Studio Visit Book Vol. 1

Is taking risks important in the art world? |Ki Smith Gallery|

Watch & Listen to this podcast Episode.

This week’s episode of Arts to Hearts podcast features the second part of our interview with Ki Smith, the owner of Ki Smith Gallery. Our host Charuka Arora and Ki Smith continue their conversation about taking risks, being a successful artist, and how you should always push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Ki Smith is also the co-founder of Apostrophe NYC, and all of his ventures have interesting stories behind them! Much of Ki Smith’s creative career was built due to his belief in himself. Even when he did not have anything to build his business with, he had faith in his abilities and his community, and he kept moving forward. At every turn of the way, he has aimed big and has gone for an option that would seem impossible to an outsider. Instead of caring about whether something was possible or not, he kept on trying different avenues and paths that would ultimately lead to him building the gallery of his dreams.

Now that Ki has his own gallery, and his business is flourishing, he is beginning to think past the much-needed physical expansion of his gallery. Now, Ki wants to focus on an internal expansion as well, where he can be of more help to other artists. His thought process has become more strategic now where he wishes to put artists in a spot for more success.

For Ki, having a growth mindset throughout has helped him greatly in achieving what he has today, and for that, he doesn’t forget his family and friends. Ki rightly points out the importance of a community, and how it can play a monumental role in your journey, which is why, expanding your contacts and building a community is so crucial for any creative/artist.

As long as you have faith in yourself, and are working hard for it, you should be fine. So, tune in to this week’s episode to listen to Ki’s entire interview!

