Luna Dolph

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Luna Dolph

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English - July 2, 2021

Art collection manager, passion and work

Do you know what an Art Collection Manager is? Let's find out, along with many tips and ideas on the world of art, thanks to Raffaella!

Hello everyone and welcome to a new episode of “I’m Luna Dolph – Life & Reality”. I am Luna, and I thank you for being here with me. In the last episode we talked about the connection between Cosplay and videogames with Federica.

Today I would like to talk about a new topic, linked to painting and collecting paintings. I contacted a young girl, who started admiring the representations she saw on puzzles, when she was little. From this passion, then her work was born. We are talking about an Art Collection Manager, Raffaella (artbehindthecanvas on Instagram).

I’m really curious to find out about her story!

Hi Raffella, it’s a pleasure to meet you. In my podcasts you can see how intrigued I am by the art world. Every week I am chatting with artists, to learn more and more about all the disciplines behind culture.

R: Hi Luna, thank you very much for inviting me, it’s a real pleasure to meet you. I am Raffaella and I live in the United Kingdom, in London. I work here in the art industry.

The passion for paintings born as a child

Me: I looked around for a while on your profile and saw that you are very interested in art. I wonder if this is a recent passion, or if you fell in love with the world of paintings when you was a child. Personally, I approached painting a little while ago. I didn’t get to know this discipline before, and I can say that I’m completely in love with it.

R: This, Luna, is a passion that was born when I was a child, when I was a very little child. I have these memories of when I was four or five, going to my grandmother’s shop.

She had a stationery shop, where she sold objects but also things for the school, and she had these shelves full of puzzles that represented works of art.

The first approach to famous paintings

Van Gogh, "The Starry Night"
Van Gogh, “The Starry Night”

R: I remember that as a child I looked up and saw: “The Starry Night” by Van Gogh, “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli, the cherubs by Raphael.

As a child I looked at those paintings with great admiration, and tried to reproduce them on paper. It was a world that fascinated me a lot. So, I would say that my passion for art was born from there. Then I tried to turn this passion into a job.

See the paintings for the first time

Me: Really amazing to think that a little girl has become so passionate that she wants to continue on that path. Children have a very developed imagination, do you remember what you felt the first time you saw some paintings with your own eyes?

R: When I saw my first paintings, with the awareness of being in front of works of art, I think I was thirteen or fourteen, and I was in the Uffizi in Florence.

The Uffizi is a beautiful museum, I recommend you visit it, if you have never done it before. At that moment, I found myself in front of Botticelli’s “La Primavera” which, until then, I had only seen in art history books at school. When I saw it live, it gave me a great sense of wonder and amazement.

I thus realized, for the first time, how art was able to convey what it really wants to say to the people who find themselves in front of the work.

Studying the paintings at school and, then, seeing them in reality

R: I can say it was a beautiful feeling. And that was my first encounter with a work of art. It was incredible to know that I was in front of a work of art that, until then, I had only studied at school.

When I was in elementary school, or middle school, my interest in paintings dropped a little. When I started studying them again, in high school, and then being able to visit a museum, everything changed.

Me: You were really a child when you became passionate about paintings. I find it incredible and exciting. You told me about what you first felt.

The passage of time and different perception of the paintings

Me: I am sure that, with the passage of time, your perception of art and paintings has changed. Our ideas, our feelings, are constantly evolving. What do the paintings represent for you now?

R: Over the years, art has certainly changed and so has my perception of it. As I said before, when I went to these museums, I found myself having a sense of awe and wonder, in front of a work of art that I had studied in school.

Growing up, however, art has become a kind of refuge, if we can call it that. Especially in moments of great difficulty. I compare it a little to music. Music is accessible to everyone, and you don’t need to know the text, know the words, or even understand the notes. You can feel that the music understands our feelings.

Express your feelings through art

R: The same happens to me with art. For me it is incredible to think that an artist can express himself on canvas. Or in another medium, so he can sculpt, he can create a piece of digital art. In this way, he can take out his feelings, which often mirror those I feel too.

