Did you know that March is Women's History Month? To celebrate the work of just a few talented female artists, gallerists, collectors and advisors that work in the arts, we've created a Women in Art magazine. If you like this article, follow the link below for more.
Art Consultant, Laurie Carroll, is the founder of Procurio and has a wealth of experience under her belt. Starting her career in the arts as a gallerist on London's King's Road, then moving through the roles of gallery director, owner, curator, plus of course being a passionate art buyer herself.
Within Procurio's vision to make the art world more accessible for collectors, buyers, sellers and artists alike – Laurie has worked with hundreds of artists, ranging from recent graduates to fully established, helping many of them take the next steps in their careers. We worked with Laurie at our Affordable Art Fair NYC Fall fair in 2019, where she conducted expert tours and personal shopping sessions.
We caught up with Laurie to learn more about her purchasing tips, gallery walls and the inspiration behind her own art collection.
Top tips from Laurie Carroll, art personal shopper
Buying art has truly become an art in itself! Can you give us your top 3 suggestions when purchasing a work?
1. Go with your gut. Your first reaction to seeing a piece is likely to stick with you, and you'll appreciate it even more as you learn about the artist, the concept and the process.
2. Don't be afraid to engage with gallerists and ask questions. They have personally invested in the artist's career and really do care about - and believe in - the art they are selling.
3. Don't settle for artwork you don't feel strongly about. Art is more than simply a wall filler, and if you invest in pieces you love they will be become family heirlooms. That might mean spending more than you want to, but as I like to say - only cry once.
Are you an active art collector? Could you tell us about one of the first pieces you bought?
I collect what I can afford and can fit into my apartment. I’ve had to start buying smaller pieces because I have almost no wall space left! I’ve now hung two huge gallery walls to accommodate all my favorite pieces. My first real art purchase was about 11 years ago; it was a large pencil and charcoal drawing by my friend Alice von Maltzahn. She is one of the most talented artists I’ve ever seen and I wanted to invest in her career early. Her work has continued to evolve, and become more expensive! We look at the piece every day and still absolutely love it.
What are the benefits of working with an art consultant?
The art world is a very large place and can be intimidating. Where do you even start? Art consultants take your taste and budget into account and narrow down the choice for you. A good consultant should show you things that you might never have discovered on your own, or show you a different medium that you might not have considered. It could take years to find the right piece alone, but a consultant can shorten that to days or weeks. Most Importantly, a consultant will also give you confidence in the process and your purchase.
Could you explain how your process differs depending on the type of collection you are working with? How would you approach an existing collection versus one that may not have a specific aesthetic or concept behind it yet?
Working with an existing collection can be easier because you already have a pretty good idea of the client's tastes based on what's on their walls. Often they are looking for something specific so I use my network to help find them the piece, or if they're just looking for new artists I show them works I'm really excited about and think fit their aesthetic. However, starting from scratch is fun because I get to help the client figure out their own aesthetic and goals. I often show a number of works and take notes on what they like and dislike about each piece which then creates a jumping off point to find some great pieces that they might not have ever found on their own.
Could you tell us about the types of collectors you work with?
For the most part, I work with relatively new collectors. I often partner with interior designers and architects for many of my projects, and these homes have been completely renovated and we're starting from scratch! I enjoy working with new collectors and helping discover what art resonates with them. Getting people excited about this subject is my main goal!
Many of my clients are couples, but I would say women tend to participate more in the decision making process and in learning about the artists. However I always meet with both because I think it's important to cast a wider net in finding something they'll both love!
Do you work with collectors who are interested in specific types of art? For instance, works by female artists?
Mostly, I think they're like me in that, whatever work speaks to them, they buy. But I've certainly worked with collectors who wanted solely female artists. My female collectors are always thrilled when they love a piece and its by a very talented female artist. Women supporting each other whether its in the art world, or the world in general always feels great! Female artists have historically been hugely under-represented in the art world with a few obvious exceptions, but I feel that is evening out with contemporary artists.
What’s your advice for an art novice looking to buy their first piece?
If you really don’t know what you like, I think visiting an art fair is a great way to see what you’re drawn to in a short amount of time. Yes, it can be overwhelming, but wander around and take photos of the pieces that are speaking to you, that way you have a foundation of the types of pieces you like.
You should establish a budget as well, if you are looking online then it helps narrow down the search! Like I said before, buy something you love. Its always nice to have other people’s opinions, but stick to what your gut says. If it doesn’t match your sofa then good, you won’t have the sofa forever, but your art is an investment and will stick around.
What are you most inspired by? Do you have any favorite artists?
I think my personal collection is definitely from more female artists, but I collect what I like, regardless of gender. You need to support the arts and artists no matter what!
I love it when an artist takes a classic style of art (Dutch still lifes for example) and gives them a very contemporary twist. I've been seeing a lot of this happening and there seems to be a mix of both male and female artists doing it. For example, Angela Fraleigh, Kristen Sjaarda, Gordon Cheung, Wanda Benardino and Sean Malloy are producing amazing works right now!
I studied illustration, so I’m always drawn to any type of work on paper. I feel like it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. I can look at a detailed drawing all day long! Favorite artists at the moment are Alice von Maltzahn, Kazumi Yoshida, Angela Fraleigh, Oliver Jeffers, Matthew Craven, Massimo Listri, Linda Colletta and Christine Flynn (of Kahn Gallery).
What do you do to relax and find peace of mind?
Get out of the city, take the kayak out, go for a hike, just enjoy being in nature. I’m trying to put my phone down more often and allowing my mind to wander. My best ideas come when I’m a bit bored!
To start your own collecting journey, join us for the upcoming Affordable Art Fair NYC Spring edition (26 – 29 March 2020, Metropolitan Pavilion).
Laurie Carroll, founder of Procurio mid-hunt in her role as an art consultant and art personal shopper.
Featured images from first to last:
Laurie Carroll, Art Consultant.
Laurie visiting an exhibition, a perk of the job!
Laurie creating a bespoke gallery wall for a client.
An expertly hung artwork can help to bring it to life.