Saturday, December 18, 2010

What Yoga has taught me in the world of Art

Recently, I was featured in a newsletter created by my Yoga Instructor, Renee Diamond. The focus of her pieces are about how yoga has helped heal, change and transform lives.

Here's my story:

“To me, Art is like Yoga. It takes me on a heart centered journey to find peace, tranquility and the wonder of discovery”

Three years ago, I left my corporate career, after 15+ years at New York advertising and integrated marketing agencies and 6 years managing Interactive and Relationship Marketing Departments at Mercedes-Benz – to become an art dealer and gallery owner.

It started in 2006 with the death of my father, a health scare and management changes at my company.

I realized I needed to do something different…and something that I loved. On a vacation during that time in Hawaii, my husband came up with the idea of starting an art gallery and it lit a spark in me. As the daughter of an artist, I grew up with art in my home and around museums, and I knew the power of art to positively impact all our lives. After a year of exploration and research, I launched Elisa Contemporary Art in November 2007.

My gallery is focused on the healing and transformational power of art. I will only represent artists whose work makes me feel something – whether it’s joy, sorrow, pain or wonder – it has to make me feel. And I donate a portion of every gallery sale to charities helping underserved children heal through art.

Throughout this journey – both in my yoga practice and my business - I have learned so much including to:
  • Be open to the opportunities around me
  • Notice the miracles that happen every day
  • Be grateful for the “angels” who cross my path
  • Know that the strongest support may come from a community of like-minded strangers
  • Ask for help or the occasional “spot” during a difficult moment
  • Accept that there are many things beyond my control -- no matter how hard I try
  • Realize the more you give to others, the more you receive

While I’ve traded in my powerpoint presentations for power tools, my luxury company car for a cargo van, endless hours of “brainstorming meetings” for hours of seeing and feeling into art to find the perfect piece for my clients. I am amazed at the journey.

My Riverdale NY Gallery opened in 2008, I’ve participated in 8 high-end art fairs in New York, The Hamptons, Miami, and Boston; Curated 5 shows in Public Arts spaces in New York and 2 in private Design stores; and built an art consulting business.

I know without my Sunrise Yoga classes, I would not have had the courage and the openness to make this leap and follow my heart and my passion. It is the support and inspiration from those around me, and those who lead, that has helped keep me optimistic and motivated even during challenging times. It’s the belief – though silent in the yoga studio - that I am strong, whole and capable, even when I may experience doubt.

It continues to be a beautiful and graceful adventure.


Photo Credit: Robin G. London

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just Back from a Whirlwind 3 Days in Miami

From Wednesday morning through Friday afternoon, I covered 8 Satellite Art Fairs and the convention center. It was an incredible immersion in art, art lovers and in certain areas, attitude!

Before I get to the art, which will be in tomorrow's posting, I wanted to share some of the inspiring people that I met along the journey.

On December 1st, as I searched for the art shuttle to the Wynwood area, I met a couple who now live in Michigan. While their art collection is extension, over 100 pieces I was told, I was most moved by their passion for art. For them, it was about meeting the artists, learning about the work, being a part of some incredible art related experiences. They have created a building to house and show their work, and the joy they receive from collecting and curating the work was palpable.

On December 3rd, I met a young collector who left friends behind to enjoy several days on his own surrounded by his pace! He didn't want to be rushed by others, he only wanted to experience it on his terms. He was on his way back to a Japanese Gallery for a second look at an artist he really liked. He told me about an upcoming move from the east coast to Atlanta, where he hopes with more space, he'll be able to showcase much of his work (which has been in storage and "under appreciated" or "under visited" for far too long).

While the art fairs and Art Basel Miami is about always about the art, it was refreshing and reassuring to meet those who truly exude a heartfelt passion about feeling and experiencing art at a very pure level. Not for investment, not for status, but for pure love of the experience!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Holiday Exhibit -

Our new holiday exhibit, 40 under 4, opened on Black Friday to kick of the holiday buying season. It will run through January 16th. And we'll have special Holiday hours including Sundays from 12-4pm on November 28th, December 5th and December 12th.

For me, art is an incredible gift because it allows you to immediately escape to a new place or travel into a different space. It is like the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland!

Stop by or visit us online and you'll see Elisa Contemporary Art we are filled with incredible and affordable artwork from artists from around the world. The exhibit, 40 Under 4, includes works on paper, mixed media paintings and sculpture – all by contemporary artists – emerging through late career.