TimestampSummary
01:40.44The importance of starting where you are
01:02:15.77Embracing instability as a strength
01:06:42.44The importance of context and perception in the art world
01:12:46.81There is no traditional path to becoming an artist.
01:14:57.53Taking risks is important in the art world.
01:15:34.96Starting an art gallery without outside funding.
01:31:46.58Emphasis on supporting emerging artists at the art fair
01:35:07.15Importance of communication and teamwork with artists
01:36:05.52Discussing the metrics of success for an exhibition
01:39:36.75Various ways to generate revenue
01:40:20.00The importance of taking risks and embracing failure
01:41:43.80Believing in oneself and finding one’s own path
01:42:26.74Taking unconventional routes to make things happen
01:48:47.92The value of collaboration and community in the art world
01:49:11.62Emphasizing the importance of collaboration
01:49:50.83Discussing the positive impact of community in the art world
01:52:28.67Emphasizing the importance of perseverance and taking risks
01:54:45.39Reflecting on the role of relationships and moments in life
01:55:06.35Emphasizing the importance of community and support
[TRANSCRIPT]
**** – (): 01:01:40.44
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And it also puts you right on the ground and it needs to remind you that you know it’s like um I think what I learned from you and you create storyteller. Let me also01:01:40.44
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And it also puts you right on the ground and it needs to remind you that you know it’s like um I think what I learned from you and you create storyteller. Let me also fame that for you I think I was so hoped all throughout your stories and something that I could really take away from is that.
**** – (): 01:01:48.80
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah, ah thank you.
**** – (): 01:01:58.50
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): You know what is one difference between sometimes is you did not wait. Um in the beginning. No more have you waited in all of these stories that you’ve spoken about and yet like you know from the first start when you started when you did not have a gallery space. You made.
**** – (): 01:02:07.43
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah.
**** – (): 01:02:15.68
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:02:15.77
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Do with whatever you had and I’m I’m sure if you wouldn’t have done that you wouldn’t have met Lisa if you wouldn’t have met Lisa you wouldn’t have hadn’t met that lady the one that rented you the fall giving you the first place and and if you wouldn’t have um if you didn’t have that. Um.
**** – (): 01:02:24.53
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yet gave this phase that yeah wouldn’t have let in vanilla and then yeah.
**** – (): 01:02:33.40
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Instability. Let’s say in the in the sense of like you know, not being able to stay at 1 place sometimes you know us what we look at as a weakness sometimes they work as our strengths and that is not sometimes if we really remind ourselves and we keep thinking about I will do this when i’m. I reach this point I will call myself an artist or a gallerist when I have a gallery or I am successful when I’m doing that versus you start just as you are and you so there’s a word in hindi I do I know you know hindi but there’s a word in Hindi that we say which is called jagar. Um.
**** – (): 01:02:52.15
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Right? right? still.
**** – (): 01:02:58.93
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:03:06.56
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): You see.
**** – (): 01:03:08.57
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Which is India which is barely famous for which makes which is like a way of saying the I way or me do yourself. It’s like you always you always have a way around doing something that you cannot like if I don’t have let’s say if I don’t it like in India if you see that.
**** – (): 01:03:12.92
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Okay.
**** – (): 01:03:20.12
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:03:27.52
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): People are so creative because limited resources. Not everybody has everything like no, it’s not ah, it’s a huge population and it’s that’s what you know it’s called like Jagar in India which is like you know if you do not have let’s say if you if you’re a family of 4 people and if you have to travel.
**** – (): 01:03:40.66
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:03:44.70
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And you have 1 scootie or a motorbike. So what people would do is they would add like let’s say a chair on the left on a right on a maybe 1 behind keep um, where 2 people said they will make 3 people or 4 people sit so it’s like they will do with whatever they have they will.
**** – (): 01:03:52.77
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:03:57.70
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:04:02.23
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:04:03.22
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Find a way around it and just make it with it and I think what is so inspiring about everything that you’ve shared is that you really like everything taking up as a challenge and like not only thinking like oh it’s not going to happen to me or like who’s going to put really all of this stuff.
**** – (): 01:04:11.62
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:04:19.89
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): You Sometimes you do make that happen to yourself and.
**** – (): 01:04:22.76
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Right? And I think that that type of optimism and that type of like um mentality is what’s really important because I will say even the article that um you know that Lisa read that is the reason why she called was about the Whitney exhibition that we did with. Apostrophe n y c with base 12 and that was that all came about because I sat all 12 of those artists down in the basement of um in the basement of my mother’s house and and we went around the table and I said you know where does everyone want to be showing and they said.
**** – (): 01:04:40.12
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, yes, yes, yes.
**** – (): 01:04:57.70
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Across the board I said you know in your wild industry. Where do you where do you want to see your work and they said they said a museum a museum every single one a museum a museum a museum museum and then I said you know we’re at this time we’re all in our kind of like early 20 s and stuff like this I said you know I said honestly you know the the classic avenues of kind of.
**** – (): 01:04:58.33
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): 90 So. And a museum oily.
**** – (): 01:05:15.21
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Acquisitions and getting works into the museum. Um, it will be very difficult for us to do that. But instead of saying no I said you know what? how can we make that happen and um and we did. It was really fun I went to the um I went.
**** – (): 01:05:22.63
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): How happen and how did you? That’s another story I would love to listen.
**** – (): 01:05:31.23
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): I went into the Whitney Museum multiple times many times like um, you know 5 10 times or something like this and then and I I looked every single time I knew I would go and scout out the place to know where every single camera was and to figure out where the security was at what time. And to figure out where the you know everything was you kind of like almost like um the same way that you’d look at a space if you were taking something out except we were putting something in um and so you know just really going taking notes. Okay there there is this and then I realized that okay actually on the day that.
**** – (): 01:05:51.10
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And.
**** – (): 01:05:57.79
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): It’s Ison. Yes.
**** – (): 01:06:07.69
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Is the free day on um, the whatever first Friday or whatever they end up doing like this um 90% of the staff actually goes to the front of the house to deal with all the people coming in including most of the security.
**** – (): 01:06:18.16
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): People coming in. So.
**** – (): 01:06:23.55
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): So I realized that Okay, if everyone’s going to be down there like this this creates this opportunity where you have this one stairwell that will be completely empty and it will be quite some time until anyone will like any staff or or um, you know or security will be in this space.
**** – (): 01:06:33.58
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): More can come and note.
**** – (): 01:06:42.44
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And so that’s where we decided to stage the exhibition and I also thought it was really interesting because in the new Whitney building. Um, there was there wasn’t artworks in that stairwell and in the old Whitney building up on madison av there was always artwork in the stairwell which I loved. Um. And so we actually designed the the paintings to be on suction cups and to suction to the windows because yeah, quick, fast and not breaking any vandalism laws. So i.
**** – (): 01:07:07.61
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Okay, to stick them? Yes, Yes, yeah, quick and fast. And yeah.
**** – (): 01:07:18.80
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Very carefully read all of the vandalism laws and realized you know if we’re sticking a hole into the wall that could be considered vandalism that could be you know putting the artists artworks and um and gallery in Jeopardy and so we had to figure out what different ways to hang all of those kind of. Gurilla style exhibitions in non-intrusive kind of um ways and so’s like even ah so that that you know exhibition we ended up all coming in at six thirty paying paying to come into the museum at six thirty and then we all knew.
**** – (): 01:07:46.83
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Okay.
**** – (): 01:07:54.88
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Each artist I think there was 3 per floor and we were doing it across 4 floors and we knew right? at 7 everyone had a little alarm on their clock. Um on their phone and stuff like this and right at 7 there was going to be a big um at one that everyone’s going to open up and we were going to go and. Click everything to the wall just like this and then step away and so we’d go push everything the wall and step away and then just kind of start seeing reactions and kind of seeing how things um, how things would go and I think that one of the some of the. Most fascinating comments to me during that exhibition were the really banal ones they were the ones of like you know this couple being like oh I didn’t see this last time we were here and it was really fascinating to see that how much context plays into what where.
**** – (): 01:08:45.74
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, it how it’s presented Yeah of museum this has to be like yeah.
**** – (): 01:08:50.28
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): People’s perception of Artworks people’s perception of value exactly. So it’s like if it’s in the context of the museum. The assumption is that this is important. It has to be something and um, we had even worked with friends of ours. Um, the friend of ours that.
**** – (): 01:09:04.30
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, so.
**** – (): 01:09:10.90
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): My friend that actually made the keysmith gallery logo baby man. Um, and he had gotten the font exactly of the Whitney and we had you know gone and um made the name tags exactly like it and everything you know like the details were down and um down to the down to the t and then the.
**** – (): 01:09:20.90
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Ah, yeah, a.
**** – (): 01:09:27.88
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): About 45 minutes later a guard did kind of see what was going on. Got confused went grabbed one of the pieces off of the off of the wall and then was like and I knew oh kind of jigs up and then I I kind of yelled up this stairwell grab whichever painting.
**** – (): 01:09:35.28
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Wo one that could.
**** – (): 01:09:47.22
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Oh god.
**** – (): 01:09:47.61
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Get out of here and everyone just kind of grabbed whichever one and started running out and that actually made the craziest kind of um scene because all of the sudden. People are like yelling because they are seeing someone kind of grab a painting and throw it in their jacket they thought we were just stealing paintings at this point and then so they thought that all these different artists and some were just like grabbing paintings and running out and so it created this kind of huge chaos scene and then um.
**** – (): 01:10:03.71
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So they laugh and they might have they might have thought that you you would Yes, ah.
