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How artists can find art collectors |Quang Bao|

Watch & Listen to this podcast Episode.

On this week’s Arts to Hearts Podcast, we have Quang Bao, who is a gallerist and feels passionately about art. As our host Charuka Arora sits down to interview him, the duo talks about the challenges and upsides of being a gallerist, how artists can sell their art more effectively, and the diversity and inclusion in the art world.

Quang has been running his own gallery, 1969, for almost 7 years now. He shares his process of choosing an artist and their artwork. While a painting can sometimes click, most of the time, his job revolves around seeing and predicting the potential of it all so he can make a decision.

Quang also talks about the upside of being a gallerist, which is that he is given the freedom and flexibility to do his work on his own terms, something that does not exist in other fields. On the other hand, for a gallery owner, the paperwork and being behind the desk can be a difficult job. In the midst of it all, Quang tries to find a balance between perceiving things as a businessman and trying to stick to the values he and his gallery represent, which is to promote the inclusion of women and other minorities in the art world.

For Quang, working with artists can also be an interesting experience as they feel everything so very deeply. He gets to be a part of their world, and he loves that. He believes that in order for artists to sell their work, it’s important that they connect with other people and try to work with the gallerists instead of doing it all on their own.

To listen to Quang share more insights into his work as a gallerist, tune in to this week’s podcast!

TimestampSummary
01:23.30Importance of trust and self-regulation in the gallery business
02:01.21The power of art and its emotional impact
05:40.82Dealing with the unpredictability of working with emerging artists
07:03.81The importance of networking within the art ecology
08:00.35The role of galleries in selling art
11:07.80Emotional intensity and personal connection in artists’ work
13:12.12Enjoyment and fulfillment in the gallery owner’s job
13:41.66Finding purpose and excitement in everyday work
15:49.68Accepting different interpretations of artworks
16:57.52Challenges of managing multiple gallery spaces
17:47.83Quang Bao discusses the gender disparity in the art world
20:49.70Quang Bao explains his approach to spotting emerging talent
23:13.23Quang Bao looks for the potential and future trajectory of emerging artists
[TRANSCRIPT]

**** – (): 00:00.00

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): You know this notion of being self-taught is such a big one for artist. Someone who is now not. You know you’re on the other side of it being a gallery owner navigating never ever. You know someone who never knew what how a gallery works like and then starting your own. And making your I making your own rules and making your own books like you know Metaphorically What do you think has been the biggest upside and the downside of this process.

**** – (): 00:28.12

**** – (): Quang Ho

**** – (): Oh probably the same answer for both which is that there are no guidelines for specific rules or even laws sometimes for how to do something you make up everything based on good practices and tell me.

**** – (): 00:41.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yes.

**** – (): 00:44.60

**** – (): Quang Ho

**** – (): Any other business you can think of where someone goes in and says I’ll buy that and then they don’t have to pay for it right away right? that doesn’t work. Well no other store does that and so there’s so many things that are about the trust of human relationships in a gallery. It’s not only just like the artist makes the best work.

**** – (): 00:47.86

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 01:04.33

**** – (): Quang Ho

**** – (): Ofelf that they can enhance it to you and says please do something good with this and you exhibit it faille and somebody says I will do I will buy it and care for it I mean this is all running on an incredible amount of trust and that’s why very important to be self regulated. Yeah, you have to.

**** – (): 01:07.15

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 01:15.57

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 01:23.30

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Good to your word, you have to be honorable to your deeds all of it because it can very easily betray and you know all is they’re happening now people are doing it and it’s in the news with the you know the Russian oligarch who’s been betrayed as and but I mean just so many instances of this.

**** – (): 01:27.90

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 01:35.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 01:41.64

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): But I think um the upside is I am a person now at age 55 who likes to do what he wants to do the way he does it I don’t care I didn’t open a store to conform to things I want to be happy and comfortable I want to be productive and successful in my own way.

**** – (): 01:59.69

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): You know.

**** – (): 02:01.21

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): And I just don’t think that that kind of laitude it exists in most other kinds of fields you know, um I feel.

