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An update on what we've been up to...

It has been a good couple of years since anything was published to Art Pot Magazine, but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy! In the first post to mark our return we share some life updates and stories. We are extremely excited to be back and using this platform again, so keep your eyes out for much much more to come!


Haomin - 

Nearly three full years have gone by since I last picked up a pen for Art Pot Magazine.「時過境遷」is the first phrase that comes to mind. It is a Chinese idiom that poignantly stands for ‘circumstances defaced by the relentless passage of time.’ The world sure has changed since 2021, but I am still that person striding towards his goals. To celebrate the relaunch of Art Pot, please allow me to recount my ‘blood, toil, tears, and sweat’ in the worlds of arts, culture, and beyond in the past three years. 


After St Andrews, I went on to complete my master’s in Renaissance Art History and Curatorship, a programme jointly offered by the historic Warburg Institute and the National Gallery. It is in my master’s dissertation which focussed on Cinquecento Florentine views on the unfinished (i.e. non finito) and the processual (i.e. drawings and sketches) that I finally elucidated my hitherto dormant Romantic predilection for the ruined (therefore the unfinished and the processual). 


After the Warburg, I went on a three-month Grand Tour (or a 21st-century hostel-hopping version thereof) in Germany, Italy, and Elsàss. In Germany and Italy I finally got to see the art and architecture that I have written about for the past five years. In Elsàss I found my new love for agriculture, agritourism, ecotourism, oenology, and ampelography. It was also in Elsàss that I realised the potential interdisciplinary opportunity of integrating the history of wine with the history of art, cultural history, as well as sociopolitical history. 


Alsace landscape with blue sky and minimal clouds, landscape of fields and foreground of orange leaves on trees and a ruin
Elsass or Alsace

Afterwards, I officially embarked on my adventure into the art world. First stop: Sotheby’s. Towards the end of February 2024, I took on the opportunity to undertake an internship at Sotheby’s Shanghai where I will be assisting with events and client liaison. What a time to start the internship indeed, as the previews for The Hong Kong Sales were just about to tour Shanghai, Beijing, and Taipei. As a result, during my internship, I was actively involved in the operation of all the events accompanying the touring previews that took place in Shanghai and Beijing. After the previews, I went back to Sotheby’s new Shanghai office to assist my supervisor who is in charge of Chinese Mainland client liaison. My main tasks, conceivably, entailed conducting auction performance reports on numerous blue chip Chinese modernists. The experience was amazing, but the auction world is even more hierarchical than I had previously imagined. As an entry-/junior-level staff member at these international auction houses, the ability to execute orders from your supervisors is definitely more valued than your creativity and critical thinking.


Having come back to London in April, I have started a part-time rôle at the British Museum planning and hosting museum lates. I have numerous friendly colleagues who work on the events and specific activities with me, and there is significantly more support from more senior-level staff than in the commercial art world. As a result, the stress is definitely much more manageable and the overall experience more wholesome and positive. The first event will be in the evening on Summer Solstice (21 June). Stay tuned! 


photograph of the British Museum showing the glass ceiling curving round to the right of the image with a brick wall
Image of the British Museum

Back in London, I have also started to take concrete steps to proactively learn more about my newfound passions, in particular organic agriculture. For instance, I am currently working part time at an organic farm shop that I frequent. It is a refreshing and indeed much welcomed change for someone who has mostly sat behind a desk for his previous study and work. It has been an absolutely charming experience working with organic produce, serving customers with all the care. After all, what is the difference really between selling a painting and selling a lovingly produced pack of organic rosemary and thyme roast ham from Gloucestershire? 


Meanwhile, I am currently underway kicking off my own art and antique dealership. Having amassed a collection of Old Master works on paper as well as paintings, period frames, and early photographic works since I first started writing for Art Pot, I have decided to de-accession some of my art collection in order to get a taste of art dealing early on in my career. After all, isn’t it many art lovers’ goal to have their own dealership or gallery in the end? In establishing my art and antique dealership and hopefully selling some pieces to my art loving peers, I want to motivate my fellow art loving folks to collect or deal in art and antiques. It is not a scary, terribly forbidding industry that is impossible to enter. I built my collection solely on my own savings accumulated from numerous student jobs. I guess all that I want to say is that if you love art and put your heart and mind to it, you can march right on into the art dealing world. 



From St Andrews to London, from Sotheby’s, the British Museum to organic farm shop, carrying the dreams of my childlike self, I have ventured into the art world, all the while continuing to cultivate my growing new passions for farming and wining. After all, it is the 21st century - who knows if the trio of ecotourism, agriculture, and art can one day be compounded into something even bigger…?


Lucia - 

Two years have passed since I was walking the tiny cobbled streets of St Andrews, inundated by the sea breeze and not a thought in my mind other than being on time atm y Art History lecture. I have cherished every moment in that coastal town in eastern Fife: sometimes feeling like Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, while walking in the dense mist, other times like a character of Manet’s Masked Ball, at one of the many formal events our small borough had to offer. 


