Welcome to our ongoing Q&A feature, where we introduce a member of the Artfinder team to our community. This time, we speak with Helen, our Curator & Visual Merchandiser.
Q: Could you start by introducing yourself to our community?
Hello, I'm Helen! I've recently moved out to Somerset after 15 years living and working in Hackney, London. During my career I've worked as a Creative Producer, Gallery Manager, Art Consultant and Curator and have been lucky enough to live my life surrounded by talented artists and lots of creativity.
Q: How long have you worked with Artfinder and what is your role in the company?
I've been with Artfinder since the beginning of 2021 and I'm Curator & Visual Merchandiser. My job is to know our artists and artworks inside out, create content and collections for our website, help our customers discover art they'll love and look after our trade accounts. I also find and select artists for Artfinder to work with, ensuring that we always have the best talent from around the world!
Q: What have been your highlights of working with Artfinder so far?
Grad Week - every year it's the most exciting time for me, discovering and meeting the next wave of emerging artists. Having worked in the arts for as long as I have, I know many artists whose careers I've seen evolve from graduates to established artists and watching them flourish just warms my heart! Beyond that, just seeing the (probably thousands) of artworks every day that have been created by our community still excites me every day when I spot something that really stands out.
Q: Do you come from a creative background? Do you engage in creative activities yourself?
Yes, I loved art ever since I was a kid and it was pretty much the only thing I enjoyed at school. I studied various arts at A Level then did my degree in Photography, but soon realised I didn't actually want to be an artist myself. Ever since I left Uni, all of my roles have been around supporting artists, selling their work and curating exhibitions and I love it, it is my true calling in life! I don't create much myself anymore but would probably be a sculptor if I did decide to.
Q: What does working for a B Corp mean to you?
It is everything to me and definitely what drew me to working at Artfinder. There are so many companies out there that pretend to be ethical and to genuinely care about artists, when really they just treat art as a commodity and the people that work for them as a number on a spreadsheet. Artfinder genuinely DOES care, and has the certification to prove it! As part of my personal mission I want to help artists sell their work and for collectors to find art that enriches their lives, so for me Artfinder's mission aligned with my values perfectly.
Q: What do you like doing in your spare time?
Everyone that knows me knows that I am utterly obsessed with animals, I have a little cat, Etta, who is regularly on our work calls and we basically spend most of our time playing or cuddling, she is just everything really. Since we moved to Somerset, my partner and I are addicted to walking and exploring the countryside. It is no secret that I love a pub as well, so there always has to be a pub at the end of the walk. I'm also a bit of a fitness freak, so I do a lot of different types of exercise but my favourites are yoga, weight lifting and dancing.
I strive to live a life full of adventure and I've been lucky enough to travel extensively throughout the world and have also backpacked alone through lots of the USA, Latin America, South East Asia and Europe. Lastly, I'm an adrenaline junkie so I also ride motorbikes and enjoy scuba diving, skydiving and jumping off high things whenever I get the opportunity!
Q: How have you been coping with the recent Covid situation and do you have any words of advice for anyone who is not coping well with it?
Not incredibly well to be honest, so I'm probably not the best person to give advice ha! I had a very traumatic 2019 so I went into 2020 thinking 'this is going to be my year!'...
The very first lockdown, I had actually just met my partner (now fiance!) so we had a bit of a lockdown love story and spent three blissful sunny months in the Welsh countryside, both of us furloughed. As with anything, the novelty soon wore off though and I had a lot of other external stressors along with the Covid situation, so my mental health started to really suffer after it all dragged on for months and months. I think I found the lack of travel particularly difficult. I'm on the mend now so don't worry, and my only advice really would be don't be afraid to ask for help and to remember how many people out there love you.
Q: If you could take only three items with you to a desert island, what would they be?
A lifetime's supply of sparkling wine. Some sort of solar-powered sound system - can't live without music. A boat so I could leave and come back with some friends and my cat :-)
Q: Finally, do you have any message for our community?
Just that I have a lot of respect for you all, I really appreciate how tough it is being an artist and I love seeing your work every day so keep doing what you do!