It has helped me a lot, over the years. In moments of despair, it was useful to think that, an artist like Rothko, was able to represent anguish on the canvas. Then, I went to Tate Modern to see his paintings, and understand that someone else had the same feelings as me. It really helped me out of moments of despair. Of course, at the same time, there are some works of art that also make me very happy.

So, for me, it’s just therapy. I love paintings, and I love museums. I would like people to be able to get closer to art just to be able to experience what I feel.

Paintings as an aid to approach or escape from reality?

Me: You talked about art as a refuge. Personally, I notice more and more that people are trying to escape from their reality, from the world they live in. They want to hide themselves behind a screen and create an invented life. I would like to ask you if, for you, art is more a way to escape from this reality, or a way to connect more to what surrounds you.

Do you think that paintings, and art, can also help people to reconnect a little with the world they live in?

R: You’re absolutely right, Luna. I don’t think that art is a way to escape from reality. On the contrary, I believe that art is just a way to connect more with it.

So, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a moment of sharing, you don’t have to think of art as something you have to see with someone. In my opinion, art is a way to connect with one’s feelings and with one’s reality. And, perhaps even understand that one must live in this reality. You have to face your feelings and in this art can really help.

Me: You’re right Raffaella. I often find myself looking at paintings and wandering with my mind. I think it’s a time to be alone and to find ourselves.

Art Collection Manager, the passion that becomes a job

Me: Anyway, we started talking a little bit about art and what it represents for you. But, starting from your love for paintings, you came to make it a real job. So how is art connected to your work?

R: So, I work as an Art Collection Manager. This is a somewhat particular work, one of a kind. I take care of looking at the private collections of some clients. They, then, explain to me what they want from their collection, in terms of growth in value over time.

With my company, we establish a plan that serves, year after year, to ensure that the collection is moving in that direction. So, I take care of doing market research in the art sector, of checking the value of artists and of being informed about the trends in the sector.

The paintings to break the barriers between people

R: Doing this job, gave me the opportunity to see many art collections, even important ones. Lots of private works which, therefore, are not visible to everyone.

This made me understand even more, how important it is to get people interested in art. Especially those who try the block I mentioned earlier. This wall that prevents some access to art.

Precisely because, in the work I do, I find myself having contacts with people who are already in the sector, I like this. However, I would like to talk more with people who want to get closer to art but who, until now, have not had the means. Those who have had the tools, or have found themselves a little intimidated by entering this sector.

Me: In fact, Raffaella, I really care about these podcasts, because they are aimed at people with a passion. I appeal to those who carry a message forward every day, through art. But, also to those who would like to get closer. To those who do not have the means, or do not have that pinch of courage that is enough, to jump in and try.

What is an Art Collection Manager? Advices.

Me: You did it. You found the right courage, and you followed your passion. Is there any advice you would like to give to people who are trying?

R: Surely, the first piece of advice I would give, is to try to get as much information as possible. Not only through the internet, or through reading books, even if they are very important. I also recommend books, some are very interesting, and help us understand, especially modern and contemporary art.

But, I would definitely recommend going to museums. I would recommend going to art galleries, and asking questions, trying to overcome this obstacle, which sees art as a somewhat elite sector. This is absolutely not the case, art is open to everyone.

A beginning made up of compromises

R: Also, if you really want to work in the industry, I would recommend that you try to join some company, that does this. Even through positions that are initially not of interest. I, initially, started as a department assistant in the company where I am still today. Later, I moved into the Art Collection Management sector and learned a lot.

Without experience first, I would never have gotten to where I am now. Although at first I didn’t think it was something that would interest me, it actually turned into something very useful. This allowed me to get to my current position.

So, I definitely recommend entering the world of work, with a position in the industry, even if it’s not what you want.

Me: These are very important tips, Raffaella. Sometimes it helps to compromise to get started. Before being able to reach your goals you have to go a different way.

Memories of past experiences

Me: So, you had a lot of experiences before you got to the job you’re doing today. I guess you have also traveled extensively. The world of art is a world that is always on the move, full of novelty and renewal.

I would like to know if there is any journey that has left its mark on you. Some experience that has remained in your heart.

R: I would say that there were two moments and two cities that marked me a bit. Which impressed me and certainly shaped my career a bit so far.

