Published in Velvenoir, 16 April 2017
Velvenoir: Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion for art?
Ariane Belisle: I started my academic career as a business major. After my first year at university, I enrolled in a summer course entitled “From Pollock to Pop” at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London. I remember visiting Tate Modern for the first time; Cy Twombly’s Quattro Stagioni (1993-1995) was on display. Standing in front of those paintings, everything suddenly clicked. That’s when I decided to follow my passion for art and pursue a career within this field. When I returned to Canada, I immediately changed my major to History and Theory of Art. It’s funny to think how much those four paintings changed the course of my life.
V: How important is nurturing that personal relationship with the artists you work with?
AB: Working directly with artists is one of the most interesting aspects of my job. I love seeing their artistic practice develop over the years and ensuring my artists are receiving the coverage and attention they deserve. It’s also incredibly rewarding to place an artist’s work within a private or corporate collection, or institution. You suddenly become part of something so much bigger than yourself.
V: Can you tell us about the process of curating your clients’ projects?
AB: Each client is so different. Established collectors tend to be more transactional; most have a clear idea of the direction they want the collection to go in. So much of my knowledge stems from working directly with these individuals. In these instances, I become instrumental to their vision, an enabler of sorts. Emerging collectors, on the other hand, tend to favor a more dialogical approach.
V: If you could be born in another period of history, when would it be?
AB: New York in the 1940s. Abstract Expressionism is my favorite art period and I would have loved to mingle with the pioneers of this movement.
V: What do you think of the art fairs, which one do you prefer?
AB: My favorite art fair is Masterpiece in Chelsea. Perhaps not the most obvious choice but I like the variety of it. Old-master paintings, antiquities, contemporary art and design rub shoulders with exquisite jewelry, first edition manuscripts and curiosities. You can even find love, as evidenced by my 2015 visit!
V: What is your daily routine when working?
AB: Every day is different. Today, I had a call with an interior design firm in the Middle East. Visited an artist’s studio in north London. Whizzed around the gallery exhibitions in Mayfair before having lunch with a client at the Connaught. Met with the owner of a design showroom about a possible collaboration with Velvenoir. Had a few calls with artists in NY and LA. And finally had dinner with my dear friend and PR manager in Kensington.
V: What has been your most inspiring hotel experience with regards to an outstanding art and design concept?
AB: The London EDITION in Fitzrovia
V: What advice would you give to a young art consultant following in your footsteps?
AB: Only deal art that you truly believe in and would consider buying yourself.
V: Why did you join an international network?
AB: Art and interior design are such subjective fields. A collaborative approach to projects ensures that we can always deliver a multi-faceted proposal.