Are you an artist yourself as well as a curator?
No, I’m an art dealer. My interest has always been on creating platforms for artists to show their work. My role is really to be on the business side so artists don’t have to talk about their work from a monetary perspective. I’m more of the in-between role for the artist and the buyer. I help establish specific markets for the artists’ work so their energy and focus can be based in the work itself. At the same time, I also have to work with people and make them feel comfortable buying art so that they know that the inherent value and what they are spending are being maintained and appreciated. It’s a balance of both roles. My priority is always the artist though.
How did you first start your own gallery?
I did my first art show when I was 20 years old. I was already promoting, having parties, and bringing like-minded young people together at that time in my life. Out east, people were always complaining that there was nothing going on in the off season, but I always knew that it was just because no one was making anything happen or putting fun things together. A lot of my good friends were artists, so it just sort of naturally came together. That first show I put together with my good friend James Cruickshank, and it opened Thanksgiving weekend at a new local gallery—a group show that featured four artists I had met from all different walks of life. It went really well, so the next year I did it again, but threw it at my own space, which was a barn I rented in Bridgehampton, and it all snowballed from there. I started taking it a little bit more seriously after I hosted a solo show for a Puerto Rican artist named Félix Bonilla Gerena who I brought up here. To see how having a show in the Hamptons really affected his career and what it meant to him personally was really inspiring for me. Shortly after that experience, I opened my own gallery.
What have been some of the biggest challenges in you having your own gallery?
Delegating is a big one. Understanding that you physically can’t do everything. Letting go of responsibilities after doing things myself for so long has been difficult. Paying for everything is also a constant challenge, and not letting the money get in the way of organic growth. We often get in our own way, letting things like monetary restrictions dictate how we operate and work toward our goals. Once you have a vision, the universe kind of facilitates that reality to happen.
On the flipside, what have been your greatest joys and successes so far?
Just seeing that happiness and joy in an artist’s eyes after we do a big show together. Knowing that I helped them achieve their vision is super rewarding.
What are your favorite parts about the area in which you live?
Definitely nature. From the ocean to the woods, to the bays—clear skies. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by so much natural beauty out here. But ultimately it’s home. It’s where I’m from, it’s where I was born, and there is a lot of pride I feel for this place. There is deep, rich history here. This is sacred Native American land and there is definitely still some of that magic here today. It’s so important that we remember them and re- spect and give back to the Shinnecock Reservation and its people. There is enormous art history in this area and I want to add to it and be a part of that history. Furthermore, on a perfect day, you can have an art show and catch some world-class waves! I’m five minutes from the beach here, so that is a huge bonus for me.