AWAD is pleased to welcome new London Chapter member Julia Bell. Her gallery, Parapluie was founded in 2017. Her specializations are Modern and Contemporary Art with a particular interest in emerging artists and galleries.
What’s your professional background?
I’ve worked in the UK art and cultural sector for over 20 years. I was Curator at Middlesbrough Art Gallery (later MIMA) and Head of Partnerships at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the latter where I built partnerships with the artistic and business communities. I also ran a Business Collectors Network which brought together 10 companies to collectively build a collection over a number of years that on completion we donated the entire collection to a public institution. I have also intermittently provided art advisory services to clients as and when requested and worked as a Freelance Public Arts Consultant and Curatorial Advisor.
What inspired you to take the leap and start your own business?
I have always been drawn to collecting, through the positions I have held and also due to a personal interest in collecting art myself. I wanted to build a business that could offer a range of services that could connect a person to contemporary art whether they were new to the notion of contemporary art and collecting or were established collectors. Taking that first step into sourcing or commissioning art can be incredibly intimidating so I wanted to create a platform to help and also develop an additional set of services for the seasoned collector who was looking for a range of practical services to support their collecting.
What does your business offer, in terms of goods and services?
Parapluie offers a range of services that clients can access – Art Advisory: Buying and Selling Artwork on behalf of clients both privately and at auction; Collections Management; Appraisal services; Guidance on Art and British Law; We also offer Art Programmes and advice to Companies wanting to develop collections. We also run a Members Club which through subscription provides individuals with access to events and international trips to art Fairs where they can gain an understanding of art and the art market.
What excites you about having joined the Association of Women Art Dealers?
I am incredibly excited to have been accepted into AWAD. From my previous experience in Partnership working, I have always valued the need for networking within the cultural sector that enable individuals to share knowledge, expertise and most importantly – just talk. Running a business can be a lonely place at times, often the competitive nature of the art market can make you feel that sharing intelligence might be detrimental to your business model. However, I truly believe that by being open, collaborative and supportive, we are all stronger as Business owners and just the opportunity to share successes, failures and ideas in the safe space that AWAD offers is invaluable.
What brings you joy in your work?
I really enjoy it when a Client buys their first work and they are absolutely thrilled with their first purchase. I always take my time with a client, nothing should feel forced and the whole experience of buying art should be a fun and exciting one so that when the receive the work its very much the icing on the cake and they have no regrets. That way you build trust and its really rewarding when they come back to me and they want to buy through me again.
If you were a work of art, what piece would you be (and why?!)?
I’ve recently fallen in love with a gorgeous work of art by British artist Clare Woods who is represented by Simon Lee Gallery. The kind of work that I yearn to own, one that I can’t forget. It’s called Nowhere Fast. It’s a beautiful work created this year – a view from a window yet there is no view just the feature of a window pane the exterior shutter and the brickwork and beyond, a dark quiet evening sky. It could be anywhere but it feels strangely familiar. It makes me think of when time feels like it has stopped, of window gazing and of a world outside that has so much to offer – both in terms of unknown excitement and trepidation. I’m a terrible day dreamer, I get my best thoughts when window gazing so whilst I wouldn’t be this work of art, it feels like the world I inhabit and so I felt a strong connection to it. It is also without doubt the one work that I feel really sums up the physically isolated world we are currently living in. I’d need to work very hard to own that one but I can keep dreaming!
Photo Credit: Christopher James Owen