Artsy, the global platform for discovering and collecting art, announced its brand-new collaboration with the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series. Artsy is teaming up with Bombay Sapphire on its 8th Annual BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series, a nationwide search to uncover emerging artists. Check out last year’s winner.


Each year, a handful of finalists are selected from thousands of online submissions and local gallery events to showcase their works in front of the world’s top art critics and buyers during Art Basel Miami at the SCOPE Miami Beach Art Show. The winner will be awarded the opportunity to collaborate with Artsy on a large-scale public art installation in New York City next spring.


We caught up with Artsy Curator Elena Soboleva to discuss the exciting partnership, her curatorial direction and tips for Art Basel newbies.



Art Zealous: How did you come to your role at Artsy? What were you doing before joining?

Elena Soboleva: When I first joined Artsy in 2013 in the early stages of the company, I worked on a variety of projects and initiatives including global collector program and the development of our gallery newsletter, providing insights about art and technology. Before joining Artsy, I wrote about the art market and worked at Christie’s, Georgia Scherman Projects in Toronto, and Jack Shainman Gallery in New York.


AZ: What does a typical day look like for you?

ES: My days are never the same! I am traveling a lot and while some days are at the office, others are in the studios of the artists I work with.


Today started off with breakfast in my favourite matcha bakery in Soho with the artists who will be in the Miami project I am curating this December. We talked through all the details of their performance—from props to lighting. Then I dashed to the Artsy office at Broadway and Canal, where the soaring views of the city inspire me every day. Meetings with our curatorial and events teams filled my midday, as we are planning the Bombay Artisan Series awards finale.  Later, I ran to meet a gallery director uptown. My night ends with drinks and dancing in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Marian Goodman, a legendary New York gallery.


AZ: How would you describe your curatorial direction?

ES: Focused on the artists. While I have tendencies that attract me to an artist’s practice—which includes a strong understanding of material, conceptual rigor, and a profound awareness of art history and how it contextualizes their work—ultimately, my role is to give artists a platform to have their vision brought to life. They lead the direction, and I support them and help guide and distill their message.


AZ: How did the Artsy x BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series come to fruition?

ES: Artsy was founded with the mission to make art accessible by creating a platform for learning about, buying, and selling art. Similar to our core values, the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series is an annual arts competition dedicated to fostering and championing the talent of up-and-coming artists. By partnering with the Artisan Series for their 8th annual competition, we hope to push creativity to new boundaries in this year’s program.


2016 Photo Artisan Series Finale, courtesy of Bombay Sapphire


AZ: Why is this an important partnership to Artsy?

ES: Artsy’s partnership with the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series is important because of the program’s dedication to providing artists an international platform to showcase their work. We hope to further propel this momentum by collaborating with the winner of this year’s competition on a public installation in New York next spring to bring their creative vision to life on a national scale.


AZ: Do you have any tips for someone who’s never been to Art Basel?

ES: Embrace all opportunities, and it will land you in some amazing places. Bring a friend who has all the party invites. Make sure to take time and dip in the ocean. Keep your eyes out for more information about this year’s Artsy Project in Miami, and come check it out!


AZ: The winner will be awarded the opportunity to collaborate with Artsy on a large-scale public art installation, do you have any advice for the artists in the running?

ES: I’m excited to see the ideas they bring. My advice would be to think outside their comfort zone since this will be a real chance to try something completely new.


AZ :Are there any current or upcoming exhibits or events you’d recommend we check out?

ES: Rachel Rossin at Signal Gallery. Thomas Hirschhorn at Gladstone. Kate Shepard at 56 Henry. Yayoi Kusama at David Zwirner.


AZ: How can we stay in touch? 

ES: @elenasoboleva on Instagram


top image // Elena Soboleva, courtesy of Gesi Schilling