**** – (): 02:07.26

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah,, that’s true and I think Also when buying a painting I think one of the most. Um, how do I say like you said you know you can find um, find a use case for someone to um, buy a furniture or. You know a product versus um there is a lot more than just a use case or um, there’s a lot of human emotions also involved in this process when you’re specifically buying a piece of art because you really can’t put a price or why you want it or a use case to it. You just.. It’s it’s It’s a lot beyond that.

**** – (): 02:47.90

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Absolutely And that’s what I love about it I Love that it’s about the ideas and the imagination I love that it’s useless like you know, ah like useless. Um, yeah I mean but there’s nothing like it because.

**** – (): 02:57.90

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, it also makes the.

**** – (): 03:03.53

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): I’m a person who believes fundamentally that experience is what’s important to us show up look at an artwork and something happens to you and you look at it again and you remember how you bought it or the conversation with all that is generative. It’s very singular. There isn’t any other experience like that in the world for you and another object. So that’s what makes it so powerful.

**** – (): 03:05.24

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, yes, absolutely.

**** – (): 03:21.21

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 03:22.78

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): And people who get that left and that’s that’s why they have to have it. Yeah but to answer your other question I Think the downside is the tremendous amount of administrative work that is involved I do not think anybody understands until they’re behind the desk of a gallery How hard it is to be a good secretary to make those.

**** – (): 03:30.77

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 03:41.99

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Numbers. Um, those conversions those dollars those that paperwork you know of what we call stewardship be perfect and that’s hard.

**** – (): 03:47.46

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah, that’s true What do you think in the first few years I’m going to continue on this hardship. The first few years I think for any business are first five years I really said like you know they’re the most um in hard ones if you make it for for the first one you’re going to survive for the first next three if you make the for next three and if you survive the 5 you know you are here for a longer run so you’ve survived much more than 5 so. What do you think were the most um one of the most hard parts of running a gallery business that often people do not estimate or understand and what were those for you in the early years of starting the gallery.

**** – (): 04:36.44

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Um, I would say generally speaking that selling art is a like a matchmaking and matchmaking wires it to be 100% right and when these couple involved. It’s got to be 200% both have to and so.

**** – (): 04:41.35

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 04:47.94

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, light we hold as.

**** – (): 04:54.18

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): What I found very difficult was to try to deal in a speculative fashion. This work was not made when we scheduled the exhibition a year out so you have no idea what it will be like or who will want it and how you’re going to do that and the least time that you have.

**** – (): 05:08.64

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes.

**** – (): 05:13.60

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Is what you need in order to make that match make and placement work. But I think for a young gallery working with emerging artists which is what our focus is um, things are still in Development. It’s completely unpredictable. How things are going to turn out and you’re still dealing with the young population in their twenty s and their 30 s. That are still psychologically emotionally creatively growing and that’s also what makes the relationship so deep is because you’re meeting people at transformative stages of their lives and I hope yeah yes, yes and I think for artists that the need to innovate is something that they are.

**** – (): 05:33.73

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 05:40.82

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, and probably for a longer run.

**** – (): 05:50.90

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Um, that kicks ah inside of them and so I see the gallery in the role of giving them occasions and prompts to do that. But as I say it doesn’t exist. We are talking about something that isn’t there and you’re doing that a very long time you know So unlike your your notion of a store. You know what’s coming in the next season you know what the line looks like yeah.

**** – (): 06:00.19

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 06:07.44

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, but that’s actually that’s really now Nice How you’ve put it.

**** – (): 06:10.68

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Every idea and the opportunity to say okay I know several people who would depreci this It’s not as easy in the art world.

**** – (): 06:21.87

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Now you’ve spoken about the problem but now also can you help us understand how you navigate this problem like um and also like you know in ah in a time like today’s but not only galleries there are self-represented artists. They’re doing a lot of ah own stuff and you know and selling has always been. Um I think. Making is the part even if no no matter where the starting point is a lot of artists happen to figure it out in their own time. But what a lot of good skilled artists are not able to figure out is the selling part on how to have these conversations how to find collectors how to find. How to actually make this matchmaking. What is your advice for them and what do you think about this man.

**** – (): 07:03.81

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): My advice is to find a good gallery I really don’t think that artists can naturally sell on their own because they I mean they do let’s say that Instagram has made this possible and some people function really well without that. It’s just a lot harder to get into museums. So it harder to be.

**** – (): 07:17.75

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, absolutely.