Studies to carry out an important project

R: The first was Siena, in Tuscany. This is where I went to college. I graduated in Economics, which apparently seems like something that doesn’t have much to do with art. Actually, at the time, I was very interested in the more technical, scientific, economic subjects. I already wanted to work in the art sector, but I didn’t know how, and therefore, I thought to do something in management. A little behind the scenes of the industry. So I chose the degree in Economics.

Siena, of course, we all know that it is a wonderful city, one of the most beautiful for me. Siena is a very ancient city, full of monuments and works of art which, we can say, belong to the past. It is precisely there, that I began to understand that, the city, has a certain resistance to innovation, as happens in all of Italy, unfortunately.

Although, I must say that, currently, I find that some very interesting projects are being born in Italy, as far as contemporary art is concerned. However, let’s say that, overall, Italy is not a country that likes to value contemporary artists and contemporary art in general.

So, Siena was the very city that made me fall in love with Italy’s artistic and cultural heritage. But, at the same time, it left me with a bit of a sense of lack of something newer, like it wasn’t suitable for younger people.

Travel as an important means of getting to know the world

R: For this reason, I moved to London which, instead, is a city that loves the new, contemporary history and art. Indeed, I could say that she loves art more than Italy. At least London, not the whole nation.

And it was here, instead, that I studied Art Business, at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. The university affiliated with the auction house. Here I came into contact with a very interesting, very innovative collection. A collection of Chinese contemporary art. It can be visited in virtual reality.

I worked with these collectors for several months, and found their way to present art, truly innovative. Theirs is an incredible effort to make art accessible to all. This, really made me understand how important it is to innovate, to ensure that people do not feel excluded or distant from art. It takes very little, sometimes, to change this situation.

Innovation projects in the world of paintings

Me: What a pity that such a beautiful, rich world is not valued enough. It can really give people a lot. But, anyway, you said that there are new projects, which they are putting in motion, to give more importance to this world. Can I ask you which ones?

R: Sure Luna. My friends tell me about it, or even Instagram many people. They often thank me, because they went to visit a specific exhibition or gallery that I recommended, and this makes me very happy.

There are also online shops of works of art. I see that many artists have also decided to bypass the gallery system, and to promote themselves through social media, and therefore to sell online. Then, there are companies, that are not strictly Italian, which are emerging and operating online. They do a very interesting job, and they also sell in Italy.

I can name a couple if you want.

Those who choose innovation to meet people

R: We have, for example: “Avant Arte“, which is a Dutch company. They too have the core business of getting closer to young people, to the new generation. They want to break down these barriers, which exist in the art market. To do this, they carry out collaborations with artists in limited editions. Then, they sell, for example, the prints that come out of a collaboration, or a limited number of sculptures. This allows young people to own a piece of art, without having to pay the figures we are used to hearing at auction or in galleries.

In fact, there is an Italian company that does something very similar. It is called: “Onstream Gallery“. They too do collaborations with emerging artists. However, it is a bit different from the company I mentioned earlier. And they too sell these collaborations to young people, who would like to get closer to art. So they give him the tools to understand it, and also to buy it. So to have your own piece of art.

There is another company I have come into contact with very recently, called “Artscapy“. This company, on the other hand, was founded by an Italian and his partner in London. It is a kind of social network of art, which also has within it the tools to manage its own art collection, of young collectors.

Small companies in continuous growth

R: There are, therefore, many companies that are still small, because this sector has always been dominated by a duopoly of auction houses. Then, from two main auction houses, from two or three secondary auction houses, and then from galleries, which have very important names.

Therefore, it is difficult even for a small company to enter such a historic sector, which has giants within it, who do not intend to sell even a piece of their market.

Although, I believe that things will certainly change with our generation and the next.

Managing a revolution in the world of art collections

Me: I think it’s important that everyone understands how magnificent the art world is. You talk about it with so much passion. I chose to talk to artists precisely to be able to understand what lies behind these disciplines. I believe that no one can explain art better than those who live on art.

So you said that you think there will be a revolution. Where do you think it should start from and where should it happen?

R: The revolution should start with us. Not us, the operators in the sector. But us, ordinary people. Many people unfortunately, in their life, have not had the opportunity to approach art and therefore. They have lost the opportunity to experience strong emotions thanks to art.

