LA Event Panel Discussion – insight into becoming an international artist

Writen by Debut Contemporary blog (original article here) Film of discussion coming soon.

On September 2nd 2011 selected artworks by thirteen exciting emerging artists representing the UK were revealed to LA. The artworks featured in a brand new art event called Flag Stop alongside some of LA’s leading artists, curators and art industry heavyweights. The UK collective: The London Art Box (LAB) was curated by Samir Ceric from London’s Debut Contemporary Gallery in collaboration with three artists from Debut: Nicola Anthony, Abigail Box and Kimi Wylde and Flag Stop’s Ryan Noble.

Yesterday evening saw the first panel discussion from the Flagstop event in LA. The panel included Debut Artist and UK Ambassador Nicola Anthony, Debut’s Founder & Director, Samir Ceric and Ben Austin from Fluff PR. We also had LA’s foremost curator and art visionary William Moreno and Debut Artist & USA Ambassador Ryan Noble in via Skype from LA!

William Moreno is principal of a Los Angeles -based art advisory and curatorial practice – William Moreno Contemporary. He was most recently the Associate Director of *ArtPadSF *– a contemporary art fair launched at San Francisco’s famed Phoenix Hotel in 2011.
William was the founding Executive Director of the Claremont Museum of Art, Claremont, California and also served as the Executive Director of The Mexican Museum, San Francisco. He has experience as the Director of a commercial gallery Director. A featured speaker at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, the American Institute of Architecture he has appeared on PBS station KCET, as well as other television and radio shows. He is an Advisory Board member of the California Association of Museums and Board Vice President of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE). William has reviewed thousands of artists’ portfolios and possesses unique insights and perspectives gleaned from his work in the alternative space, commercial gallery and museum milieus.

Ben Austin literally grew up in the art business, having learnt the trade from his mother, Mrs Gillian Catto one time owner of the Catto Gallery in Hampstead. He also has a practical experience in art, having taken the art scholarship for this school. After curating a few shows at his mother’s gallery, Ben went on to set up an art for offices and business venture called – CoporateCatto and the success of that lead to the creation of Catto Contemporary in Shoreditch – which quickly established itself as one of the leading galleries in the area. The gallery staged over 12 exhibitions per year and developed a database of over 4,000 and a client base of nearly 300 customers. The gallery took part in Art Fairs both in the UK and aboard). Catto Contemporary received a huge amount of publicity on nearly every exhibition, with features in magazines such as The Face, Arena, I-D, Blueprint, Vogue, Wallpaper and reviews in the weekend colour supplements as well as numerous reviews national newspapers. The gallery was the first commercial space to showcase urban artists such as Banksy and Anthony Micallef, together in a seminal exhibition entitled, ‘Perverse Pop’.

Ben is also a curator, having staged ‘Light Divided’ at the Blouin Institute as part of the ‘Art after Dark’ series in 2008. The show was critically very well received and featured some of the most exciting emerging artists currently around, including Alice Anderson, Nathaniel Rackowe and Justin Coombes. More recently he curated – ‘Unnatural Selection’ at Londonewcastle Project Space in June 2010. In 2007 for the preview evening of the Frieze Art Fair, Ben staged the highly acclaimed exhibition and art party – ‘Decadence, Decay and the Demimonde’ at Home House, 20 Portman Square. The main sponsors were Tanqueray, Hiscox and Bentley. The Saatchi Gallery loaned three major pieces for the show. The event was described as the Vanity Fair – Oscar Party for the art world and was covered in The Times, The Guardian, Time Out, The Standard and featured in the FT – How to spend it magazine.
Ben is presently the owner and Director of Fluff PR – A small creative agency, promoting galleries/dealers, independent artists and fashion designers. Fluff also stages events and shows. Ben has worked for Art Review and is editor at large for FAD website.

The panel discussed topics such as how emerging artists are to equip themselves for changes in the gallery model and how emerging artists can best reach curators and collectors in an international market.

The collective joint efforts from Ceric, the artists and Noble are what created these opportunities for the LAB artists, including sponsorships ensuring Nicola and Abigail’s successful representation of the LAB group. This in turn has opened up opportunities for other UK Debut artists who may be selected for future US based projects.

The LAB artists are: Vikram Kushwah • Chantal Powell • Tinsel Edwards • Nicola Anthony • Sylvia Morgado
• Kimi Wylde • Abigail Box • Darren MacPherson • Katrina James • Robert West • Twinkle Troughton •
Carlos Martyn Burgos • Azadeh Fatehrad


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