**** – (): 07:22.25

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Critical reviews I don’t think an artist is a ah standalone piece of it. It is true that without art artists making art. The ecology would collapse but you need the eology of everybody working an order for the careers and it out there and I think um that my advice to artists is to try to network within that ecology meaning.

**** – (): 07:24.90

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yes, yeah.

**** – (): 07:41.14

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Your friends who might have shows could recommend you. They could also recommend you galleries that they know but also if somebody text your work. You ask a collector is there a way you could introduce me to another person who might further my career you have to work within that network believing that you cannot go at alone.

**** – (): 07:49.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 07:52.35

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Near out. Yeah.

**** – (): 08:00.35

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): And nothing looks more ridiculous than an artist who says I’m brilliant This is important This is valid you as a sales person. It’s not really to come from the one making it so easily because you could just look at and doubt that very much right? and it’s not easy for a person to put her net value worth into a price of a work.

**** – (): 08:03.33

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 08:14.55

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): That’s true.

**** – (): 08:20.23

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): I Mean if you’re going to price your own work. You might get it royally wrong or you might get it really right? or you might, but it’s not really an artist’s kind of place to put that put that on that’s inside of the business of a gallery. Yeah.

**** – (): 08:30.87

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Right? right? Tell me something about how you work with artists in your relationships. How have you? Um, how did you find the early years of your artist in the early years and how have you been? You know you’ve now focused on painting. Um. And how do you think has that formed over the years your interest in showing specifically painters.

**** – (): 08:55.18

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Yeah, Well first of all I’m very I know what I like and I’m very confident to talk about it and I know what I don’t like I can even talk about that guy very confidently I’m not a person who’s unsure about how he feels I’m always trying to search for my feelings for something and um, that is. That is why so much of what I think NinetySixtyNine does is very sincere I Really do mean it? Yeah i.

**** – (): 09:14.36

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, no I Love the representational work that you put out and you know the figurative work and you really like I think you really have the nerve of painters it it really reflects in your curation as well.

**** – (): 09:28.35

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Thank you, thank you? Well you know sure we forget the 1 thing I must say I love about being a galaxy. My artist is I love to meet their families I love to meet the parents and that’s one thing I also had many of the artists that I represent they have lived with me. Um, that guest became a true guest. Ah, when people.

**** – (): 09:32.23

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh wow.

**** – (): 09:38.71

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh really.

**** – (): 09:45.61

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Had you know because international they might have been coming into the country or they might have been be in between states a lot of them have lived with me and that’s a kind of very special relationship that I value but also I am intimate I don’t dream of thousands of people I only want to go see.

**** – (): 09:54.58

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And.

**** – (): 10:04.35

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Maria Fragosi Yada tomorrow you know that’s it I’m going to see her and I I have a kinship with her as much as I am to work with her professionally and I just I know that some people are very good at dividing that line because they don’t want to be in the in the personal lives of their artists. But.

**** – (): 10:07.50

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 10:17.61

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, yes.

**** – (): 10:20.50

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Dealing personal making personalities that you really have to know how to be a comforting friend also and I think those arts that I enjoy a lot about working with the artists that it can also be very frustrating. They never do what they say they never turn it up on time. They do the opposite of what I say I don’t believe.

**** – (): 10:24.39

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 10:36.15

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, part of deluion. No, but okay, what? Um, okay now I’m going to ask you the opposite of this.

**** – (): 10:39.90

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): That part is just like I just accept it right? And as like what is completely completely.

**** – (): 10:54.12

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): What was the what is the hardest part of working with artists.

**** – (): 10:58.91

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Well y’all aren’t exactly normal but that’s the beauty of it the other perspective and other ways of doing these I cannot tell you how fun and amusing and baffling it is for me to talk to artists.

**** – (): 11:07.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Then.

**** – (): 11:17.19

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Because the value there is not practical. You know I’ve I’ve worked with artists whose studios are in their laps just whatever they can make that’s the size of their lap and you know we’ve launched those careers too. Ah I Also think that there is such an emotional intensity to the.

**** – (): 11:17.71

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 11:24.31

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 11:35.45

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): To the work especially where it might come from I remember being with an artist and he made a portrait of his grandfather that who had died and on the day of his funeral at exactly the time he sat down and he made a beautiful painting of him and the thing that was scaring me on the way to the studio was I said what if I do not like it.