**** – (): 01:10:21.40
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And then I ended up going up to the guard and he had taken 2 paintings and my brother and I kind of went up there and started speaking to them and um and then what ended up happening there was they said you know we’re we’re going to give you guys? Um, ah the paintings back. In exchange. But we’re going to give you a lifetime ban so you’re never allowed back in the in the Whitney but um, but you’re going but we’ll give you these pieces of back and whatever because it wasn’t breaking any vandalism laws I explain that and all these different things like ah so we got the pieces back and um, we still have.
**** – (): 01:10:58.22
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): But okay, so.
**** – (): 01:10:59.30
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Full set that showed at the Whitney um, and then it was actually very interesting because a little bit of a full circle moment is this spring I actually reached out to the Whitney um to speak and and I had a long conversation about an hour long conversation with their head of communications. And they said that um they yeah essentially they said that you know you’re more than welcome back that lifetime ban was very harsh and that that’s not kind of what they meant and um, you know and all this type of stuff like this and I’ll be honest I haven’t.
**** – (): 01:11:19.60
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Select the band.
**** – (): 01:11:35.57
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Officially gone back yet. So I actually haven’t been to the museum since then I will at some point um go when it feels appropriate. Um, but I officially I think am allowed back in the museum which is really kind of fun and I think that I’ll make the coming back I’d love to. Um.
**** – (): 01:11:35.74
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): But yeah, but.
**** – (): 01:11:50.79
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): You’ll make a comeback.
**** – (): 01:11:55.16
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, one day got a little bit more involved there in stuff like this that would be a real honor and um and I think that when the timing is right? There might be something down line that we could ah do together potentially and stuff like that. So I think that that’s um, that’s kind of fun because also that’s only possible because in the years
**** – (): 01:12:01.77
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Oh my god.
**** – (): 01:12:13.35
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Between that Guerrilla pop-up exhibition and now the gallery’s really pushed and a lot of the artists have really pushed and we’ve all kind of been making things happen and progressing careers and kind of um, making sure that you know at the end of the day we are um.
**** – (): 01:12:29.21
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Up is that.
**** – (): 01:12:31.63
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): We’re making you know we’re making things happen in the in the arts and I think that you know a lot of artists a lot of um, even dealers and stuff like this have had untraditional arts um starts in the arts and I think that that’s one of the beautiful things. There isn’t a traditional path of like this is how you become an artist.
**** – (): 01:12:34.50
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So yeah.
**** – (): 01:12:46.81
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, yes, yeah to know but is it but it gets you? Yeah yeah, different. Yeah.
**** – (): 01:12:50.50
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): This is how you become an art dealer. This is how you become a gallerist and I think that that’s like that’s something that’s amazing because even in your story as an artist. It’s like it’s a different everyone is different story. It’s like there is no this is how someone becomes an artist. It’s the artist is something that’s.
**** – (): 01:13:06.60
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): But you know what? you just said. It’s the mindset like I think I’ve spoken to so many gals by now and by far your story is 1 that stands out the most is also because you didn’t.
**** – (): 01:13:09.73
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, it’s the mindset.
**** – (): 01:13:25.89
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Think a lot of time like you said it’s the mindset. Um, you didn’t pick up the persona of a traditional galleries to whatever that meant to look like and that was a question I would ask you after just this you know a lot of people. Oh I’m a gallerist I I’m I’m not just.
**** – (): 01:13:33.21
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:13:44.44
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Sake of having fun of truly like not driving by a name or the tag of being an artist or being a galist so being a delobi but truly really enjoying and I think you really did from what I have bit by now is like you truly enjoyed the challenge of selling art.
**** – (): 01:13:50.56
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah.
**** – (): 01:14:00.31
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah.
**** – (): 01:14:02.20
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Of communicating that story of um out of persuasion. Let’s say um and also having that risk and thrill and all of that and if that’s sobe it as a galaryist as a dealer with a galby tomorrow an architect like you know the possibilities could be endless. It’s just the mindset that takes it to me.
**** – (): 01:14:08.74
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:14:21.87
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So that state. So.
**** – (): 01:14:23.25
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): I I totally believe that and I think that um even what you’re saying about risk and taking risk. Um I love that idea and that’s even something that I even was further inspired by by 1 of our clients. Um Francis greenberger. Who actually has an autobiography called risk game and it’s all about him taking risk and how that risk actually directly played into his success and he’s an incredibly successful. Um, developer as well as um, in in i.
**** – (): 01:14:43.35
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Viskin.
**** – (): 01:14:57.53
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Books and he’s yeah and in the arts he is art of my he’s a prolific entrepreneur and um, but it’s all about taking risks and I think that that’s something that even when I was reading his book I was like Wow this was it was very inspiring in that sense because I do think that a lot of the time. Um. People are really hesitant to take risk and I think that I actually feel very lucky that I didn’t come from. You know, ah a position where I think a lot of galleries. Um, do have outside funding or do have maybe family money coming in or something or or.
**** – (): 01:15:29.21
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:15:34.96
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Bringing money from another job or or something like this where there is that kind of cushion that buffer and I always kind of say you know if you have nothing to lose you’re gonna take more risk so it’s like if you’re not if if you know that the alternative is not that great. You know you’re gonna go and take more risks. Um.
**** – (): 01:15:43.92
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Take the more off like.
**** – (): 01:15:54.29
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And you’re going to be a little bit hungry. You’re going to be go and and put in the extra hours you’re going to go and want to put in 16 hour days of construction and different things like this and I think that um in that sense I feel very lucky and very grateful that that that is the origin story that is the kind of background where.
**** – (): 01:15:58.28
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): X Yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:16:14.26
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): I Never was you know in a position to get the kind of like funding, whatever different things like this so I never got written a check or or brought money in or anything like this. Um I got incredibly fortunate with the um, the generosity of ah.
**** – (): 01:16:28.84
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, the early. The.
**** – (): 01:16:29.81
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah of of the harlem space by the avitals. Um, and then but I do think that having being an art gallery and actually never having ah the luxury of operating at a loss is an incredibly crazy kind of thing.
**** – (): 01:16:43.67
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, that’s true. Yeah.
**** – (): 01:16:48.17
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): We never operated at a loss year on year four years in a row we expanded locations without taking out loans without borrowing money without you know without anything but and that’s why even when I said to the to get this lease. I didn’t want to go and ask for money or ask for loan or try to see if I get a small business loan or something like this I said you know if we can’t make the money in the business that we do which is selling paintings selling sculptures. Um. Then we’re not going to it doesn’t make sense. You know. So if if I can go and sell these to make that then I will also have the confidence that yes you know what? this is a big risk and we are going to go and we are going to go and succeed and we’ll get through this. Um, so even that like even with the buildout we were completely out of.
**** – (): 01:17:21.75
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): I I.
**** – (): 01:17:39.98
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So yeah, yeah, absolutely the yeah yeah.
**** – (): 01:17:40.73
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Money the security deposit was huge um I had to pay out all the artists and everything like this so you know by the end of it that big $50000 driver or whatever stuff like this was basically no money at the end because you know security deposit goes like that everything kind of disappears.
**** – (): 01:17:53.41
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So yeah, our business takes a hell amount of resources to run. So.
**** – (): 01:17:58.38
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): It’s crazy and so I did the whole build out on credit cards and at the end of the the whole thing. Um, ah you know we have this beautiful new space. It’s the dead of winter I have no heat in here. Um I over $20000 in credit card debt. And I say you know what we got to go and and you know I have a 10 year lease here. There’s one way out. It’s selling paintings. It’s selling sculptures and it’s bringing um, bringing in more and more quality program and I think that where I really saw the first. Big shift of where I started feeling. You know what? this is really the momentum really started shifting with an exhibition that um, a very close friend of mine. Sasha Feldman had brought to me and Sasha Feldman um
**** – (): 01:18:35.40
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah I was about to as to.
**** – (): 01:18:51.23
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Came to me right? after we did the build that and he said you know I was just on the phone with an old professor of mine. Um, at the art institute of Chicago and he’s this this artist William J O’brien who’s the chair of the art institute of Chicago the chair of ceramics. Um and he said I was speaking to him another day and I was speaking to him a little bit about. Your gallery and and um and I would love to potentially suggest having a 2 wo-person show with me and him this spring and I said I would love that and if he’s open this would be amazing because he is a larger artist and um and is actually an artist that. Was most recently represented by the gallery marion boske who’s a big gallery in New York um and they had kind of um, parted ways just because it you know made sense for both of them to kind of go their separate ways and um so that opened up the opportunity for him to show in other places in New York and
**** – (): 01:19:32.47
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, May God yeah.
**** – (): 01:19:47.21
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah.
**** – (): 01:19:49.97
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And right out of that. Um, we started putting this exhibition together and it was in a whole exhibition of ceramics and we we actually um, one night sash and I were talking about. You know how we wanted to display these works and he said why don’t we build a big pyramid in the middle and I said great.
**** – (): 01:19:57.13
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Okay.
**** – (): 01:20:09.72
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, let.
**** – (): 01:20:10.32
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): That’s an awesome idea. Let’s build a big ziggurat in the middle and so we did and um, you know and we did and we had a whole collection. We actually drove out to to cut costs Sasha and I drove all the way out to Chicago picked up works from from ah from bill and um, and. And I I also say it’s amazing because having that vote of confidence from an artist that has had such a prolific career in such a established career and has worked with really major galleries and is in museum collections and um is incredibly successful in his own right? So to have that.
**** – (): 01:20:33.82
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:20:49.00
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Vote of confidence from him to allow us to show the works was a real privilege and um and I was you know and that was really amazing and that also allowed us to kind of be bringing in larger clients that were around but never kind of had invested in and stuff like this.
**** – (): 01:20:50.63
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yet. Also, yeah yeah.
**** – (): 01:21:03.21
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Clients.
