Gita Joshi’s career in the art world can be described as nothing short of multidimensional. The London-based curator, podcast host, author and coach has built a following with her frank conversations with artists on her blog-turned-podcast, The Curator’s Salon.
Since the start of her blog, Gita has gone on to author ‘Show Your Art: How to Build an Art Career Without a Gallery’ which empowers emerging artists to build a platform online in order to sell their own art. She has also launched Artpreneur Affirmation cards.
Above all, Gita is a coach to artists looking to establish themselves and sell their art. Read her full interview with Art Zealous below!
Art Zealous: How did you start in the art world?
Gita Joshi: With an Art History degree, I began my working life at The Royal Fine Art Commission. After a career diversion in finance, I returned to study Curating at Central St Martins, this is where I first fell in love with the process and realised that I could have a real impact and have a fulfilling art career.
After studying at Central St Martins, I then did an art fair in Manchester; it was a great experience and made me realise that I love speaking to be people about art. Shortly after this, I then opened my gallery in Central London. Alongside this I was on the board for an arts charity where I produced artists’ open studio programmes & supported artists to promote themselves.
I also organised open exhibitions and have been a juror for a range of art competitions, curated many exhibitions and ultimately launched The Curators Salon.
AZ: Why did you want to become a curator?
GJ: I always thought – and was always taught – that to work within the arts sector, you had to work for a museum. However, once I’d started my curating programme, I began to realise that there were different options for me to create a career for myself in the art world, without being an artist. Being a curator meant that I could still have a creative outlet, and work with the artists that I wanted to work with.
A huge passion of mine has always been about showcasing artists who need a bigger audience. There is nothing I love more than empowering emerging artists and ensuring that they create a platform for themselves. Being a curator allows me to find these new names and bring them to the forefront, getting the recognition they deserve.
AZ: Why did you decide to launch The Curators Salon?
GJ: After opening my gallery in Central London, I was also on the board of Camberwell Arts, and I was meeting so many new people with such an array of experiences in this time. As a result, I wanted to create an outlet that enabled me to share these stories. This is where the blog and podcast came into place; it allowed me to compile these conversations, while at the same time enabling me to share my interests within the art world, as well as exhibitions I was visiting. The Curator’s Salon brought everything I was doing in the art world together, and also made space for me to launch my podcast.
AZ: What is your best advice for those wanting to make a career as an artist?
GJ: The best advice, I believe, is that you have to be your own best advocate. Self-confidence is something that a lot of people are lacking and is something that I always encourage when speaking to artists. It’s about being the best advocate of your work, but also of yourself – always be your own cheerleader, you get to validate yourself and your work first, before expecting others to buy into it.
There is also a section in my book, Show Your Art: How to Build an Art Career Without a Gallery, where I talk about ‘learning to be your own agent’. You have to believe in yourself and make great work, but you also have to ensure you don’t get fatigued by having to do your own marketing. Like many of those who are self-employed, you have to be your own everything: whether that’s marketing and promoting; or HR and operations. It’s hard work, but if you stay focused and believe in yourself you will get to where you want to be. Once you understand the roles within your art business it makes it easier to hire people to support you so you don’t have to be doing all the things yourself forever!
AZ: You’ve recently launched some affirmation cards; can you tell us more about them?
GJ: The Artpreneur affirmation cards had always been something I wanted to release, so I was so pleased to be able to launch them alongside Firefly Coaching at the end of last year. The cards have been created to inspire artists to step up and become the successful artist they aspire to be, but to also ensure that they stay focused, determined, and upbeat. In an industry like this, we experience a lot of rejection, so it’s easy to lose a positive mindset. However, these cards have been created to keep morale high, whether it be whilst creating a new piece in the studio, or when thinking about your career path. We’ve had some great feedback, so I’m glad to hear that it’s already been so beneficial to artists.
AZ: Do you have a favourite piece of artwork?
GJ: I would say that my favourite piece would have to be, Picasso’s ‘Still life with pitcher and apples’. However, I also very much enjoy Ben Nicholson’s ‘white relief’ works.
AZ: What are you currently working on?
GJ: I am currently working on a new interview series for The Curator’s Salon. I started the series last month and have already spoken with some fantastic artists. The series involves conversations with different artists from all over the world, from different backgrounds and art mediums – it’s been great to connect with them and to share their amazing pieces. I have a few more artists lined up to speak to and cannot wait to share them with you!
I am also getting ready to launch my new 12-week mentoring programme, which will be available to join in the spring. The programme will be consolidating the topics featured in my book and coaching classes and will offer artists access to an educational series, which comprises of coaching and accountability. It will also create a community for all of those in the same position, creating a space in which artists can help each other.
In the future, I am hoping to launch a membership within The Curator’s Salon community. It’s important that we keep a strong sense of community within the art world, especially in the times we are in now. Art is all about collaboration, and I think a lot of artists are feeling disconnected as they cannot visit each other’s exhibitions and studios. I hope to bring that collaboration and connection back, whilst also offering guidance from myself and guest speakers.
AZ: How can we follow you?
GJ: You can listen to my podcast, ‘The Curator’s Salon’, pick up a copy of my book ‘Show Your Art: How to Build an Art Career Without a Gallery’ and purchase my Artpreneur Affirmation Cards over at The Curator’s Salon here. You can also find me on Instagram, and Facebook.
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