Have you ever wondered just how it is artists and gallerists came to pursue a career in the arts? We've been chatting to some of the gallerists and artists exhibiting at our upcoming New York fair to find out a bit more about the choices they made and events which propelled them down their different paths. Read on to find out what inspired each of these successful creatives to pursue their artsy dreams.
Mark Matkevich, founder of AXIOM CONTEMPORARY EXPLAINS WHY HE GRAVITATED TOWARDS A CAREER IN THE VISUAL ART INDUSTRY
From 18 to 31 years old, I was a professional actor. I started my studies as a Theatre major at Temple University in Philadelphia, where I’m from, and after getting scouted by a talent agent my junior year, I made the decision to leave school and move to New York. When I got there, I started getting cast pretty quickly in TV and Film roles. If anybody ever recognizes me, it's most likely from the TV show Dawson's Creek where I played Drue, but you may have seen me in anything from CSI to Sweet Home Alabama to Dexter.
When I turned 30, my father became terminally ill and with that came a lot of self-reflection. Being an actor is unlike any other profession; you are the salesman and the product. Despite a modicum of success, it was becoming less and less fulfilling to me and I just couldn't see myself sustaining it my entire life as a career. I wanted to find something that would challenge me to learn something new, and grow as a person. I wanted to get to work, and bring passion and focus to a new practice. I wanted to move my energy around in a different way, and felt like I owed it to myself.
The art business found me really. When I decided to leave the acting world, I was basically open to anything new, anything that made me feel inspired and motivated. I walked into an art gallery in Los Angeles, where I'd lived for 15 years, and fell in love with contemporary art. I started working there, met my soon-to-be business partner Jason Kirk, and within a year and a half we opened AXIOM CONTEMPORARY in Santa Monica, CA.
Wright Harvey, Co-founder of Sugarlift REVEALS SOME OF THE CHALLENGES HE FACED TRANSITIONING TO A CAREER IN THE ART WORLD
Well, the most obvious and noticeable (read: painful) transition for anyone moving from a corporate gig (Wright was a VP Business Strategist at J.P. Morgan) to being an entrepreneur is giving up that comfy bi-weekly paycheck. As an entrepreneur, no one's going to do the job for you and you need to earn every dollar and justify every expense. Therefore, there is a lot more uncertainty in your life in general.
With respect to the art world more directly, I'd say that many of the challenges come from how fragmented the art world is today and how quickly it's evolving. There are new buyers and more artists than ever before, and new ways of discovering and collecting art. For me, this is less of a challenge and more of an opportunity.
One thing I was worried about before making the switch was that I didn't want experiencing art to ever feel like work (or at least what work used to feel like). Fortunately, I still love taking my wife and daughter to the Met on Fridays and exploring all the amazing visual art all around us in New York City. Needless to say, I don't plan on retiring any of my museum memberships any time soon!
Matt Postlethwaite, who exhibits with The Art Movement, describes how he changed his career path and what he learned about himself in the process
I am still very much an actor & I always will be. For me, art / painting is something I do because I enjoy it. The process is about building up layers. I paint over paint and continue until I feel a sense of being still. One of my paintings can take a few months to create.
One of the things I learned is that you have to do what matters to you. There’s a power you have when you focus upon your joys and what excites you.