Last year when I decided to start this blog part of the thinking was to explore subjects far beyond my customary area of knowledge, but of interest to me. Volunteering at my son’s school allows me to interact with folks from a variety of professional and personal backgrounds. Bottom line, I get to befriend a lot of interesting and intellectually engaging people. One of those engaging folks is Michelle Bishop Turkington. Turkington is one of the forces behind Chic-Evolution in Art, a business that helps clients to find art that best suits their respective needs. I could try to go into more detail about it, but I think Turkington explains things far more effectively, of course.
Tim O’Shea: When and why did Chic-Evolution In Art begin?
Michelle Bishop Turkington: The idea started about four years ago when the founder, Ivan Pitoni, fell in love with the work of the artist Chi-Om. It was a chance meeting when Chi-Om, a Brazilian contemporary painter, was visiting her daughter in California. They began plans to introduce Chi-Om’s work to the American audience. Soon after, he discovered Amanda Brisbane, a glass sculptor from England, and began efforts to bring her international glass art to the United States. With Ivan’s unique marketing prowess, and some internet sales and marketing experience, he decided to break with the traditional gallery venue, and to offer more affordable fine art with higher personal service. The art comes to you. If you need a fine piece of art, you don’t have to hit the streets, going gallery to gallery, with impersonal service, to find just the right piece. You have a team of experts to help in your selections. So far, it has been very well accepted by designers, architects, and the art community. Along with the web site, which clearly displays the art in high quality images, Chic-art has regional sales offices in California, Denver, Memphis, Miami, and now the newest one in Atlanta for added personal service.
O’Shea: What was it about Chi-Om’s and Amanda Brisbane’s work that made them ideal for Chic-Evolution In Art?
Turkington: We sell only what we’d have in our own home. Amanda’s glass sculptures are so unique and a perfect compliment to the contemporary paintings of Chi-Om. Chic-Evolution in Art is the essence of the art. Elegant, beautiful, and chic. These artists are truly special because the can do small or large scale projects, by producing unique art in style groups, which fits well with large architectural projects, where an upscale yet unified look is desired. We started with two only artists on the web site. Today, we’ve grown and represent many artists. Chic-Evolution in Art is always open to new talents that are compatible with our style and philosophy. It’s a great way for an artist to gain visibility.
O’Shea: Given that you (Turkington) are based out of Atlanta and the artists are abroad, how challenging is it to import the art to your domestic clients?
Turkington: Ivan is of Brazilian and Italian descent and frequently makes international buying trips. His background in professional sports (Brazilian Volleyball Champion) has given him a lot of international travel experience. His knowledge and familiarity with multiple cultures allows him to discover unknown artists in remote places. At times, he has commissioned the artist to paint here in the United States for special projects. Chic-Evolution in Art has systems in place to deal with what can be complicated international customs procedures. Extra care is given to crating and packing the work, so it is not damaged in shipment.
O’Shea: Are your clients typically U.S.-based, or do you have clients worldwide?
Turkington: Our clients are primarily in the United States but Ivan also deals with clients in South America (he’s tri-lingual). Using the internet, our reach is worldwide but our primary focus is here in the United States. Our most famous client here in the states is Nicholas Cage.
O’Shea: When a client comes to you seeking advice, what criteria is involved–do they come to you seeking a certain piece, or do you help assess the home or office (or other location) to see what kind of piece might best be featured in that environ?
Turkington: It’s a cooperative effort. Most often we recommend a piece or style for a project. This can be a trial and error process where the right fit evolves. We do custom pieces, so we can look at the design concept and come up with recommendation and prototypes. We also function as a cyber gallery, where designers can shop for their own projects.
O’Shea: What kind of training or experience does it take to be in a business like Chic-Evolution In Art?
Turkington: We love what we do and the art sells itself. You need to have an appreciation of art and design, a good attitude, knowledge about the industry, and an outgoing personality. Ivan Pitoni has an international marketing and design background.
O’Shea: What do you think makes Chic-Evolution in Art unique in the industry?
Turkington: The most unique aspect of the company, besides the original art, is the cyber nature of the company. The online gallery, which can be viewed at www. chic-art.net, breaks with tradition and allows access to fine art with out the tremendous overhead expense of operating a large gallery. Also, Chic-Evolution in Art has the ability to present art in a non-traditional manner, without a gallery which can be intimidating. You can view the art in your own home or business. We offer much higher personal service. Anyone wanting to contact the Atlanta office, can email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to the opportunity to grow in our newest Atlanta market.