Beat The Basel Blues And Start Collecting From This Next-Gen Online Gallery
There are a few people out there who are changing the way our world works.
And I don't mean in the tech space (oh, yay, another way to overshare our smashed avo toast). No, more like actually changing systems in long-standing cultural institutions so that they better fit our modern (and Millennial) way of life.
One such leading light is Alessandra Salituri, a next-gen gallerist, publicist and absolute vision who's simultaneously demystifying the process of purchasing art and jumpstarting your collection through her online gallery Citizen Atelier.
You see, if you don't (yet, ahem) fancy yourself an established collector the likes of which belong in ArtNets' list of the 100 most influential people in the arts, you can start working up the ranks with a few choice items from Citizen Atelier's current online display.
And she's on to something here.
After launching Citizen Atelier two years ago to fill the void between mass-produced chain-store wall dressings (Ikea, West Elm, etc.) and Dali, Alessandra's edited a strong selection of "edgy, whimsical" and a moody-sexy aesthetic that's caught the attention of everyone from MyDomaine and fashion illustrator Dallas Shaw to hotels, Fortune 500s, and celeb clients Jessica Alba and Erin Foster.
[slow clap] .... Right??
As the legal 4-day bender referred to as Art Basel Miami Beach kicks off today and the art world blacks out, I wanted to get inside the creative mind of the woman who's offering a new way in, around and beyond the traditional art scene.
Good thing, too. Alessandra, gracious as she is, opened up about her mission behind her modern-day cultural offering, satisfying her multi-passionate persona through entrepreneurship, and of course, le art.
For those with modern tastes, Alessandra suggests this pair of Teal Garden I + II by Amanda Talley
When did you know you were really on to something with the online gallery?
I had noticed there was a significant gap in the art market between high-end art galleries and big box stores selling mass-produced images. I’ve always loved and been attracted to whimsical and surrealist art and couldn’t find a one-stop shop that curated a collection with a similar aesthetic. The pivotal moment where I realized I might be onto something was when I previewed some of our first lookbook shots on social media from our shoot with photographer Ashley Capp and designed by Christine Dovey. People seemed to respond to the images and it was such an overwhelming and lovely feeling.
Give us a virtual walk-through of your home. What would we see hanging on the walls?
I’m such a big believer that art gives character and depth to a space. I personally have always loved whimsical art of women in beautiful settings. My home is filled with imagery of these female silhouettes; I have one large black and white print of a warrior woman in my entryway, and a very soft yet edgy painting by my friend Zoe Pawlak. I'm also a big fan of florals and skulls, so I have some prints that represent those themes around my apartment.
The minimalist in all of us will appreciate Sean Gallagher's Grizzly Hackle #5, Alessandra says.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired most by the idea of building and shaping a beautiful, authentic and independent life for myself. I recently have moved in a new apartment and the process of making the place my own with art and small luxuries like flowers inspires me every day. I’m also inspired by the idea of making the world a better place in any way I can.
You're not just an online art gallerist. You also run your own PR company (amazing!). What's the focus of that business?
I mainly work with small to medium size businesses in the lifestyle and art industries, as well as corporate projects. I'm equally inspired in my PR work as I am with Citizen Atelier; the common goal is to bring visions to life! I offer public relations, marketing and branding consulting services among others.
Explain how you developed two businesses at once. Or did you master one first, then start the other?
I started Citizen Atelier while working in public relations full time. I’d also been an art dealer for 10 years and built Citizen Atelier in the evenings for over a year and a half before the site launched. The Atelier started as a side project, and it flourished beyond what I had anticipated.
How do you manage it all day-to-day?
Every day feels like a balancing act! One of my mentors, Robin Sharma, always emphasizes the importance of waking up early and spending time reading, writing about your goals and planning your day. I try to start my day out on that foot, and then make my way to a neighbourhood cafe to work on PR projects. In the afternoon, I’ll often meet with clients, organize interviews with the media, work on Citizen Atelier projects and collaborations, talk with our artists…I usually try to finish my day by eating out with friends, it’s the Montreal way!
And for the classically inclined, Alessandra points to Versailles Chandelier I by Georgianna Lane
How do you have time for your romantic life, friends, working out and me time?
I learned the importance of balance in my early twenties. It’s always been really important for me to have downtime; living life and sharing laughter with friends gives me inspiration and fuels me in my work. I’ve also made it a priority this year to work out to keep my body and mind as strong as possible...at the end of the day you’ll often find me at the gym or at a dance class!
What's your favorite part about what you do?
Being able to wake up every day and bring ideas to life, whether it be for a client's brand or my own. The most beautiful thing about building Citizen Atelier has been the opportunity to connect with like-minded people who are chasing their dreams and are inspired by similar interests.
Does your taste in art inform your fashion choices as well?
Absolutely. I love monochromatic palettes in both art and fashion. I also adore art with a touch of edge, and never feel like myself without a leather jacket!
What were the last 3 fashion items you purchased?
I recently purchased a few items for the cold Montreal winter! I bought a light gray wool coat from Club Monaco, a pair of over-the-knee burgundy suede boots from Stuart Weitzman and a silver necklace from Dannijo.
Where are you traveling next?
I absolutely love California, it’s probably the only other place I could see myself living besides Montreal. My next trip will likely be to L.A. for work and some sunshine!