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Q & A - Irak­lis Gate­nadze (Sym­bol­ico)

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How do you think the art in­dus­try can im­prove, adapt or grow dur­ing these times?

In the mod­ern era of tech­no­log­i­cal and cul­tural in­no­va­tions, the art in­dus­try was left be­hind. Since the time of Leonardo Da Vinci and the Mona Lisa phe­nom­e­non, the art in­dus­try has seen lit­tle change in the way its oper­a­tions are con­ducted.

Such busi­ness mod­els are a hin­drance to what makes the in­dus­try special: the dis­cov­ery of unique artists. The in­dus­try needs a new per­spec­tive which will put artis­tic ca­pa­bil­ity above per­sonal con­nec­tions and en­cour­age unique tal­ents to rise up to the top of the in­dus­try. How can this be achieved? By open­ing the doors and lib­er­al­is­ing mar­ket con­di­tions to suit the abil­i­ties of all artists try­ing to sell their work. As a re­sult, the in­dus­try would wit­ness a surge in a more di­verse range of artists who ex­cel in their prac­tice – they are able to ded­i­cate their time fully to cre­at­ing mas­ter­pieces, in­stead of spend­ing time net­work­ing and build­ing con­nec­tions from scratch.

This is ex­actly what Sym­bol­ico hopes to achieve – pro­vid­ing guid­ance to emerg­ing artists, im­prov­ing their pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tion and sim­pli­fy­ing the process of gain­ing recog­ni­tion. We aim to make the in­dus­try more ap­proach­able to artists by chal­leng­ing out­dated con­ven­tions and break­ing down pre-ex­ist­ing bar­ri­ers which have long dic­tated the art world.

What in­spired the cre­ation of Sym­bol­ico?

Since start­ing out in the art world, we have wit­nessed ex­cep­tional tal­ents un­able to nav­i­gate the hi­er­ar­chi­cal world of art busi­ness due to its overly com­pli­cated na­ture. An artist can lose their cre­ativ­ity when putting their ef­fort into a mo­not­o­nous job of data gath­er­ing and find­ing in­dus­try con­nec­tions. They can also feel dis­cour­aged by con­stant re­fusal of their paint­ings by art gal­leries – not be­cause their paint­ings are not ex­cep­tional but be­cause of the com­plex na­ture of the in­dus­try. We are there­fore here to up­date mar­ket con­di­tions and even­tu­ally change this.

The idea was born when emerg­ing artists started to ap­proach our sis­ter com­pany, Gam­mas Art Gallery, which spe­cial­izes in Ti­betan art (and does not work with mod­ern con­tem­po­rary artists). Nev­er­the­less, the artists were hop­ing we could help them find the right in­dus­try con­nec­tions due to our rep­u­ta­tion in the in­dus­try.

As a re­sult, we re­al­ized the need to en­cour­age hun­dreds of emerg­ing artists to ex­press them­selves and lend them a help­ing hand to reach a vast au­di­ence of col­lec­tors, cor­po­rate clients and in­dus­try ex­perts.

Thus, was born – Sym­bol­ico Art Agency & Con­sul­tancy. Since then, Sym­bol­ico has be­come a global player in the art in­dus­try, over­see­ing in­ter­na­tional oper­a­tions from the cap­i­tal of art busi­ness in Berke­ley Square, Lon­don.

How do you sup­port up and com­ing artists to reach their goals?

We of­fer our ser­vices to artists through the choice of three dif­fer­ent pack­ages, tai­lored to­wards their pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence and the cur­rent as­pi­ra­tions.

The sim­plest pack­age, and which is the most value-for­money, of­fers ex­clu­sive ser­vices aimed at lib­er­al­is­ing the art in­dus­try and open­ing the doors to in­creased sales. We match each artist’s re­quire­ments with spe­cific selec­tion cri­te­ria of our global art net­work con­sist­ing of thou­sands of art gallery own­ers, mu­seum cu­ra­tors and in­te­rior de­sign­ers.

Our sec­ond pack­age has all the ben­e­fits of its sim­pler coun­ter­part, plus the added ad­van­tage of a chance to be in­tro­duced to the most soughtafte­r pri­vate col­lec­tors and art deal­ers. In ad­di­tion, we com­mit to sourc­ing gov­ern­ment grants and art com­pe­ti­tions for our artists to en­ter into. On top of this, we as­sist artists get pub­lished in lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional mag­a­zines to help in­crease their pro­fes­sional ac­claim.

The third pack­age con­sists of ev­ery­thing from the first two and much more. We help artists to or­ga­nize their strat­egy plan­ning to max­i­mize the ef­fec­tive­ness of the ef­forts we put in. We also at­tend art ex­hibits and events in the cap­i­tal of art busi­ness – Lon­don, on be­half of an artist to pro­mote their works and in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion.