I walked into the university thinking I would become a museum director somewhere in the world, I wanted to escape my home country of Italy and would see art in a very didascalic way. I left the university knowing less about my career than when I started, but way more about myself and my will of character. St Andrews has been a proper gym, to exercise my intellect and my social skills, interacting with the most brilliant minds and having the chance to create ArtPot with some dear friends. 


In these past two years I have had my fair share of trials and tribulations, finding a place for myself and my new vision of art: art is something that will always be with me, but I no longer seek the strictly academic nourishment, in favour of a more nuanced understanding. I focused on Latin American studies during a period at the University of Emory in Atlanta, Georgia and there I felt like a Hopper painting: alone, but yet stimulated by a new and diverse environment. 


Nowadays I am about to embrace a new adventure starting a dual degree in Food Management and Law. Food and art are inextricably interconnected in my mind, the techniques, the colours, and even the flavours in food are all clearly recognizable in different artworks. From Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters, to the gruesomely realistic Dutch market scenes, food has always been used in art as a way to consolidate an inner message. I am excited to channel my taste for aesthetics into the business of food, as well as understanding the regulations behind it, hoping to pursue new ways to share my passion for art and its history.


Lucia smiling in a grassy area in front of a cityscape with skyscrapers. Lucia has dark brown hair, is smiling and is wearing a green jacket, orange top and brown trousers
Lucia

Emilia - 

Creating Art Pot in my bedroom during the first lockdown in 2020 feels a million miles from the life I have now found myself in! I have since gone on to complete a masters at the University of York and am now working my first big girl job in the centre of London, well within the hustle and bustle of city life.


My final two years at St Andrews solidified my passion for using Art History as a pedagogical tool, to foster conversations and approach topics in a unique and abstract way. I loved taking modules that looked at the psychological, politically driven and novel ways of viewing, displaying and talking about art and the current world we find ourselves in today. I realise now that Art Pot was the very beginning of this journey of interest, enabling conversations and bringing together diverse people, all through ‘art’.


Group of people photographed behind large letters reading 'U St A' standing for University of St Andrews. The crowd are of men and women wearing white shirts and black graduation gowns with red hoods
Art History class of 2022

Something I grew very passionate about was how museums are looking to the future; what are they doing to evolve with the landscape, audiences and change in behaviour? My dissertation sought to answer some of these questions and led me down a brilliant rabbit-hole of technology and accessibility. Were these the answers? Wanting to spread my wings a bit more and, perhaps step away from the traditional academic and commercial world of art, I studied an MSc at the University of York ‘Digital Heritage’. I loved my time at York so much. I met some of the best friends I will ever have, studied some really brilliant concepts and also had the opportunity to volunteer with the Norman Rea Gallery, the UK’s only student-run art space. 


I also really appreciated getting to study some more tangible solutions to my previous questions of accessibility and the rise of digital strategies in museum spaces. I had the chance to learn UX design and research, making sure sites are accessible to everyone, exploring interactive exhibits and spaces as well as spatial mapping of sites which I found really interesting - how people interact with the space around them! 


Coming away from the masters I was still really lost career-wise. I knew I was passionate about heritage and preserving that for future generations, and I knew I really liked the advancements in technology and creating things, but I didn’t know how to put them together. I took a job as an art technician for a company in London. Here I got to handle some amazing private and public collections - installing artwork for clients of all types, galleries, private owners, museums. I learnt about installing within gallery spaces and lighting works to best enhance their features, and I met some really interesting people. I did that for around 6 months, but I knew I didn’t want to be solely an art technician forever and I really missed using other skills like creating and marketing. 


Emilia is wearing white jeans and a brown top, crouching on a step in front of the York Minster which takes up the background of the image. She is holding her dissertation in her left hand and making a peace-sign with her right
Emilia's MSc dissertation in front of the York Minster

So now I am working as an Agency Executive at an illustration and animation agency and gallery in London! My day-to-day responsibilities range from managing artist portfolios and updating them, creating marketing material for both the gallery and the artists, reaching out to and responding to clients about projects, invoicing said clients, assisting within the gallery, installing works etc!


I am also volunteering in my spare time for The Lyme Museum, an amazing online museum space which focuses on bringing to light people with hidden disabilities and sharing their stories within an online repository. I manage their website content, re-designing the pages for accessibility and style, and putting to practise my UX skills! I have enjoyed this so much that I am also teaching myself web design from scratch - using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I have also re-found my love of blog writing and connecting with people through this work - I am really excited to meet new and incredible people.


I am still very lost as to what I want to do with my life! I think that partly is because there isn’t a set job which allows me to use all of these skills. But for now, I am enjoying working with artists, developing my digital skills, through web design, content creation and marketing, and I am also really enjoying researching more on museum accessibility. One day I would love to have a role which puts all of this into practice!


Image of a ladder in the foreground and six photographs hung on two different white walls in the background
An exhibition installation

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