Joyce Creiger, the founder of ArtSpecifier, www.artspecifier.com, has been a premiere art consultant in the Boston-area for decades.
Joyce founded ArtSpecifier as a way to provide a global platform to link together artists, designers, architects, art consultants, galleries, collectors and art lovers—all groups she collaborates and works with.
In this interview Joyce discusses what exactly an art consultant does, why it matters, and what motivates her energetic entrepreneurial zeal.
Joyce offers valuable advice for artists, collectors, other art consultants, businesses, and for all those who desire to foster and promote creative alliances.
"Finding artists is easy. Finding the right artist for a specific project is often more complicated."
Joyce, what is your definition of an art consultant?
An art consultant advises diverse clients on the placement, acquisition and installation of art. This involves working with personal collectors as well as corporate, hospitality, healthcare and public collections.
An art consultant wears many hats and performs many different services depending on the needs of their clients.
Generally, the client has a list of different tasks that they expect the consultant to perform. There are many services an art consultant may be asked to perform, such as:
- Inventory the existing art collection
- Determine what pieces should remain and what should be eliminated
- Select the locations that require art
- Help form an art committee
- Develop criteria for the art collection
- Put together art work selections for the committee's review
- Help the art committee come to decisions as to what pieces will best enhance their collection and the space
- Assign the high priority locations, the secondary, and low priority locations for art
- Review the reflected ceiling plan to ascertain that the lighting is adequate for the art
- Select areas for special commissions
- Help the committee determine the type of art that will be commissioned
- Help with the direction of the collection
- Develop frame standards for each of the locations
- Create a budget and get budget approval
- Negotiate for the selected art
- Supervise the artists as the commission pieces develop
- Attend meeting with the framers, installers, delivery companies, clients and the design/architect team
- Purchase the art
- Supervise the framing
- Arrange for delivery and installation
- Supervise the installation.
- Design, create and facilitate the production of any written materials about the collection.
How long have you been working in the arts and how did you begin as an art consultant?
I graduated from Boston University, with a degree in art history. I also took many studio art courses.
As a young mother, I was living in a community that had no facilities to either learn about art or take courses in art. As a result, I became active in the formation of the Danforth Museum www.danforthart.org in Massachusetts.
This was an exciting time in our community as this grass roots movement began to bring a museum to fruition and fully integrate it into our town. It is now a thriving museum and art school serving thousands of people every year.
After the opening of the museum, I began to design a company that could bring "art to the business world" and spent the first 5 years basically explaining to individuals, designers, architects and local as well as international corporations what I was prepared to do for them and why.
Who are some of your clients and how do you find each other?
In my career I have worked with such esteemed clients as: IBM, Commercial Union Insurance Co, Sheraton Corporation, Charles River Associates, Lotus, Prime Computer, Apollo, Digital, Harvard Business School, Masoneilan, Hancock Insurance, The Gillette Corporation, Ocean Spray, Tyco and Prudential, Sanofi Aventis, MIT, Marriott, Holdiay Inn, Hilton, Starwoods, MGM, Circus Circus, The Luxor, JW Marriott, Summerlin, NV, The MYAS Hospital for The Royal Commission of Saudi Arabia, , Donald Trump's New York Grand Hyatt and Ian Schrager's Morgans.
Aerial Sculpture for MYAS Hospital in Saudi Arabia- Artist Rob Fisher
Detail from Aerial Sculpture for MYAS Hospital in Saudi Arabia- Artist Rob Fisher
JW Marriott Hotel, Summerlin, LV -Artist: Dimitri Vegicoff
Commissioned 12 Murals for New York, New York, Las Vegas, NV Artist: Isthvan Benarth
Early on in my career, I sought out designers and architects working on large projects. I would contact them, make presentations and then do proposals for anyone interested.
As my business grew, my referrals grew and now my business’ website attracts clients, providing a consistent workflow. The growth of social media facilitates ongoing relationships and communication.
Describe a few recent projects and the challenges and rewards associated with the projects.
A recent project was The Boston Marriott Residence Inn located in the Fort Point Channel Area of Boston. www.bostonresidenceinn.com. Since this is an area well known for its vibrant arts community, the owner of the hotel decided to select only artists from the area to be featured in the hotel.
I was hired to help select the individual artists, commission new work for specific spaces within the hotel, and oversee and direct the installation process.
This was an exciting and challenging project. Not only was each artwork custom created for the particular space where it eventually hung but the hotel owner was extremely supportive and passionate about art and the artists involved in the project.
Like all projects, there were challenges. We selected a wonderful piece to be commissioned that would hang behind the reception desk. The sculpture by ArtSpecifier member artist Jennifer Sabella www.jennifersabella.com would contain several thousand canvas-strips hanging from a wire. However, Boston has one of the strictest fire codes in the country.
After numerous attempts to fire proof the canvas, it became evident that it just wasn't going to work. We collectively decided that if the commission was to become a reality, we needed a new material.