**** – (): 11:54.26

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Hope you get.

**** – (): 11:54.63

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): I am not the type of person who would fake it so I was genuinely worried that the painting of ah, an artist dead grandfather painted in such a beautiful way. But that that one turned out all right and you can imagine situations which you know um I’m not cheap I don’t love everything I will tell you where I think there are things that are missing in at work.

**** – (): 12:08.54

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, and yeah.

**** – (): 12:14.48

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): And everything that I’ve had the gallery I’ve been guided by a power question but recently I’ve only had 1 question that I apply to every work which is how is this artwork important and then I must answer it for myself and when I do I’m resolved about what I will do with it. Bring it to a fair exhibit. It. But I want things to be important because we don’t need more art. We just need everybody better right? I’m always looking for that and since I know my artist so well in terms of the context in which they’re making their works I feel quite qualified to have strong opinions about it and that’s why when people come into the gallery to try to buy something.

**** – (): 12:37.17

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 12:53.19

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): And very very sure I’m like I do not like this painting but I tell you why I’m hanging it because I think it’s like and you know I’m I’m sincere also in the ways in which I talk about yeah that dont know I don’t have a complaint about my job. Lots of people I know don’t love what they do in this world. But.

**** – (): 12:53.91

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, you ever convinced? yeah.

**** – (): 13:01.18

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah I Love that.

**** – (): 13:12.12

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Ah, get up every day essentially really enjoying the life that I’m living.

**** – (): 13:16.93

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, and I think um at the end of the day that beyond the work that we do um the money the transactions everything just getting up every day and knowing that you find that purpose purpose Beyond Just the smaller details. You feel excited to get up and meet this person speak to this person or um, look at some work I think that is that is a really nice feeling.

**** – (): 13:41.66

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Yeah, you know what I love to do also is I Love to follow works Once they’re out of the gallery to see where they go Ah I call the collector and I say can you send me a picture or can I come over and then when it gets museum for a show. It’s lovely there. It is it just.

**** – (): 13:45.60

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, and how do you do that. Oh wow, Yeah, you use you? It’s like a baby living its own life.

**** – (): 13:59.17

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Moving and I think this is one of the functions I don’t like that analogy I don’t like babies I don’t think that I don’t think that everything has that precious cargo nature to it I understand how personal it can be but I just mean to say that I realize the job of a galleries is to try to keep the object moving through time.

**** – (): 14:08.78

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yet.

**** – (): 14:18.52

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh yes, no I and you know yeah you know you’t see how that’s a difference because I for me my primary lens is that of Meka of an artist and um, you come from the other side and I love this? um.

**** – (): 14:18.64

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Loan it. So yeah, so just constantly seeing it and I’ve seen things just all over the place sometimes.

**** – (): 14:37.15

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): how how 2 different perspectives can come together for a same um like you said like as artists. Um, we look at things very intimately and ah very personally and which is often the strength and a weakness. Both.

**** – (): 14:40.48

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Um.

**** – (): 14:51.92

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Um, fact method.

**** – (): 14:52.35

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, it works as a strength artist where we able to use it as as a medium to express ourselves to make some work to get creative but also becomes a hindrous in sometimes you know letting go um you know all the other things versus um.

**** – (): 15:03.71

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Um.

**** – (): 15:08.63

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I Love the outlook that you’ve put it as a galer is because for you it is it is it is emotional but it is. It is also not very personal. So you’re not looking it as as an extension of you. You’re looking it as what a gallist needs to look at it as something that needs to move.

**** – (): 15:24.69

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Right? I mean I feel like I’m always the first in the last viewer of all my exhibitions and therefore of each work in it and if you think about it sometimes I always tried to explain to artists that everything that they’re trying to do will probably be misunderstood misinterpreted missed.

**** – (): 15:27.53

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Man. You know.

**** – (): 15:44.29

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Handled mist talked about wrong. You know like you can’t be dear because once you put it into the world. It becomes every everyone’s in that regard like all opinions into the Galleryley or valid even if they seem a little bit askew. So um I think that the nature of art is hanging on to their purpose or their meanings. It’s.

