Interview with Natal Vallve, co-founder and director of the Global Art Agency, also know as GAA : the international art plateforme that organise big art events such as the Amsterdam International Art Fair at de Beurs van Berlage, Barcelona Int’l Art Fair at Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, Vienna Showcase at the Palace of Schonborn, and the Oxford International Art Fair.
Hi Natal, can you introduce yourself and tell us about your background ?
Hi Kingz magazine. I’m the Co-Founder and Director of the Global Art Agency (GAA). I was born in Barcelona and grew up with skateboarding, Basquiat and Gaudi, music, graffity, and surfing. After playing in a music band called Aina, winning the Laus Awards, founding The Artboards skateboard company and living in New York, Nepal, Costa Rica and London, i finished my studies in the University of Barcelona Pompeu
Fabra. I also studied in the Sothesby’s Insitute of Art in London.
Many of my skater and surfer friends were also artists so i enjoyed helping them organize their first exhibitions in small bars and galleries in Barcelona and New York. in 2010 i organized my first international art fair in Barcelona at the Casa Batlló. More than 120 exhibitors from more than 35 countries exhibited in the architectural jewel of Antoni Gaudi. On a christmas day in Barcelona i met dutch entrepeneur Joëlle Dinnage.
We shared the same ideas in the art world and same philosophy, so we founded together the Global Art Agency. We have already organized more than 20 international art fairs around the world.
I have worked with artists such as Mr. Brainwash in the 21st Century Department Store mural in New York, and this year we are commissioning spaces in the UAE with street art.
Can you introduce GAA LTD ?
GAA is an art platform for artists and galleries, and an art organization specialized in contemporary art event management, art promotions and art book publishing. We have offices in London and Dubai and we continue to be the leader of large global art events in cities such as Tokyo, Miami, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Vienna, Rotterdam, and Oxford… with many other cities to join shortly.
We provide an all-round art network for artists, galleries, collectors and organizations. We offer international exhibition opportunities, the GAA also provides promotion and advertising channels, artist memberships, collectors association, online art gallery, art news portal, charity art auctions, and art book publishing. We also hold charity projects at orphanages in Africa and Nepal, offering kids art material, art classes, clothes, food, street art workshops, ….
As an international contemporary art figure, can you tell us how is the art market today ?
The art market is now leveling out after a 5 year boom. The global art market in 2014 broke all existing records, raked in over $55 billion U.S.—an all-time high (dominated by the three major art markets of the US , China and the UK) . Last year “Les Femmes d’Alger” by Pablo Picasso was sold for $180 million in Christies New York. So we can say that the art market nowadays is in an excellent situation. Most part of the sales happen in international art fairs and in the art auctions houses.
Contemporary art is always a niche of investment ?
Not always. First you can choose if you want to collect art as an investment or as a passion. If you wish to invest in art you must know very good what you are doing. With Contemporary Art the risk is bigger but the benefit if you succeed is bigger too. With Old Masters and Impressionist & Modern art probably your investment will keep safe and have the chance to win a benefit. The risk is low, thats why the commissions are also low. With Contemporary art the risk and commissions are high. For example, Damien Hirst’s average price at auction fell from $830,000 in 2008 to $135,000 in 2010. And nowadays has gone more down. In 2007, “The Golden Calif” was trading 60% higher than in 2013 and would have sold for almost $4 million. In 2013 “The Golden Call” would be worth around $2 million. It’s very important to understand the art market.
You’re at the second edition of the Tokyo International Art Fair. Why Tokyo ?
The first edition was a great success. We had a great selection of international and local exhibitors and more than 7000 visitors. Tokyo is a fabulous city with fabulous people and with a very high art culture and art education. Japanese people are very sensitive to art, design and handmade work. Japanese art has always been very relevant in the art history, since the Jomon art in the beginnings, through Kano Eitoku and the Edo period, till Guita art and Contemporary art. Many of the best contemporary artists nowadays are japanese, like Aida Makoto, Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama, Keiichi Tanaami, Koji Ishikawa, Mariko Mori, … and two of my favorite contemporary artists : Kimiyo Mishima and Tashiro Shinichi. All this history, background, education and culture makes Tokyo and the japanese people the perfect place to exhibit art.
Tokyo has become a hub of contemporary art today. Why in your opinion ?
The contemporary art scene of a city always starts with a very good representation of local contemporary artists. Japan always and especially nowadays has a big amount of very good contemporary artists, established and emergent. Together with the good work made by the Museums, Institutions, Art Fairs, Art Galleries and schools, and that japanese people are so sensitive to art, has made of Tokyo a very important hub of contemporary art in the world.
Japan has given the world great artists as Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, and many others. Are the Japanese also receptive and sensitive to international contemporary art?
Yes they are. They are very receptive to international art, and are always interested to find out new cultures, works, languages, concepts, … Even japanese have some of the best contemporary artists they are also very sensitive to other art from other countries. Our international exhibitors booths are always very crowded and many international exhibitors sold out at the Tokyo International Art Fair last year.
How many artists are exhibiting in this edition of Tokyo International Art Fair 2016?
More than 150 artists from around 40 countries. A very good opportunity to enjoy a big variety of contemporary art in the heart of Tokyo.
At the Tokyo International Art Fair you choose to expose the artists directly.
Can you explain this approach?
Their is a selection process to exhibit in our art fairs. A selection committee formed by professionals curators makes a selection of the works that will be exhibited. Unfortunately we can’t exhibit all the artists that we like due we receive a big amount of applications and the availability is limited.
Tokyo International Art Fair will take place on 13 and 14 May. 2 days, it’s not short for such an important show?
We think that 2-3 days are enough. It’s better for the visitors and the exhibitors to concentrate all the interest and work in the best days of the week. Tokyo International Art Fair will also hold the Global Art Awards and an after party with all the exhibitors and art enthusiasts.
You are present in Barcelona, Miami, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Oxford, Vienna and Rotterdam. Other cities in project ?
Yes we have new cities on mind and we are already working in future events in Asia and the Middle East. We are part of the art scene of many cities and we want to continue helping building the art scene in new cities! Very soon we will announce new cities!
Thank you Natal.