Now, the new challenge was the artist had never worked in metal before, and that was the only material that would not be subject to the Boston Fire Codes for large artwork.
Jennifer worked tirelessly to develop a technique that would replicate on metal what she did on canvas. She was ultimately successful, after a lot of trial and error, and the finished piece now hangs behind the Hotel’s reception desk.
Jennifer Sabella installing her "Fly Paper" metal sculpture at the new Marriott Residence Inn, Ft. Point Channel, Boston, MA
Jennifer Sabella, putting on the finishing touches of her sculpture at the Marriott.
Another exciting project that I recently completed was an art rental project with a healthcare client, inventiv Health, www.inventivhealth.com who called saying they wanted a few pieces of art to help quickly “spruce up” their space.
After a meeting with the client, and a lengthy discussion about the benefits of renting vs. purchasing artwork we decided on a little of both, art rental for the public spaces and offices and to purchase art for their conference rooms.
To envision this we presented a PowerPoint presentation of images superimposed on photos of their office wall. Each space was given several choices so the clients were able to input into the final decision.
A few days later they made selections, the same week we installed 15 pieces in their offices within a determined budget. They were so thrilled with the way their offices looked that they decided to install another 12 works throughout the office. All of this was accomplished in a two-week time frame.
inVentiv Health Rental Program- Marc Weiner Meg Blac
Audax Rental Program- Vegicoff Fishler
Another unique project that we recently did involved collaborating with a designer on “staging” a $6,500,000 home that was being marketed for sale.
We had a one-week turn around, thus no time for lots of back and forth selections. I previewed the home, had a quick discussion with the designer and the owner, and it was determined that I would bring in more art than would ultimately be needed so the client could become involved with the art and the selection.
Within a week the art was selected and installed for a three-month rental period.
The home sold the first week. The owner loved the work and didn't want to have it taken out until the day they moved!
How do you locate artists to collaborate with on specific projects? Do you commission new works from artists? How does that process work?
Finding artists is easy. Finding the right artist for a specific project is often more complicated. After many years of working with artists, I am now capable of anticipating what artists I can count on for what type of projects.
Consultants often work with the same artists over and over when the projects are successful and the artists are reliable and committed. However, I believe it is more exciting to work with new and different artists, making each project unique.
Recently I had the pleasure of working with artist Renee Dinauer www.reneedinauersculpture.com on a sculpture commission for the Winter Wyman Corporation. www.winterwyman.com. Most of Renee's sculptures protrude from the wall more than 4" but for this site-specific installation we needed to create a sculpture no deeper than 4". The artist was able to reduce the usual depth of the sculpture to accommodate the site. Flexibility and accommodation is key in successful collaborations. Renee also did a commission through Artspecifier.com for a hotel in Orlando, Florida by Concept Art.
Winter Wyman- Renee Dinaeur
Orlando Hotel- Renee Dinaeur
Working with new artists is exciting and keeps my career interesting, challenging and ever-changing.
“It has been my experience that when collectors buy art merely as a financial investment their attachment to the collection is often minimal. When a collector buys art they care about, trusting their own judgment, their collection becomes infused with meaning and joy.”
Do you work with collectors and individuals as well as corporations and businesses?
I do work with individual collectors and it is one of my favorite things to do. I love introducing clients to new artists and watch how excited they get.
I enjoy watching people learn about the artists and their work, answer their questions, and help them begin a collection and guide its’ growth. This is often a much more personal and ongoing involvement than working with corporate clients.
Sometimes with couples it becomes a psychological study to blend the tastes and passions of two very different individuals. I often recommend that couples each choose their favorites and, as long as it is consistent with their overall goal for the collection, this provides a way to create a unique and varied assemblage of art that blends the personalities of the collectors into a unique artistic statement.
Creating a theme, objective, mission or direction for the personal collection is often the most stimulating and thought-provoking challenge for me.
Some of my clients have chosen to collect art from around the world, incorporating their travels into their day-to-day life in a very thoughtful way.
Other art lovers concentrate on contemporary art purchases within a certain price-range. Still other collectors have chosen to collect art primarily from local artists, thus helping to support the local economy and empowering creativity within their community.
Most important, it is my belief that art should be selected because you love it and not in the hope it will appreciate in value some day. If investment is a goal of yours, I recommend you simply follow the purchases of a major museum and purchase a piece by artists collected by that museum that you can afford.
It has been my experience that when collectors buy art merely as a financial investment their attachment to the collection is often minimal. When a collector buys art they care about, trusting their own judgment, their collection becomes infused with meaning and joy.
“Giving an artist their first show, discovering a talent, providing a venue for them to produce a commission they didn't know they could deliver, believing in them, this is what it is all about for me.”
What is your favorite part of working as an art consultant?
My favorite part of working as an art consultant is working with a talented unknown or mid-career artist and watching them mature and develop as a professional artist.
Giving an artist their first show, discovering a talent, providing a venue for them to produce a commission they didn't know they could deliver, believing in them, this is what it is all about for me.