**** – (): 01:21:08.16
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, and so I think that that was really amazing and so that exhibition was this spring and we sold almost all of Sasha’s works and we also were able to sell um one of bill’s. Larger pieces which was really amazing and that that piece ended up selling to the tish collection. Um, which was really amazing and and ah incredible honor and um and I think that that exhibition was the first time that we really started seeing big sales at the gallery and I think that.
**** – (): 01:21:40.50
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Okay, so.
**** – (): 01:21:42.95
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Taking that momentum um was really amazing and so then after that we had an exhibition of James Reyes where we sold some pieces and and then this this um fall we had a big exhibition of Charlie Hudson and then right after that we did. And exhibition with the artist in Divvi Sutton and sold you know over I think 20 of 26 paintings or something like this so we really started seeing that momentum come and at this point you know obviously all the all the credit card debt has been white and everything is you know we’re we’re back in the back and back in black. Um, and’s um and it’s been really great because it’s also been a little bit of trust you know to know that hey you know we’re going to keep on going and we’re going to keep on making things exactly and know that we can go make things happen and then this year I’m really excited about. We’re at the beginning of the year and I’m really excited because.
**** – (): 01:22:24.17
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, you can and the faith in your own self. Yeah yeah.
**** – (): 01:22:39.77
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): This year we’re putting a little bit of a focus on bringing in some larger artists. Um and bringing in some kind of almost more museum quality exhibitions and stuff like this. Um, we’re about to actually open in ah an exhibition with Kiomi Quin Taylor who’s one of ours who I’m super excited about and then.
**** – (): 01:22:54.50
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Wow! yes.
**** – (): 01:22:59.35
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Exhibition after hers is going to be um, an exhibition of video works by Andy Warhol so it’ll be a ah whole warhol show um curated by the director of film and video Greg Pierce the director of film and video at the Andy Warhol Museum and
**** – (): 01:23:04.30
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Wow wow.
**** – (): 01:23:13.69
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): I Love that.
**** – (): 01:23:17.18
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): It’s going to be across 2 floors. We’re going to have all the not all of the screen tests. There’s a lot but we’re going to have an incredible selection of the screen tests that are very focused on kind of New York Icons New York people in in the arts in poetry and dance and um and we’re also going to have. 1 of a very special. Um, one of the screen tests which is a double projected one of the velvet underground. Um, so that’s going to be really exciting and I think that it’s it’s really great for also our art. Our artists. Ah folks like Keomi folks like um.
**** – (): 01:23:52.73
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Who Also yeah, so.
**** – (): 01:23:54.31
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): In Divy like Charlie like Ryan like James Reyes um for them to be showing at the same gallery as um, as an Andy Warhol as folks like ah William J o’brien um were also.
**** – (): 01:24:04.51
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, so.
**** – (): 01:24:11.85
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): In conversation we’re going to have some conversations next week about bringing in another big artist in the in the September show and stuff like this. So I think that you know now that we finally have the moment where we can kind of sit back and be a little bit more strategic on how we pick shows and stuff like this. We can really be putting our artists.
**** – (): 01:24:24.40
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And so.
**** – (): 01:24:31.15
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): In lane for more success and I think that that’s kind of like I’ve never been interested in um, being a feeder gallery or being a step in stone gallery. You know if you’re not if you’re if you’re in yeah if your ambition isn’t to it’s I don’t want to win.
**** – (): 01:24:31.27
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:24:41.60
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, long game.
**** – (): 01:24:49.63
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah I saw that.
**** – (): 01:24:51.00
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Right? I don’t want to win in the game I want to be the best ever. Do it. So it’s like if you don’t have that ambition to go and do it. It’s very difficult to go and make things happen. Um, and then even like the exhibition we have now of Litaro Cutica this is amazing like this is. An exhibition of an artist that I’ve looked up to for years and years and years he’s in some different museum collections. He’s in the Jorge Perez collection he’s shown in the south appada art center um, and he makes these larger scale works that I was never really able to show. Um, but now we have the larger space and I’m able to properly exhibit.
**** – (): 01:25:19.50
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So because yeah is.
**** – (): 01:25:26.14
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, and so I think that it’s really great to be kind of finally we’re um, entering our second year of operations in this space and I think it’s also really great because even year on year since 2019 every year we expanded.
**** – (): 01:25:34.53
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Okay.
**** – (): 01:25:44.77
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): In the summer and this summer I said you know what this summer we’re not going to do ah um, we’re not going to do a physical expansion because we have a big space. We have 2 floors right now we’re going to do our first internal expansion. Um and the internal expansion was ah. Hiring our gallery manager Emma Reid and that’s really exciting so to finally have a team and have a full-time employee to go and be helping with operations and making something and all of a sudden being from a 1 a 1 crazy person show to like.
**** – (): 01:26:16.10
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Man ah, like I imagine imagine things you’ve made happen. It would I think it does take 1 crazy person to make all of this happen I don’t think if you’re not crazy enough.
**** – (): 01:26:19.20
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Having a little bit of a team and like making it. Yeah, it’s yeah yeah, yeah, yeah, but now you have to be a little bit crazy.
**** – (): 01:26:33.10
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): It really would have been possible because yeah, you have to be like you really have to be a lot crazy to make um to take those risks to believe in yourself and I keep saying this to like you know, a lot of when we work and the artist we work with and if you do not.
**** – (): 01:26:44.25
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah.
**** – (): 01:26:52.53
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Trusting if you’re not crazy enough even if you’re like even I feel like I’m the worst in this moment even if I’m if I know that and I’m not crazy enough to believe in myself and invest in myself when I think it’s a worst decision. Nobody else will ever do that I ask.
**** – (): 01:26:52.91
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:26:58.34
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, right.
**** – (): 01:27:05.54
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, no one will else will ever do it and you have to be hungry for it. You have to want it like even in the buildout. There was a day there was a day that they delivered the this these sheets of plywood that are £100 each and they’ve delivered.
**** – (): 01:27:11.10
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:27:24.15
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): 70 of them or something a block away and it’s pouring rain and I’m lifting these things 1 at a time all the way down like this by the twentieth one I was like I’m going to die and there was still 50 more to do and I and each one I lifted up and I said how badly do you want this.
**** – (): 01:27:36.60
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, and this yes.
**** – (): 01:27:41.15
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): How badly do you want this? you go and you find the strength inside of yourself to go How badly do you want that? and um and I think it is like that that you have to really be determined and um and I think that you know that can be okay when it gets into physical labor that can be almost to my fault. There was a day.
**** – (): 01:27:48.91
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Really yeah.
**** – (): 01:27:59.90
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Six weeks into the buildout that I I wasn’t sleeping that much and I was working so like kind of a little bit a lot and then there was one day I was I was biking down and I felt like Dizzy I was not I didn’t I didn’t feel good I felt like sick and busy.
**** – (): 01:28:06.49
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Mamie. Going more.
**** – (): 01:28:15.34
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And I thought you know what I’m going to go to my mom’s house. That’s not that far away from the gallery I’m going to take a 1 hour nap because I don’t think it’s like it’s borderline. Not safe to like to go and so I go to.
**** – (): 01:28:17.69
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So who this is yes Yes, yes, you have to be crazy but you don’t have to be extremely unsafe.
**** – (): 01:28:29.69
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And I feel like if I thought that it was unsafe. It was probably like crazy and because I went I went to go to sleep for one hour I set my alarm 1 hour I said I can I can give up 1 hour of work I woke up two days later I just
**** – (): 01:28:36.70
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Ah, that is too I can imagine that by now.
**** – (): 01:28:46.15
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So Wow of course.
**** – (): 01:28:49.30
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): I It was crazy and then I and then I was like immediately like I read right back to where to start doing construction stuff like this because like the and then I had to call some friends to help catch me up on these you know the the days that I lost and stuff like this but I hope so.
**** – (): 01:28:55.35
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Thank god.
**** – (): 01:29:01.51
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um I hope 2024 is a moment of breath for you I truly hope a big paid wide breath a good drive. A good breath I see you couldn’t say then um.
**** – (): 01:29:07.93
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): But I think it’s also yeah I think it’s good. A good breath but also bringing in more programming and stuff and then also it was like seeing that community. Yeah I wouldn’t and I wouldn’t be able to do anything that I do without the community that I have around me you know the artists that I work with and.
**** – (): 01:29:20.71
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes, as.
**** – (): 01:29:27.60
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): My friends and stuff that they were who brought me to the finish line of this space. This is not possible about the.
**** – (): 01:29:31.15
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And it is another crazy. It is another crazy. It is it takes another crazy to believe in 1 more crazy like you know it’s it’s all team. It’s whole in.
**** – (): 01:29:39.13
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): exactly exactly no it’s true and the last week of the build out here. It was it was like you know I still get goosebumps thinking about it’s like the moment of it’s a wonderful life when everyone kind of cubs and like um, you know goes and helps and.
**** – (): 01:29:51.95
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): You? Yes, we did it it? No Absolutely I.
**** – (): 01:29:54.72
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And make something possible because 1 person can’t do it one person can’t do it. It. It takes a village and I think that um building that community around is something I’ve always put a really big emphasis on and I think that you know to be a gallery where at the openings you see the other artists that show there. That’s something that. So many people have said it so special. You don’t see the other artists that um, whatever gallery you know is represents and all of these other artists that they work with are all at the opening all supporting. You know if if you come next week it’s like a family It’s like a family and I think that that’s like you know people like.
**** – (): 01:30:15.80
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So yeah.
**** – (): 01:30:26.90
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So it’s like a family that you make so.
**** – (): 01:30:34.11
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): We we recently in December went to our very first art fair. Our very first major art fair um scope which was an incredible honor to be at and we worked really closely with the team at scope to help create this new section called the futures section. We.
**** – (): 01:30:39.64
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): He.
