Conversations with Icons

I had a career as an art curator for about 4 years. I enjoyed my time helping up-and-coming artists find their way through the art world by providing them with venues and advice to help them move forward. I relied on them as much as they relied on me because without them I had no shows. Also, without me and my team, they wouldn’t have had a venue and exposure at the time. We needed each other to succeed and show the world that we are made of more than just acrylic and canvas. We had what it takes to succeed among the professionals and traditionalists.

In 2009, I had a brief conversation with Shepard Fairey of OBEY Giant fame when we both attended the art show “F**k You All.” The show featured photographs by Glen E. Friedman. Friedman was famous for being the photographer for the early days of skateboarding in the 1970s. Fairey was in attendance because they were showcasing his and Friedman’s collaborative art pieces.

As the wide-eyed, bushy-tailed art curator that I was at the time, I asked him many tips about the curating role. In a way, I wanted him to know that I was a curator. It was my humble brag of sorts.

In a conversation with Fairey, I asked him specifics about the relationship between artist and curator.

“What does an artist of your caliber expect from art curators in the industry?” I said.

“Make sure you pay them on time.” Fairey chuckled. “Treat them well and make sure you’re on schedule.”

Ever since then, I’ve always felt a sense of urgency when it comes to anything related to my time and punctuality. Also, the fact that he was very candid and up-front about many things helped me become a better curator during my time in that role.

To be the best, you have to hang with the best.