Interview to Tiziana Maggio. ‘Spirit of beauty, where are thou gone? ‘
In 1816, English poet Percy Shelley asked in his Hymn to Intellectual Beauty: ‘Spirit of beauty, that dost consecrate with thine own hues all thou dost shine upon of human thought or form, where are thou gone? ‘. Shelley came to find the answer in Italy. Now in 2018 I like to think that the answer has arrived in London with Tiziana Maggio and her boutique art consultancy specialised on sourcing art for the real estate sector, for residential and commercial spaces to enrich them with unique character and style. Tiziana is an independent art consultant, curator, writer for art magazines, and art enthusiast. Her passion is founded on her specialised studies in Fine Art and her work experience with the Italian Government. In London, she worked for a number of commercial galleries until she created her art consultancy as she explained to us.
-Tiziana, how and when was the idea for your art consultancy born?
-Almost 6 years ago I realised there was a gap in the market. Almost everybody in the art industry was focussed on private collectors but no one was servicing the real estate professionals. Developers, real estate agents, interior designers were left to wander on Google images for inspiration, often leaving walls blank and spaces empty. I founded my art consultancy with the idea of bringing original art by talented emerging artists into the new commercial developments, offices and private properties in London. We all agree that having art in work spaces has recognised benefits in terms of productivity, mood and general well being. Yet, art can also enhance the economic value of property, facilitating its rental or sale. In terms of business model, our focus is on leasing original art that we also sell. Leasing is an excellent way for companies to avoid capex and having to commit to a piece that might be not the right fit in the long term.
In fact, many of our clients prefer to ‘rent & rotate’ such that their spaces are refreshed with new art on a regular basis.
-In Italy we are immersed in art on a daily basis, thanks to our rich artistic heritage. Is there a relationship between your agency and this Italian artistic immersion?
-If you grow up in Italy, you are used living, studying and working surrounded by incredible art. For example, my university courses were held in a beautiful XII Century monastery with stunning medieval frescos, whilst in the offices of the Italian government where I worked we were surrounded by XVII Century paintings from the Caravaggio’s school. With this in mind, I believe that with my consultancy I am aiming to bring back that everyday fascination for art, inherited from the Italian background, and enrich working and living spaces. Yet at the same time, it is a counter to Italy’s tendency to focus predominantly on the Old Masters. In fact, with my agency we promote and support talented emerging artists who hopefully will be the Masters of tomorrow.
-Art galleries are increasingly using online platforms to sell their works. Do they risk of becoming commoditize? Do you think that this digitisation is positive?
-According to Deloitte’s 2017 on Art and Finance report, the online art market continues to show resilience and further growth. In fact per the Hiscox ‘Online Art Trade Report 2017’ online art market sales reached an estimated US $3.75 billion in 2016, marking a 15% increase from 2015. This gave the online art market an estimated 8.4% share of the overall art market, up from 7.4% in 2015. Therefore these numbers show that art galleries are facing an unprecedented opportunity to connect with their audience on a global scale with relative ease. For example they can nurture relationships with and sell art to collectors all over the world with sites like Artsy.
Yet by the same token, online platforms like Artfinder or Saatchi Art are equally giving the same opportunity to artists to sell directly to their followers. So, ironically the very thing that is supporting galleries, could be ultimately detrimental to them as the market disintermediates. At the end, this disruption in the art world echoes what we have seen in many sectors across the arts, including television and music with YouTube and iTunes.
-London has always been considered an international melting-pot. Is this still the case? Where do your artists come from and are you able to attract international clients?
-London has always fascinated and attracted artists and art lovers from all over the world for its wealth of exhibitions and opportunities. Brexit or not, London continues to be the beating heart of the art scene. My artists in fact have very international backgrounds: coming from Korea, Usa or Australia they have moved to London for either its top class colleges like the Royal College of Art and the Central St. Martin, or for the very unique residencies, like the ones at Gasworks Gallery and at the Acme studios, or for the valuable international exposure. I can say the same for our clients, well travelled art connoisseurs who value the idea of offering an international showcase of art in their properties and not least because their tenants or residents are themselves coming from all over the world and they definitely feel at home being surrounded by inspiring and cosmopolitan paintings or sculptures in their working and living spaces.
-Who are the artists that have recently caught your attention?
-In the last year I have been focusing my curatorial research on large scale work. I have been working with internationally acclaimed painter Anca Stefanescu: she brings a huge amount of mastery of digital colour theory and compositional elements from the computer screen to very big canvases, where she finishes up with strokes of oil paint full of energy. London based, she has been featured in numerous galleries and exhibitions from USA to Italy. I love her bright colours and captivating characters, women and animals, that populate her works. Another artist I am currently working with is Mexican-French-American Alicia Paz. Her paintings, collages and standing figures focus on the female form. Inhabiting fantastical and exotic landscapes, Paz’s feminine subjects become fused with organic life creating strange and unsettling visions of tree-women and monster-women. Paz’s work has been the subject of various catalogues and publications and has been reviewed internationally. I am always fascinated by her ethereal scenes where you can spot hidden messages and meanings and forms if you look closer.