Please de­scribe the di­verse sides of your net­work and how they can con­trib­ute to sup­port Sym­bol­ico artists in dif­fer­ent ways.

We have spent thou­sands of hours gath­er­ing data and li­ais­ing with in­dus­try con­tacts so that our artists do not need to waste time scrupu­lously search­ing through on­line data­bases and net­work­ing plat­forms. More­over, in­dus­try ex­perts, such as art col­lec­tors, deal­ers and gal­leries, do not typ­i­cally en­cour­age a di­rect ap­proach. This cre­ates a vi­cious cy­cle in which even the most ex­pe­ri­enced artists are un­able to find a way into the in­dus­try due to its overly com­plex na­ture. Sym­bol­ico in­tends to break this un­just cy­cle and sim­plify the process of dis­cov­er­ing artis­tic tal­ent through our art agency divi­sion. Com­bined with our expert knowl­edge of the art in­dus­try as a whole, and our un­der­stand­ing of what makes an artist’s port­fo­lio stand out, we are able to fast-track our artist’s ca­reers and ex­pand their po­ten­tial.

Sim­i­larly, we pro­vide ex­per­tise in the mod­ern art mar­ket to trade clients from around the world through our art con­sul­tancy branch. Open­ing up this branch of­fers us a chance to di­rectly pro­mote artists un­der our man­age­ment to var­i­ous buyers glob­ally. The com­bi­na­tion of agency and con­sul­tancy branches cre­ates a pow­er­ful force in the art in­dus­try, and ul­ti­mately helps us to ful­fil our main goal – to lib­er­al­ize mar­ket con­di­tions and pri­or­i­tize tal­ent be­fore con­nec­tions.

Per­son­ally, do you have any ad­vice or thoughts to share for pro­fes­sional or am­a­teur artists who are fac­ing chal­lenges due to the Covid-19 pan­demic?

En­ter­ing the art in­dus­try was no easy task even be­fore the pan­demic, and it has cer­tainly be­come even more com­plex now. The art mar­ket has long been built on a very elit­ist and tra­di­tional model, one that is dif­fi­cult to ac­cess and even harder to en­dure. Con­se­quen­tialy, the in­dus­try will have a hard time cop­ing with the chal­lenges brought for­ward by the pan­demic, such as be­ing un­able to ex­hibit artist’s works in the gal­leries and meet po­ten­tial buyers while at­tend­ing art events.

It is thus of para­mount im­por­tance that artists ef­fec­tively use the tools they have at hand to find their way through the art in­dus­try. One way of do­ing this is to find en­thu­si­as­tic peo­ple who are will­ing to sup­port you and help you re­al­ize your dream ca­reer-goals.

At Sym­bol­ico we care about nur­tur­ing promis­ing artists from var­i­ous back­grounds, and en­cour­age in­di­vid­u­als to flourish through­out their jour­ney with us. We be­lieve art is and should be for all, hence we are chang­ing the foun­da­tions of the art in­dus­try and adapt­ing to the fast-chang­ing new re­al­i­ties of do­ing busi­ness. We give promis­ing artists a chance to get no­ticed and be­come es­tab­lished in­ter­na­tion­ally, and hope to change the lives of these tal­ented in­di­vid­u­als for the bet­ter.

Fi­nal thoughts

Based at Berke­ley Square, Lon­don, Sym­bol­ico helps emerg­ing artists widen their networks and so­lid­ify their rep­u­ta­tion. Hav­ing shared some vi­brant pieces by artist Loredana Lupu here, Sym­bol­ico looks to con­tinue to sup­port artists to pro­fes­sion­ally flourish. The founder, Irak­lis, be­lieves that the art in­dus­try has not changed enough in mod­ern times to al­low new tal­ent to thrive. Mod­ern busi­ness mod­els may stunt the cre­ativ­ity of artists or dis­cour­age them.

This is why Irak­lis founded Sym­bol­ico - to sup­port emerg­ing artists with build­ing their port­fo­lios and rep­u­ta­tion. Be­ing deeply ex­pe­ri­enced as a col­lec­tor of fine Ti­betan art at Gam­mas Art Gallery, Irak­lis started Sym­bol­ico to sup­port artists to nav­i­gate the com­plex world of the art in­dus­try and broaden their con­nec­tions to art gallery own­ers, deal­ers and wide au­di­ences.

 ?? © Loredana Lupu. All rights re­served. ?? Be­low: ‘ At­lachi­noli’ - acrylic and oil pas­tel on can­vas.
© Loredana Lupu. All rights re­served. Be­low: ‘ At­lachi­noli’ - acrylic and oil pas­tel on can­vas.
 ?? © Loredana Lupu. All rights re­served. ?? Be­low: ‘Svad­hyaya’ - acrylic and ink on can­vas.
© Loredana Lupu. All rights re­served. Be­low: ‘Svad­hyaya’ - acrylic and ink on can­vas.

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