekly Wrap Up News
Will You Be Tuning Into Anna Delvey’s Latest Project?
Will You Be Tuning Into Anna Delvey’s Latest Project?

LATEST JOBS

Workplace Operations Specialist
NETFLIX - Los Angeles, California, USA
Freelance Videographer (remote from France)
Canva - Paris, France
Department Coordinator - Fine & Decorative Arts
Heritage Auctions - Dallas, TX, USA
Assistant or Associate Curator of Native American Art
Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) - State of Minnesota, USA
ALL 57 JOBS