**** – (): 15:49.68

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 16:04.39

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): It’s gone. It’s ours now to talk about right? They didn’t like them Lisa when they first it first came out but we’ve been talking about her for over five hundred years because all into that conversation right? And that’s that’s how our history is made so I I always think about artists and just easing up on what.

**** – (): 16:04.42

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): It’s done on. Yeah.

**** – (): 16:12.26

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yes, yeah.

**** – (): 16:21.51

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): They think it should mean and how it should be talked about because you can’t control that people see what they want to see and that’s the beauty of it.

**** – (): 16:28.57

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I love that. Thank you so much Kok tell me something what are you working on next any new exciting projects. Um, 1975 when is that going to open. Ah.

**** – (): 16:37.20

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): You know we had 2 spaces for a while it was so hard because it divided the energies of the team. So now we are in my.

**** – (): 16:40.51

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah I did speak to key Smith also key Smith in New York and he had such a similar view. He was like you know I was so tossed between having 2 calies that I was like I’d rather put that in our in one than.

**** – (): 16:57.52

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Yeah, it’s really hard you just because every show has to be done to that level of accomplishment. You can’t there’s no way to cut the corners and everything I think we’re excited about this year even though it’s a hard economy so far so good for us.

**** – (): 16:57.96

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Flitting in 2

**** – (): 17:11.50

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Ah, we have a lot of emerging artists women as well that we are showing for the first time we’re bringing them through also our circuit affairs what we’ve been accepted. Um I’m especially excited about an l a based artist named Kate Meisner who has at 28 years old her first museum exhibition in Alabama all this is going to be a big deal and.

**** – (): 17:16.32

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Amazing.

**** – (): 17:24.61

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow.

**** – (): 17:30.30

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): It never really comes at such an early age. So I’m three 28 years is and we did her first solo just in September so that that’s happening fast you know and all that part of your focus is on women artists I’m really glad and grateful to have been a.

**** – (): 17:32.86

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, 20 years

**** – (): 17:40.41

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 17:47.83

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Ah, guest into this one of the things I did when I worked at the hortz was a project called girls just want to have funds which was about the disparity of gender in the arm of women and and money in the in the arm. Yeah, which is still going on today that was ten years ago it’s still the case now and I think it’s important to just.

**** – (): 17:54.44

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, okay, ah yeah, Wendy are yeah absolutely.

**** – (): 18:07.50

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Cot Sleep be talking about this in the context of what you’re trying to do because it’s important. It’s still relevant because it’s still happening.

**** – (): 18:11.70

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yes, Absolutely no I think um I think as like you said I think there’s a lot of disparity specifically within the art world. Let’s say we need a lot more gallery owners to come in. So that artists can do the job that they are good at and you know for people for galleries are dealers Collectors consultants. They can do the job that they are good at similarly we need a lot more um women in the arts with the female perspective to bring to counterbalance that. To make sure that there is a singular.. There is a collective female voice which is still not as as strong as it should have been but I think we’re all doing our parts and hopefully we’ll be there soon.

**** – (): 18:57.15

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Yeah, when you think about the art world back in the early days there were a lot of women galleries that were shaping things and they’re still around to death and I’m grateful to be near a block of like strong women galleries like.

**** – (): 19:04.72

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 19:12.91

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): The 2 women at Ppo W and not ebgi who opened in Los Angeles but now has a space in New York this is just I think this is augurs. Well for that.

**** – (): 19:20.89

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): But tell me something 1 question I actually missed and I’m going to ask you again. How do you you’re you’re in the works of spotting launching. Let’s say emerging artists. We’re also speaking about disparities. We’re also speaking about okay women needs more. You know. And we do understand that. Ah, that is an important now someone who’s who’s also responsible of making a lot of those things happen in your own way. How do you make sure that um you a how you’re spotting or finding out the talent that you’d like to support. And also dealing with the same problem that we’re talking about to making sure that um you are also being conscious enough to know that we are not adding to the problem instead supporting the cause.

**** – (): 20:13.15

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): It’s a tricky one I think I think people who are devoted to this issue of diversity equity inclusion. We think about it a lot. We just hired at the gallery I was very conscious of wanting to have a team that reflected some of the values that you’re just talking about that’s 1 thing. The second thing is. You can’t do it the same way you have to approach it differently so when I go to studio visit I always want to see other studios but I always want to make some purposeful intent to go see more women artists and more folks of color working because they’re there. You I myself just have to be conscious enough to drive myself. There.