**** – (): 01:30:51.20
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Helped invite other galleries into it and um and then we brought actually 2 artists down we brought James Reyes and we also brought my mother and it was an incredible success and um it was also another one of these big moments where like. You know what? that’s another step of taking it to the major leagues of like. Okay now we’re doing art fairs now we’re you know, kind of like we’re on that next escheland so. It’s like I really think that as a gallery I’m always trying to think about you know Okay, now. Great, but how can we get to the next step. How can we get to the next like even.
**** – (): 01:31:09.41
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): It says. Yeah.
**** – (): 01:31:23.27
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): What’s next yeah, yeahx.
**** – (): 01:31:24.29
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, like you’ve been bringing in the warhol show. That’s okay, now we’re now we’re a gallery that’s going and and showing um some larger artists and stuff like this now we’re at a major fair like scope and I think that it’s also such an amazing thing to be at a fair-like scope because they’ve also put such an emphasis On. Um, supporting emerging galleries and emerging artists and kind of putting an emphasis on collecting contemporary and I think that it makes it a really good fit for us because you know that’s that’s their passion.. That’s my passion and right now that makes the most sense. Um, and I think that.
**** – (): 01:31:46.58
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And artist is and yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s true.
**** – (): 01:32:03.65
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): You know it was amazing when we brought James Rayes his works down. There’s people I’m speaking to at the booth and they said oh you know how long have you worked with this artist and I said um oh geez 11 years and then eleven years how old are you hey 32 and I said.
**** – (): 01:32:10.76
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And got.
**** – (): 01:32:20.24
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): What I said? Yeah well you know the first show he ever had was out of um out of college. It was a group show of recently graduated sva students. He had some pieces in it that was twenty twelve um or yeah twenty twelve or maybe 2013 or whatever it was like this and.
**** – (): 01:32:23.48
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): The best.
**** – (): 01:32:36.99
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): That’s what we started working together. Um, and ever since we’ve worked together and we’ve built our careers um in Tandem and yeah and I think to to have that reassurance where you know you start by showing objects that are um, but.
**** – (): 01:32:37.72
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And basin together. Yes I Love that.
**** – (): 01:32:53.82
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Thousand dollars may be you know, barely something like this to fast forward 10 years or something like this and we sold a couple of paintings of his for 20000 um at the fair one to a museum collection. Um, one to a client in Europe you know I think to like to have that trust to be building with each other.
**** – (): 01:33:10.81
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes, and also also knowing that the people that you’re using. They’re also constantly improving like it’s like 2 wheels continuously oiling themselves so that the engine could be faster. It’s like if even 1 takes.
**** – (): 01:33:12.89
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, is really amazing.
**** – (): 01:33:22.61
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah, exactly.
**** – (): 01:33:29.56
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): If one doesn’t do the work that it needs to do the other would have to hold himself or herself back. It’s like ah it’s like a marriage and.
**** – (): 01:33:35.45
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Exactly and I think that exactly it’s like a marriage I think with all of the artists I work with it’s like a marriage you got to go and have good communication and make things work and kind of um and know that you’re on the same team like I think that.
**** – (): 01:33:40.27
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): I It no.
**** – (): 01:33:49.79
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): It was really amazing like even to so cut costs down at the fair because I’m always you know we still have to be cutting costs everywhere and um I took my drove my van down with James me and James in the car and we it was actually a little bit crazy I still do crazy things a little bit like we opened this exhibition. We opened this exhibition we had been installing all week like crazy crazy barely zo were selling stuff like this. We opened the exhibition I cleaned it up at around 9 we start packing the car up at like 10 um, and then we get on the road at midnight and we drive 20.
**** – (): 01:34:27.37
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Something hours straight via James just drive twenty something hours straight straight to Miami because that’s the only way we could get um to there in time for install of the fair that next Saturday morning or whatever it was like this so we go we drive.
**** – (): 01:34:31.25
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): But.
**** – (): 01:34:36.85
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So god.
**** – (): 01:34:41.86
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Nonstop taking shifts you know, whatever you four or five hours switch over whatever um, and then um and then we got to we get to the his his place down in Miami and kind of immediately get right to work. We get.
**** – (): 01:34:46.16
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And amazing.
**** – (): 01:34:57.22
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): First we’d do a little um, tinkering around at his apartment fixup ac system and stuff like this and then immediately he was like hey bro you want to just go to like home depot and kind of like get a head start on things I was like yeah, let’s go so we get back in the van we go to home depot buy all these tools and stuff like this and then we’re up till.
**** – (): 01:35:07.52
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah I.
**** – (): 01:35:14.52
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): 3 in the morning painting frames so that we’re ready for the morning and um, ah then 8 am start installing make things all happen. Um, and even at the fair you know the. Ah, we ended up replastering all the what we did. We’re a little bit crazy that sometimes like this and but it was amazing and we really put in the extra effort put in the extra work to make everything happen and um and I think that you know that’s not possible without artists that also believe in that artists that aren’t like yeah.
**** – (): 01:35:30.85
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Oh my god.
**** – (): 01:35:42.60
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So yes, absolutely for sure. Absolutely yeah.
**** – (): 01:35:47.78
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Like even something like that like like James I look at him like family. You know what? I mean it’s like and so many of the artists that I work with I really do I look at like family and um and we see each other as you know we’re a family we we build together. We make things happen together. We take the losses together. We take the wins together. Um.
**** – (): 01:35:51.36
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah.
**** – (): 01:36:05.52
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): I Love that.
**** – (): 01:36:07.15
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And I think that’s the really important thing with any with any team. You’re not going to win every single everything but you have to go and you’re not going to win. Yeah, there’s going to be hard days and there’s going to be exactly and you have to be able to from the exhibitions. You don’t sell you have to be able to critique and learn from.
**** – (): 01:36:13.57
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, absolutely bless some days at some good taste and you have to lay both.
**** – (): 01:36:25.59
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And from the exhibitions you do sell you have to still be able to critique and learn from. So I think that you know constantly? Yeah, you want to be constantly going and working with and hey you know um I said you know, even even this this spring or this fall Charlie said hey you know I don’t i.
**** – (): 01:36:27.82
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, and see on the ground.
**** – (): 01:36:44.54
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): He didn’t see his exhibition as a huge success and I said wait but what what metrics are you using because I said let me ask a couple questions I said was this the best work you ever made he said oh yeah, of course so okay, so this is this one metric. That’s very important and I said did we sell.
**** – (): 01:36:56.10
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah, yeah, ah go Yeah yes.
**** – (): 01:37:03.62
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Almost all the pieces that we sold we sold to new clients. He said oh yeah, well that’s true I said this is another incredible metric like so I said ah what what metrics are you using that This wasn’t a successful show because we’re selling to. We’re expanding your clientele. You’re making the best work you ever made. Um.
**** – (): 01:37:12.38
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Difference.
**** – (): 01:37:22.78
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And these are the metrics that I’m looking at I said when I’m judging a show. These are the these are 2 very important metrics of of success and so he said oh you know when you look at it this way you’re right? It is a successful show and I said of course there’s still things that we can build off of.
**** – (): 01:37:26.50
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So these are things that you look at so.
**** – (): 01:37:39.60
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And of course we can still go and have a conversation see how we can make things better because I said you know what? the next show we do together. It’s also I want you to be able to say this is the best work I’ve ever made and I think that that’s important so it is you know and sometimes artists are incredibly self-critical I think you know he’s He’s an incredibly you know.
**** – (): 01:37:47.18
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So That’s not better. Yeah holoc. Yes, yes, that’s true I As yeah.
**** – (): 01:37:58.72
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Critiquing himself and sometimes you have to be like wait wait step back. Step back for a second like hey we sold a lot of works most of it was to new clients and you and I both can consider it the best work that you ever made. Okay, these are pretty good metrics. Um, so I think that.
**** – (): 01:38:11.70
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So I love that.
**** – (): 01:38:14.62
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): You know I think that that’s also like you know, constantly thinking about how you can um, continue to improve because no matter how long we do the business and no longer how long anything goes improving. You got to continue. It’s like it’s like what I was saying at the very beginning about.
**** – (): 01:38:25.20
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So you’re always willing to yeah yes.
**** – (): 01:38:32.84
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Education as a mindset. You know what I mean you have to constantly be thinking Education is a mindset you know even when we’re showing yeah and I think that that’s really important like even um, you know something That’s really exciting is like you know with with the warhol show that’s coming up.
**** – (): 01:38:37.97
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So life teaches you your experience teaches you you.
**** – (): 01:38:51.32
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): It’s going to be all video works right? Which means they’re not going to be for sale which means that we’re taking the legs out of our main business. Our our main business. How I make the rent is the is the selling the painting. So I say you know that’s okay because 2 things 1 We also have an incredible stage downstairs and.
**** – (): 01:38:55.30
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So I like a Ma yes I’m taking a look bit. Yeah.
**** – (): 01:39:10.21
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): We have incredible booking of performances and it’s actually amazing because you know surprise one of the artists that I work with very closely Ryan is someone that helps an incredible amount with booking and bringing in acts and stuff like this so you know. We work with a lot of different folks to bring in music and so I said you know what March and end of February March we’re going to put an extra emphasis on bringing in music and bringing in these performances because we can make our rent this way as well. You know a business needs to have many ways that they can win.
**** – (): 01:39:36.75
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes, there many ways to make a revenue. Yes.
**** – (): 01:39:44.10
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And exactly and so this is another stream of revenue and this is right now a stream of revenue that we’re kind of um, not as focused on so it maybe happens once a week. We have a little music performance. Whatever stuff like this but it’s amazing because even the performances that we’ve had downstairs um on our stage.
**** – (): 01:39:52.80
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And.