It’s not mandatory to understand art. Sometimes there is really nothing to understand. People may get stuck because they think they can’t understand. But you don’t always need to understand what’s behind it. You can see what you want, you can read what you feel.

I realize, however, that many people, not only from generations before me, even from my generation, have never had the opportunity to approach art. Hence, this whole sector has been closed to him a little.

The revolution could start from these people, getting closer to art, to museums. Of course, the institutions play an essential role in all this. I think that, in recent years, we are starting to understand that we need to encourage people to go to museums a little.

Follow an example to achieve results

R: There are several different tools for doing this. I believe we can look at the Anglo-Saxon example, as a great example of museum management. I always like to say that museums are almost all free. Admission is always free, unless it is a particular exhibition.

So, I think things will change in this sense. I think people are becoming more and more interested in museums and culture. Also because it represents your nation.

I think it is important to know that your country has produced masterpieces that are very well known around the world and that everyone wants them. Above all that people are willing to pay to see them. I think it’s also a source of pride. And we don’t always have to look to the past, but we also have to look to our artists today.

Places of art, a means of understanding

Me: As you said, people should be given means to help them get closer to this world. I guess a lot of people are interested in art and paintings, but without the right possibilities, they can’t move. I think that museums can be a means, indeed, a very important place.

A place where people can see with their own eyes, can understand reality and understand what is in front of them. I really want to ask you, since your friends thank you for the advice, if you could recommend something to me and our listeners. Can you recommend a museum or an interesting exhibition for those who are passionate or for those who want to get close?

Art collection manager, a different art

R: Luna, if you ever come to London, there is a museum I would definitely like to recommend. This time I would like to detach myself a little from art, that is, from what is called “Fine Art”. That is, the one that includes paintings, sculptures, non-decorative art. I would definitely recommend that you go to the Natural History Museum in London, it is truly an amazing museum.

You could see lots of animals, lots of dinosaur remains, planets. You could find out more about our planet, about the Moon, about natural phenomena such as: earthquakes, eruptions of volcanoes. This is also a museum that attracts a lot of people, perhaps more than an art museum.

I really like it, because they found a way to make it really interesting. In addition to this, there are often photography exhibitions. I’ll go see one shortly, and I’ll definitely send you some photos, Luna. This is the exhibition of the strangest shot ever taken of wild animals.

Me: I would love to receive the photos and see something so special. Thank you, Raffaella, for the thought!

Fine Art

Me: To get closer to the world of paintings instead. Is there a place that you would recommend to me, where I can admire paintings with my own eyes and where I can lose myself for a moment?

R: Surely, Luna, I would advise you, once again, to travel as much as possible. To come to London, and to visit the “Tate Modern“. This is a wonderful museum, which gives space to all contemporary art, from all countries of the world.

You would see a lot of works. You could see the most famous modern artists such as: Picasso, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys. But, you may also see tons of contemporary artists, who you have certainly never heard of. You would really learn something new.

Art and paintings, a wonderful world

Me: Raffaella, I really thank you. You recommended me some wonderful places to visit. As you will have understood, my curiosity is great, therefore, I will certainly visit these museums. Maybe one day we will meet while visiting some exhibition.

Thanks also for the time you have dedicated to me. We talked about a magnificent world, full of surprises and ever-changing. As time goes by, I’m sure there will be lots of news and I can’t wait to see them.

Greetings, Raffaella, thanks for everything.

R: Thanks to you too, Luna, it was a real pleasure to talk to you and I hope to meet again soon.

Rate and comment my podcast

Thanks also to those who listened to this new episode of “I’m Luna Dolph. Life & Reality”. I learned a lot thanks to the chat with Raffaella, and I hope to have helped you to better understand what is an art collection manager, and the world of paintings and art. Raffaella recommended some interesting museums, write me to let me know if you have ever visited them, if you have participated in an exhibition or if it is part of your future projects!

Leave me a good review on my web channels, to encourage me to continue this journey. Subscribe to my podcast and on Instagram and contact me on lunadolph.com for advice, criticism or just to get to know me. See you next Friday for a new episode! And don’t forget – live and enjoy the real world!