**** – (): 20:42.97

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 20:49.70

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): You have to also understand that as a businessman. What is what? what can you say when in fact, mailwork sell roughly 3 times the amount when women. Ah now my rent is due. What do you think I am supposed to do right I want be I want to pay my rent as much as I want to go to head.

**** – (): 20:54.19

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, yes, absolutely yeah, you know? yes.

**** – (): 21:08.35

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): And do and good right? and this is a constant balancing act. But the thing I think that’s important to look at overall is what is this person or this gallery doing over time. It is the the all of it not just is it there not just the counting of this season but over the nearly eight years in which we have been working have we been.

**** – (): 21:20.20

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): If it’s fine.

**** – (): 21:28.21

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): True to those values and I think it’s very clear. Yeah, so I think that’s the way to assess a record and you can’t just be doing our next group show and counting up the number of men and women and saying oh that’s a gallery that’s like this or that I don’t think that that’s fair, we’re in a much this is historic right? and needs a much longer view.

**** – (): 21:29.93

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, yeah.

**** – (): 21:42.70

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um.

**** – (): 21:46.72

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, you have to judge the book by not only its chapter, but the whole sense of it. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 21:47.95

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): And just the the blasted political moment.

**** – (): 21:54.59

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): You got and you got to finish it All. You got to look at it very carefully before anything is said like that sure yeah I’m confident about what we’re doing it comes naturally to me I’m interested in other I Love difference I like anything that I don’t have ah you know like that is new to me just So. Diversity has many abstract aspects too.

**** – (): 22:13.56

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): What is let’s say if I were to tell you like you know is there like this aha moment or something that comes your mind at this. Oh you look at someone’s work and you’ve let’s say never seen before spot it another artist or something and you feel like what is that moment that makes you feel like okay. This is someone that I’ve been looking for a work I would love to represent or you know this this matchmaking and you know that this is a but like we’re good match like you and the I think we is for you. It has to be a primary you and the artist to be a good match and then making good match with the collector.

**** – (): 22:49.54

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): I guess for me when I’m going to a studio especially for people under age 30 or in an Mfa program I’m looking at all of the things that I see and not necessarily the the moment of aha it’s not there yet for me the aha is in the future to be made the best work of emerging artists is ahead of them. So it’s not really like what I’m looking for is the potential and this is what makes gal life. So hard is you have to actually kind of like predict. The future wreck of that that artist where might it might it go somewhere interesting. Might it become important. You really have to mind read it but then on some very practical level when you’re with an artist.

**** – (): 23:13.23

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yes, the future. Yeah.

**** – (): 23:28.16

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Um, the aha is personal. It’s kind of like I like this person she talks sensibly about her work. She’s fun to be around like there’s some basic things that also have to be there that give that artist a chance. So it isn’t just the artwork. It’s the entirety of the experience being with that person in that world that they’ve created and for me I’m looking for that. So the aha is like yes this whole world has a has a possibility um and then every once in a while. There’s always 1 artwork that I think oh my gosh, how fun you know? Oh yeah, there’s always something you know there’s always something so that that part is how I build my collective necessary.

**** – (): 24:00.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, alexa here have what.

**** – (): 24:03.95

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, amazing. Thank you so much Kong It was so nice speaking to you and thank you so much for your time you know I’m thank you so much I Really appreciate I Really appreciate your time. Thank you and I’ll keep you forced and I know.

**** – (): 24:07.29

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Thank you! I’m glad um I’m really glad you’re doing this from that part of the world. Yeah, and you should just keep chucking.

**** – (): 24:21.80

**** – (): Quang Bao

**** – (): Um I Thank you Bye bye.

**** – (): 24:22.63

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): We’ll stay in touch.


About the Guest:

Quang Bao is the owner and founder of the 1969 Gallery, a contemporary art gallery located in New York City. With over 20 years of experience in the art world, Bao has become a respected figure in the industry. He is known for his expertise in spotting emerging talent and has a keen eye for innovative and thought-provoking artwork. Bao is dedicated to supporting artists and creating meaningful connections between artists, collectors, and the public.