**** – (): 01:40:02.60
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): We’ve had um Grammy award-winning musicians play in this tiny you know and this is okay this is really important to me because I always think that when you bring creatives together this is when special things happen. That’s where the magic is.
**** – (): 01:40:06.64
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, and also bringing another creative people another energy introducing home people to.
**** – (): 01:40:15.12
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So that’s where the magic is yeah yeah.
**** – (): 01:40:20.00
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): If you just have a bunch of painters in the room. Okay, they’re going to be a bunch of painters in the room if you have you know a bunch of painters and and with with sculptors with with musicians with poets with writers with filmmakers that and galleries and that’s when the magic kind of.
**** – (): 01:40:25.50
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So musicians and poets and and girls and galleryary is in art, agent and business. Yes, yes.
**** – (): 01:40:37.20
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And business. That’s when it all starts happening and that’s when you kind of start getting culture and that’s what I’m actually really excited about with the screen test that we’re showing the the warhol screen test this shows that this is a direct illustration of that. It’s not every single one is an artist. It’s you have musicians. You have poets you have writers you have dancers and I think that what I’m so excited about with the collection that um, that Greg Pierce has put together is it really illustrates that it illustrates that kind of. That cultural explosion that that moment where you have a culmination of all different art forms coming together under the same um studio in that the kind of legendary factory setting of searchs like this and you have you know artists like Warhol championing championing. Musicians and bands like the velvet underground and you have you know people like John Giorno in this kind of like ah milieu as well and like I think that I think it’s really exciting when you have that all together. Um, so I think that.
**** – (): 01:41:43.80
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): That’s true.
**** – (): 01:41:44.86
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): That’s really something that I’m um I’m super excited to be exhibiting and kind of showing off.
**** – (): 01:41:47.62
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): But also I think you also facilitate like you know it’s also um, you willing to it’s ah like you know I said you track who you are the more um you are willing to take risk you find people who are willing to take risk with you for you.
**** – (): 01:42:04.60
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:42:07.16
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Experiment and play and you know that’s where sometimes the growth is not where it’s It’s safest to grow in the sense. The most truth is where it’s the riskiest to grow and that’s where when you take that leap. You may fall and maybe you’ll fail at once and twice and thrice and full. But.
**** – (): 01:42:13.38
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:42:21.13
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:42:26.74
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): At the fifth time is when maybe you know that will start to pay off but but also you you would have grown a thicker skin and your tolerance towards risk would be so much higher that you’re willing to do it. It wouldn’t be as difficult as it would be in the first place.
**** – (): 01:42:27.48
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Exactly.
**** – (): 01:42:33.72
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:42:39.90
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): I I agree with that and I also think that you know I think people also make excuses all the time. Oh I don’t have connections in this I don’t have connections in this I don’t have this I don’t have that an example of that is this show that I’ve I’ve been talking about the the show of the screen test The warhol show.
**** – (): 01:42:45.76
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes, yes, yes.
**** – (): 01:42:58.40
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): How we got that show I cold called the museum I looked I googled online. What’s the thing I called the front desk I said hey keep you transferring me up to the director of film and video. That’s you don’t mean like that you know you don’t need to have a friend and you don’t need to take a no.
**** – (): 01:42:59.30
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So.
**** – (): 01:43:04.79
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes.
**** – (): 01:43:12.35
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Deceptibly me also being willing to take no being I think you have you have said you have said some yes no is.
**** – (): 01:43:16.72
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Take a no I actually took a no the first time I called I called the next day and then then I got up but you know it is like willing to take a no, what’s the worst. Oh the worst that happens is we don’t get the show. Oh we didn’t have the show on the calendar anyways, right now. So take the risk you know and I think that that’s like.
**** – (): 01:43:28.15
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): The reject. Yeah yeah, hello guy.
**** – (): 01:43:35.84
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): That’s the most exciting part is um, being in the mentality of like you can make things happen or if the traditional route looks a little bit difficult find an untraditional route to make that happen and um.
**** – (): 01:43:38.58
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): It Yes I and it take saving them. It’s anyways going to be I think it’s anyways going to be difficult or easy. It’s that’s where your mindset is but at least take the route where you. Have the most conviction in the sense of the most fun if you are willing to put that faith in yourself. Be it. Whatever you’re doing if you believe in yourself I think that is the route like because there’s no one way there. Always you ways being discovered new things being done and there’s no,, There’s no right and Wrong. It’s only.
**** – (): 01:43:59.77
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Exactly.
**** – (): 01:44:05.35
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:44:17.86
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Where you meant to be.
**** – (): 01:44:18.23
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Exactly exactly and I think that’s so true, especially in the arts right in the in the arts that is the that should be the you know what people really the mentality because I think that that is um, you have to have a can do mentality.
**** – (): 01:44:22.49
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes, yes.
**** – (): 01:44:30.13
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, yes, yes, yes.
**** – (): 01:44:34.89
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): You know the people that don’t believe in themselves. They’ll never be able to make things happen and the moment that an artist takes that leap of faith to really believe then they can start emerging and then they can start really making things happen and take autonomy of their career and I think that that’s what’s really exciting and.
**** – (): 01:44:49.34
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah.
**** – (): 01:44:52.81
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And I think one of the great things about working with younger artists is you get to see that moment where they where the where the confidence comes in and and you see that Blossom and I think that that is ah you know that is the gallery is so rewarding. Yeah.
**** – (): 01:44:56.41
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): This you see them growing and also I think working also working with people of your own age is also like you know you they might get as crazy as you are.
**** – (): 01:45:10.61
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): It’s amazing exactly and I think that that’s something that I also um, look up to all the time is gallerists like um back in the day like like.
**** – (): 01:45:18.90
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah I saw that yeah they content. Yes.
**** – (): 01:45:21.70
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, like Dick bellby like Paula Cooper you know people that were really were working with their contemporaries and I think that I find a lot of inspiration in that I think that you know these are these are folks that I you know obviously look up to their programs and stuff like this and um and it is. It’s such an honor to be working with folks that. Are in your same cultural scene that we are all able to go and hang out and um, kind of grow together and and find ways that we can kind of make things happen together I think that you know I think there’s obviously always space for you know. Older galleries to work with younger artists and stuff like this. But that’s not as that’s not typically as exciting at least if it’s that’s the only thing that’s going on in the program and stuff like this. So I think that you know I think I love seeing young gallerists. Um I love seeing young galleries and young young folks starting galleries like.
**** – (): 01:46:02.13
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:46:11.40
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Of.
**** – (): 01:46:14.33
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): There was um, there was someone that walked into my gallery. Um this past about a year ago. He walked into the gallery and he and he goes um hi my name’s my name’s Quentin Blump guy I I’m looking to start a gallery and I wanted to pick your brand I come come sit in my office and I said.
**** – (): 01:46:32.21
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Ah, oh um.
**** – (): 01:46:32.31
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): What what what can I do let’s let’s let’s make this happen. What what? you know I want to hear about you I want to hear about your story and is amazing. You know his his family has operated galleries for 5 generations. They have primarily operated in medieval objects for literally centuries and he’s bringing. His family gallery into the contemporary space so he opened a gallery blanca contemporary and the very first show that he ever did was actually in the in the basement of our of our gallery which is our second exhibition space that I that I do.
**** – (): 01:47:02.97
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Oh okay.
**** – (): 01:47:08.43
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): From time to time have special collaborations with other galleries with other curators and stuff like this and I think you know a few months after that conversation is when this show happened and I think that you know and from that the second show that um that his gallery ever did was. I introduced him to all the folks at scope and I said you know I know this gallery doesn’t have a physical location but this is a good guy. He’s a great he’s a great dealer he’s an incredible entrepreneur and he’s going to be making things happen and he’d be an incredible. Um, he’d be an incredible addition to the fair and will you know.
**** – (): 01:47:29.91
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Look at him. Yeah, he’s going to make it happen.
**** – (): 01:47:43.79
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): What he brings to the fair and the artist that he brings to the fair is going to make everyone look good. So um and they let him in to the to the fair and he got accepted into the into the art fair and did a very successful booth um with the artist Kelly Wang and
**** – (): 01:47:49.24
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So oh wow.
**** – (): 01:48:00.34
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): It’s really great to see that kind of growth and see that happen and I will always always like if I can help someone expedite their success I will always do that because um, you know for me. Yeah, it took me 10 years to get to a major fare.
**** – (): 01:48:00.92
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes, yes.
**** – (): 01:48:13.65
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Paying forward. Yeah.
**** – (): 01:48:18.62
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): If I can go and make a phone call and make an introduction and say hey trust this guy. He’s awesome. Um, and he’s great I I think you know he’s 25 years old um, starting his gallery and.
**** – (): 01:48:21.26
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): I Love that and.
**** – (): 01:48:33.12
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): He’s he’s going places and it’s awesome and we’re collaborating again in the spring. Um, he’s popping up again in our gallery and stuff like this and it’s really great to have also a community of other dealers and a community of other of other folks that are you know can be a support network around you and we can go and um work together. Um, like.
**** – (): 01:48:43.80
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, yes.
**** – (): 01:48:47.92
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes, that’s true.
**** – (): 01:48:52.99
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): For example, even when he had a show down downstairs I was so happy that 2 of the sales that he made were to our clients. You know one to a longstanding client and 1 to someone that came in from the gallery that I went and showed our show and then I went and showed his show and it’s um I think that that’s really exciting. So I think that.