Some of the highlights include:
* New Mixed Media series by Rosalind Schneider based on her Alaska Journey
* Richly pigmented landscape paintings by Canadian artist, Marie Danielle Leblanc
* Chinese Character Inspired figures by Taiwan artist, James Chen-Feng Kao
* Deep colored and playful paintings and works on paper by Austin-based emerging artist, Allison Gregory and New York Artist, Melinda Hackett
*A new series of acrylic and painted paper collage imagined worlds by Nancy Tobin

The show will also feature mixed media works by Turkish artist Yasemin Kackar Demirel and Egyptian artist Carole Naggar, drawings by Laurel Garcia Colvin, moody landscapes by Syracuse artist Sharon Gordon and energetic journeys by Amy Cheng, as well as copper botanicals by Rhode Island sculptor, Susan Freda.

What: 40 under 4, A Group Holiday Show – Over 40 artworks priced under $4,000
When: November 26th- January 16th
Where: Elisa Contemporary Art Gallery, 5622 Mosholu Avenue, Riverdale NY
Gallery Hours: Friday/Saturday 10am – 6pm; And by Appointment.
Special Holiday Hours: Sundays 12-4 pm on 11/28, 12/5, 12/12

Visit our website, for a video tour and images!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Emerging artist walked into Gallery today and unrolled his canvas

As a gallery owner, I am often amazed that artists don't realize that they are each a brand, and as such, must carefully represent themselves and know their target audience.

Today, a young emerging artist came into the gallery and unrolled his canvas. It was his only painting (he had had 2 other pieces that he sold on the street). He was fully prepared for me to say that I loved this unstretched (very large canvas - size was TBD because he had not measured it) and wanted to put it immediately on the wall! This however was not the case.

I asked him to tell me about his vision for the work, how he created it and what his intent was for the viewer. He could not initially verbalize any of this, but over time (and a conversation similar to pulling teeth), I learned that he painted the canvas in one day, outside a park in NY...he was inspired by the movement around him, the noises coming from the park, the changes in the sunlight throughout the day. Though he worked in Acrylic, he poured lots of water onto the canvas to give it a washed out much so that at the end of his day (at 2am) as he rolled up his canvas it was still wet. He had painted another piece in Central Park which had a totally different look and feel (I saw this piece on a 1 x 3 business card).

He told me he thought he could continue to sell his work on the street, but it was too much of a hassle...or that maybe he should just open up a gallery of only his work (I mentioned overhead, insurance, ways to build traffic and more)

I told him to come back to me when he had a series of pieces (at least 3-5) and more of an artistic focus for his work and a vision statement about who he is as an artist.

We would all love the business of art to be simple...just create it and they will buy.

However the reality for both the artist and the gallery owner, is it continues to be a done for love and passion...and must be taken seriously by all involved. As an artist, be sure you know who you are as a brand, what makes you/your work/your vision unique, and most of all, be able to communicate that when asked.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Local Emerging Artists in New Gallery Exhibit - opening June 18th

Elisa Contemporary Art gallery in Riverdale will be celebrating the fresh vision of five local emerging artists in a new Summer Group show, Emerged, opening on June 18th and running though September 12

Come enter the inspiring worlds – both real and imagined – created by these young artists. Featured artists include:
Michael Barletta, Yasemin Kackar Demirel, James Chen-Feng Kao, Krzysztof Pastuszka and Rosa Ruey.

You’ll meet new faces, encounter new ideas and be wisked away to many whimsical and intriguing worlds.

Two Special Receptions will take place at the Riverdale Gallery: 5622 Mosholu Avenue, Riverdale NY:
Opening Reception on Wednesday, June 23rd from 6-8 pm
Closing Reception on Tuesday September 7

5% of gallery commissions from sales will be donated to one of the support charities helping underserved children heal through art.  We currently support Free Arts NYC or Creative Arts Workshop for Kids.

Elisa Contemporary Art is located at 5622 Mosholu Avenue (near 256th Street/Riverdale Library), Riverdale NY.
Gallery Hours: Friday/Saturday 10am – 6pm; And by Appointment.

What: Emerged – A Summer Group exhibit of Five Local Emerging Artists
When: June 18th – September 12th, 2010 
Opening Reception: Wednesday, June 23rd from 6-8 pm
Closing Reception: Tuesday, September 7th from 6-8pm
Where: Elisa Contemporary Art Gallery, 5622 Mosholu Avenue, Riverdale NY

For more information, please visit our website at