Episode Summary:

In this episode, host Charu Kaarora interviews Quang Bao, the owner of the 1969 Gallery, about his experience as a self-taught gallery owner and the challenges and rewards of running a gallery. Bao discusses the importance of trust and self-regulation in the art world, as well as the unique and powerful experience of viewing and collecting art.He also shares his insights on the administrative work involved in running a gallery and the importance of finding a good gallery to represent artists. Bao emphasizes the need for artists to network within the art community and the role of galleries in promoting and supporting artists’ careers. The conversation also touches on the disparity of gender and money in the art world and the importance of diversity and inclusion.

Key Takeaways:

  • Trust and self-regulation are essential in the art world, where human relationships and the value of artwork are based on trust.
  • The administrative work involved in running a gallery can be challenging, requiring attention to detail and a commitment to stewardship.
  • Artists can benefit from finding a good gallery to represent them, as galleries provide opportunities for exposure, networking, and professional support.
  • Selling art is like matchmaking, where both the artist and the collector need to be fully invested in the artwork.
  • The experience of viewing and collecting art is unique and powerful, with the ability to evoke emotions and create lasting memories.
  • Artists should network within the art community and seek opportunities to further their careers through connections and recommendations.
  • The selling part of art can be challenging for artists, and having a gallery to handle the business side allows artists to focus on their creative process.
  • The art world needs more diversity and inclusion, with a focus on supporting women artists and artists of color.

Notable Quotes:

  • “There are no guidelines or specific rules for how to do something in the art world. You have to make up everything based on good practices and trust.” – Quang Bao
  • “The experience of viewing art is generative and singular. It’s a powerful and unique experience that can’t be replicated with any other object.” – Quang Bao
  • “The job of a gallery is to keep the artwork moving through time. It’s about preserving and promoting the artwork for future generations.” – Quang Bao
  • “As a gallery owner, I have to be sincere and confident in my opinions about artwork. I know what I like and what I don’t like, and I’m not afraid to express that.” – Quang Bao
  • “Diversity and inclusion are important in the art world. We need more women artists and artists of color to have a collective voice and perspective.” – Quang Bao

Charuka Arora is the founder of the Arts to Hearts Project and Host of the Arts to Hearts Podcast. She is also an acclaimed Indian artist known for her contemporary embellished paintings. Her unique blend of gouache, collage, embroidery, painting, and drawing explores the intersection of art, culture, heritage, and womanhood. Through her work, she tells stories of female strength and encapsulates them in pieces that can be treasured for generations.

 Arts to Hearts Project Gallery + Studio

Charuka’s work draws inspiration from Hindu mythology, recognizing women as vessels of Shakti, the cosmic energy. She beautifully portrays powerful goddesses like Durga Maa riding a tiger or lion, symbolizing their unlimited power to protect virtue and combat evil.

Through her art, Charuka invites us into the world of women, showcasing their beauty, strength, and resilience. Her creations not only exhibit exceptional talent but also serve as an inspiration and a symbol of hope for those challenging societal norms.

About Arts to Hearts Project Gallery + Studio

Arts to Hearts Podcast is a show delving into the lives and passions of renowned artists. From running creative businesses and studio art practices to cultivating a successful mindset, Charuka Arora engages in heartfelt conversations with her guests. Experience your personal happy hour with your favorite artists, right in your studio.

Through candid discussions, Charuka and her guests reveal the joys and challenges of a vibrant creative life, both within and beyond our studios. Get ready to be inspired and uplifted as you tune in.

Quang Bao

Quang Bao
Image taken from The Gallerist Speaks

Quang Bao is the director and founder of 1969 Gallery, a contemporary gallery with two locations in New York City. Through solo / group / external exhibitions and art fair presentations, the Gallery has cultivated the careers of its represented artists and a broader community of artists primarily devoted to painting.

Born in Vietnam, Quang Bao moved to America in 1975 after the war. Having studied English literature and arts management, the beginning of Quang’s professional life revolved around journalism. He loved magazines related to literature and home decor, and always found a special connection with the art world. Before he became a gallerist, he was editing books, and so he figured it all out with time. 