**** – (): 01:49:07.21
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Amazing.
**** – (): 01:49:11.62
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): You know when you heart creating those collaborations and creating that kind of atmosphere where I don’t I’m a big believer Yay other galleries I Love other galleries like there’s another gallery um form a gallery that my friend Mariana owns she came to a.
**** – (): 01:49:16.72
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): You You don’t page again. Is you lifting at each other up. Yeah.
**** – (): 01:49:31.24
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): She came to a event that we had at our old gallery on Third street and after she came up and she said hey I was thinking about maybe opening gallery I’m not sure of all I said do it any any advice you need I’m here as a resource let me know call me anytime anything you need like let’s make this happen and um and now she’s in her. She just entered her second year of operation. They’re an incredible gallery right on Allen Street they focus on all female artists. Um, they have an incredible program and I love to see that happen. So you know I think that um.
**** – (): 01:49:50.83
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Amazing.
**** – (): 01:50:06.36
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): It’s great when you can also have a community of artists but also have a community of dealers have a community of other galleries and stuff like this and I think that? Yeah yeah.
**** – (): 01:50:10.99
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Dealers. Yes, ah yes, guys that’s true also share enough ideas know who what you know they know the waters. They know what you’re going through your own experiences stop of ideas and at the end of the day I think there’s always enough like um.
**** – (): 01:50:26.57
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Say here then.
**** – (): 01:50:26.82
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): For a very long time I think we work in a space where we’ve always been pitched against each other but there’s a there’s a whole new tan tanrum where you know people when we work in collaborations and that could be like a magic portion. Not only for one. But for all.
**** – (): 01:50:37.39
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah for all and I totally believe that and that was also really exciting because that was the whole ethos of the future section at scope it’s going and bringing galleries to get these younger galleries together.
**** – (): 01:50:45.44
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah.
**** – (): 01:50:55.10
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And kind of banding them together as a community and I think that that’s what I was so excited when they started building out this program and stuff like this and why I wanted to get so involved. Um, and I think that that’s amazing when you have a major art fair going and also taking that same kind of.
**** – (): 01:51:06.83
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Doing that? yes.
**** – (): 01:51:09.88
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Community approach where you know let’s work together. Let’s all pitch in to make things happen and let’s all you know, take that risk together and take those wins together. Um, so I think that that’s really amazing. Yeah yeah, yeah of course.
**** – (): 01:51:15.53
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes I like that you know what brings me back back to closing this conversation in a way because you know you started in the place where you said, um, it makes you feel home like you know the.
**** – (): 01:51:30.83
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:51:33.90
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Community How you grew up and at the end of the day like you know and you know at the beginning of a conversation. We started speaking about but you also said and I said like you know all these years. We keep moving forward but we’re always unlaring and truly going back to who we were before you know a world happened life happened or whatever.
**** – (): 01:51:48.18
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.
**** – (): 01:51:52.76
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And in in in the conversation that we’ve had so far. It’s like you know, growing up in in the way that like you know you said you have or properly I have I think Community has been one of the most most essential part.
**** – (): 01:52:06.40
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Absolutely.
**** – (): 01:52:10.70
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And that is like you know when our endeavors very consciously or unconsciously we start going back to making their efforts and going back into the ways that we were and trying to recreate those in our future lives.
**** – (): 01:52:22.62
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): No I think I think that that’s absolutely correct I mean I think that community is paramount and especially in the arts when you um when you can band together and be that support network for each other. That’s when you can collectively start winning.
**** – (): 01:52:28.67
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yes, yes.
**** – (): 01:52:34.50
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Now I Love that.
**** – (): 01:52:38.53
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): So I think that um so many times there’s artists that um you know there’s artists that that come from fortunate Backgrounds Unfortunate background doesn’t matter the background as long as you’re banding together and creating community for each other. No one will ever go hungry.
**** – (): 01:52:50.46
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, Martin yes, yeah.
**** – (): 01:52:57.75
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And I think that that’s the that’s the most important thing and I think that having that trust is like having you know having that community in my mind is the same thing as someone that has a golden parachute. You know it’s like that it really is because you know that you’ll never be. You’ll never be down and out.
**** – (): 01:53:13.71
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, yes, there will always be someone? Um, no, it’s a privilege. Yes.
**** – (): 01:53:16.84
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): You know and I think that there’ll always be someone and you can always get that you know you can both make that phone call and receive that phone call and whoever it is is good is good and it is a privilege and it’s an honor to go and help your community and like you know whenever in your position to help the community.
**** – (): 01:53:30.65
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): As you do.
**** – (): 01:53:36.28
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Help the community and I think that that’s always something that I do and always something and I really think of and and continue to put emphasis on I mean like um, you know and even even you know.
**** – (): 01:53:45.16
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): I Love that.
**** – (): 01:53:48.44
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, donating time donating resources you know, supporting nonprofits and different things like this sharing knowledge um sharing resources sharing clients sharing things you know making things happen together happening Collectively um I think is really really important and then you know and then I think that you know good.
**** – (): 01:53:50.74
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): So shall acknowledge. Yeah.
**** – (): 01:53:57.70
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Yeah I Love that.
**** – (): 01:54:07.72
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Good illustration of um of community and when you’re building community. Authentically you have these moments where you know randomly artists just stop by the gallery like look who just came in this is I spoke about him earlier but that’s Charlie Hudson you know to mean and this is.
**** – (): 01:54:21.34
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Ah, dancing. Ah yes.
**** – (): 01:54:26.55
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And and these and this happens all the time where um, artists will just stop by the gallery and that’s great and all but I think it’s really I think it’s really fun and that happens like almost every day we’re just so it just stoppmping by and I think that um that that always it gives me big smile.
**** – (): 01:54:32.89
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Ah, oh my God I It makes you it gives you a big smile and you you know all these years that you but and you when you look back.
**** – (): 01:54:45.39
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Exactly.
**** – (): 01:54:46.88
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): It’s always not the money the business. How big or small. It’s also the relationships in the moments that you and how like from where you came where you were and whatever the highs and lows it would be you experiencing them with people. It’s it’s that what we take after all nothing else, but that.
**** – (): 01:54:58.10
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, exactly exactly and I think that that’s the most important thing. So um, yeah, Takeaways Takeaways work hard build community. Ah believe in yourself, Um, anything is possible.
**** – (): 01:55:06.35
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Um, my god.
**** – (): 01:55:12.30
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Keep trying never eat. Let me find this up for you. There are some incredible things that I’ve learned from our conversation so far never give up take risk have fun, be willing to put the hard work keep building the community.
**** – (): 01:55:15.55
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Keep trying you’re going to? yeah.
**** – (): 01:55:22.44
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yep, yep yep.
**** – (): 01:55:31.96
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Do it with love. Um, what else? what else? what else have that energy because that’s not what I That’s what I’ve learned from you like you have the energy for sure and I think it’s I think by the closing I Want to say this I for me and like for me I am an artist.
**** – (): 01:55:36.43
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Have the energy. Yeah for sure.
**** – (): 01:55:50.85
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): But for me, you are also an artist because it’s not the canvas. Always an artist is not always making it on the canvas I think you being able to craft this to visualize this to put together this business and and I truly believe like um I feel there’s a huge parallel between being an artist and being an artist. You know it’s.
**** – (): 01:55:51.10
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:55:56.16
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah.
**** – (): 01:56:08.27
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Um, yeah with him. Yeah.
**** – (): 01:56:10.32
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): 2 very similar processes. It takes a lot of amount and hell lot of conviction and creativity and like a balance of everything so I do think like you know having that creative night like you know you don’t know like an artist where you don’t know where this would go but you have the fate that this would go somewhere.
**** – (): 01:56:24.61
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Hey.
**** – (): 01:56:29.29
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): And even if would you it wouldn’t You would still go keep doing this? Yes, Yes, yes yes, amazing. We’ve learned that from you. We’ve learned that from you.
**** – (): 01:56:30.79
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Exactly and you got to keep on doing it no matter what and always always be leading. By example, if you know if you’re the always trying to be the hardest working person there people want to also be work hard. Yeah. No, but amazing and thank you So so much for having me. It’s It’s such an honor to to speak to you and um to be on the podcast and everything like this and um, thank you so much for reaching out to me to have me. Oh Thank you and.
**** – (): 01:56:47.49
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): Thank you so Much. No Absolutely same? Yeah, it’s been.. It’s been such an incredible. Absolutely absolutely.. It’s truly been an honor and I think are you’ve been. You’ve been so modest and you’ve been just you’ve really opened up your heart and it’s it’s It’s energetically so amazing that I am truly grateful to be. You know that we could have this even though with screens apart sitting in different parts of the world I truly.
**** – (): 01:57:17.83
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): Yeah, for sure. No likewise I can’t wait I can’t wait I can’t wait. No, that’s awesome, but no anytime you’re in New York come on come on by come on by.
**** – (): 01:57:21.78
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): I truly could take away the energy that you have and I’m sure when I meet you in plus in it would be totally I mean ah yes I we have to do that’s one? Yes, yes, very soon very soon? yes yes 1
**** – (): 01:57:35.73
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): And also anyone to the listening to the podcast come on by to the gallery. Um, where at 1 74 sites come by come bother me come say hi um, but amazing. No and thank you so so much for having me amazing you too.
**** – (): 01:57:41.43
**** – (): charukaarora
**** – (): How yes and absolutely I Hope you have a good day. Thank you so much. You don’t have to drop sorry.
**** – (): 01:57:53.84
**** – (): Ki Smith
**** – (): But oh I don’t know. Okay.


About the Guest(s):

Ki Smith: Ki Smith is the founder and owner of Ki Smith Gallery, a contemporary art gallery located in New York City. He started his career as an artist and later transitioned into the role of a gallerist. Ki is known for his innovative approach to showcasing emerging artists and his commitment to creating a supportive community within the art world.

Episode Summary:
In this episode, Ki Smith shares his journey from being an artist to becoming a successful gallerist. He discusses the challenges he faced in starting his own gallery and how he overcame them. Ki emphasizes the importance of taking risks, being adaptable, and building a strong network within the art community. He also highlights the significance of creating a supportive environment for artists and the role of collaboration in the art world.
Key Takeaways:

The importance of taking risks and being adaptable in the art world.
Building a strong network and creating a supportive community within the art community.
The role of collaboration and innovation in the success of a gallery.
The significance of showcasing emerging artists and providing them with opportunities to grow.
The value of persistence and believing in oneself in the face of challenges.

Notable Quotes:

“If you have nothing to lose, you’re going to take more risks.” – Ki Smith
“Building a gallery is like building a family.” – Ki Smith
“Education is a mindset. You have to constantly be thinking and learning.” – Ki Smith
“Success in the art world is not about following a traditional path, but about finding your own way.” – Ki Smith
“Community is paramount in the arts. When you band together and support each other, that’s when you can collectively start winning.” – Ki Smith

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.

About Ki Smith

Ki Smith
Image taken from Soraa’s official website

Ki Smith is a native New Yorker and the owner/founder of Ki Smith Gallery in the Lower East Side. He began working in local art galleries at the Agee of 16. At 21, he co-founded Apostrophe NYC, which gained recognition for its innovative pop-up exhibitions at venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1, and NYC subway stations.

Smith founded Ki Smith Gallery in 2018 and opened the gallery’s first physical location in 2019. Since then, Ki Smith Gallery has been featured at art fairs in New York and Miami 

Smith is deeply dedicated to the arts and his contemporaries “drawing inspiration from dealers of the 1970s—like Richard Bellamy or Paula Cooper—who were often the same age or not much older than the artists they represented,” (Abby Schultz for Barron’s, 2019). Ki is passionate about promoting the arts in New York City and creating enduring relationships with artists.

In this week’s episode, Ki sheds more light on his beliefs and the way he looks at entrepreneurship. Ki’s positive energy is magnetic, and it’s hard to not catch some of that as he spills his fascinating life stories. From Apostrophe NYC to Ki Smith Gallery, he has really pulled a rabbit out of a hat. Where most people would stop and not dare to continue, he would find reasons to make his dreams come true.

When you bring creatives together, this is when special things happen.

Ki Smith – Arts to Hearts Podcast s04e02

Having a growth mindset

A major reason behind Ki Smith’s persistence is his belief that there is no traditional way to become a successful artist, and he is probably right. Every artist has their own story to tell. Some would talk about going against all odds, while some had the support of their family behind them. However, in any case, you would notice something unconventional about their journey, and it could be the smallest thing.

Art in itself is something that challenges the norms, it goes against traditional. In a world where scientific field is seen as more prestigious, to be an artist is something that makes you stand out. Then how is it possible that in order for you to be successful, you won’t have to take a few untraditional turns?!

If the traditional route looks a little bit difficult, find an untraditional route to make that happen.

Ki Smith – Arts to Hearts Podcast s04e02

Ki isn’t scared of failure, in fact he sees them as a learning curve. For him, every opportunity is meaningful, and no matter where it leads him, there will always be something to gain from it by the end. With this mindset, he was able to build his gallery without taking any loans, even though he had no money or funding!

It is like willing to take a no, what’s the worst?

Ki Smith – Arts to Hearts Podcast s04e02
Ki Smith Gallery

What it means to be a successful artist

Ki shares his two metrics of success for an artist. He thinks that if an artist falls on those, then they should not be losing sleep over their art or progress. If an artist thinks that they are making the best work they have ever made, while expanding their clientele, then they must know they are on the right path.

Ki offers a fresh perspective to look at things, because in every artist’s career, there will come a time (perhaps more than once) where they won’t be sure of their success anymore. They will second-guess and doubt themselves, which can do more harm than good. An artist should always be mindful of their career’s trajectory, but it can be harmful when that critique becomes unnecessary.

Ki believes that artists can be very self-critical, so they need to take a step back sometimes and really see the things as they are. So, as an artist, if you feel that you are selling more work to new clients, then that is a good sign because it means that your audience is expanding!

Sometimes artists are incredibly self-critical.

Ki Smith – Arts to Hearts Podcast s04e02

Power of community building

Ki is a strong believer in the power of community. Even as he talks about his successes, he credits his friends, family and the artists he has worked with, as they all played a vital role in bringing him to this point. As an artist, you might think that you can make it on your own, but having a support system is always for the better. With a community, you are able to work together and bring the best to the table. As everyone is able to pitch in things to make it happen, it becomes easier to take those risks together and take those wins together!

I think that community is paramount, and especially in the arts, when you can band together and be that support network for each other.

Ki Smith – Arts to Hearts Podcast s04e02

No matter the background or differences, the truth is, that as creatives we all have something to give and receive. Ki even compares this relationship to a marriage, where it’s all about communication and working as a team. Eventually, being part of the community means that everyone has each other’s back, and so no one is left behind!

Ki is always thinking about the next step and how he can move forward, and that’s something that can make a huge difference for someone who wants to be a successful entrepreneur. Ki’s entire philosophy as a creative and gallerist can be summed up into three points; work hard, believe in community, and anything is possible! Part of this entire creative journey as an artist is building a solid community, and as an artist, you must never underestimate its power. If you want to meet Ki, you can always visit his gallery at . You can also find out more about him and his work on his website and Instagram.

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


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