All Quang knew was that he loved art deeply, and that was enough to propel him forward into this field where he now enjoys work every single day. As Quang entered the art world, he started his own apartment show where he began a two-year project by using his guest room as an exhibition space, which was called second guest. It was then that he did everything from framing the putting together the show. 

Image taken from 1969’s official Instagram

On becoming a gallerist

Quang started from knowing nothing about galleries to eventually opening his own. Talking about his profession, Quang shares an interesting perspective on what pulls him towards art. Paintings give us a big chunk of the history of art, and that’s why he chose to work with them.

In every city and museum, you will get to see paintings, and when you think about it, it makes complete sense. Much of our identity is based on our culture and our history, and a major way we hang on to that is through art. The history of a certain time period is often intertwined with the paintings that were made during that era, and that is what people pay to see today in museums. From the literature to the culture, each painting has a story to tell, and Quang loves narratives. He loves the texture and imaginative possibilities of paint.

The upside and downside of being a gallerist

Quang always dreamed of opening a store, although he wasn’t really sure what he would sell in there. However, one thing he loves about galleries, and partially why he chose to sell art, is that the profession is largely based on “trust of human relationships”. Be good to your word and honorable to your deeds

When he talks about the upside of being a gallery owner, he loves that there are no guidelines or rules on how to do something. As a gallerist, you make up everything based on good practices. Because of that, it’s important to be self-regulated. And so for him, this is a huge plus as this is the only profession where he can be productive, successful, and happy in his own work.

On the other hand, the same upside can also be a downside for some people. Because you have no blueprint on how to do it, it can definitely be a challenge as well. And that’s where the administrative work comes in, which is tremendous. Being a gallery owner is not just about finding and selling artwork, but also dealing with numbers and paperwork, which can be tough. 

Selling art is like matchmaking.

Quang Bao – Arts to Hearts Podcast s04e04

As Quang likens the job of a gallerist to that of a matchmaker, he stresses how you have to give your 100%. You have to try to make decisions in a speculative fashion, where sometimes you have to deal with the unpredictability that comes with this line of work.

How artists can find collectors

Quang believes that artists cannot naturally sell on their own and that everybody needs to work together. With the advent of social media, connecting directly with your audience and art collectors has become much easier, but that doesn’t mean that it is the way to go. 

While artists can try to do it all on their own, the reality is that we need all the people to play their respective parts. That means that artists must try to network within this ecology. They can ask their friends who could then recommend you to other collectors. You can also reach out to your buyers and collectors to introduce you to other people as well. The bottom line is, that you can’t work alone on your own, and you shouldn’t have to. You have to try and find a good gallery, and leave it to them to do what they do best!

If you want your art to be exhibited in Quang’s gallery, you’re in luck as he shares his process with us. As Charuka asks Quang about his process of adding to his art collection, he reveals that for him to choose an artist, he has to look at the potential. 

As a person running a gallery, Quang has to predict the future on whether a certain piece of work might become interesting in the future or not. Another thing that matters to Quang in order to give an artist a chance is the way they have built their world. For example, Quang also notes how an artist talks about their work and if they are fun to be around, etc. In the end, it’s not just about the artwork, but also the entirety of the experience of the work they have created. 

Dealing with the gender disparity in the art world

Quang acknowledges the disparity in the art world and has also worked on projects that tackle this issue. For him, it was important to hire a team at the gallery that reflected the values he has; diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

As a person who spots and launches emerging artists, he makes sure that he is finding out talent that he would like to support, while being conscious about not adding to the problem, but rather, supporting the cause (gender diversity). He does that by purposefully visiting studios of women and POC because they are there in the world, you just have to be willing to reach out to them. 

At the same time, Quang addresses how as a businessman, he knows that male work sells 3 times more, and as a gallerist, he has to find that balance of running his business while also promoting inclusivity. This really highlights how if gallerists can put in a bit of an effort, they too can figure out a way to beat the system.

For Quang, being a gallerist is not just a job but something he truly enjoys doing. Once he sells an artwork, he continues to follow it by contacting his buyers. His interview proved to be a breath of fresh air as he shared his love and passion for his work. There are a lot of emerging artists and women that Quang will be showing for the first time in his gallery, something that he feels excited about. You can check out his work on his Gallery’s Instagram and website

To read up more about Arts to Hearts Podcast and its episodes, click here.


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