19/12/2007 - 22:00

Culture corner

19/12/2007 - 22:00


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Ainslie Gatt - Ainslie Gatt Art Consultancy.

Ainslie Gatt

Director of Ainslie Gatt Art Consultancy for 14 years


WABN: Describe – in one sentence – a day at work.

AG: “A day at work for me generally consists of hunting down the right piece of artwork for my clients.”

WABN: What was the most challenging event in your career?

AG: “I have always worked for myself. I think the biggest challenge was when I started in the industry; it was my naivety and my determination that kept me going.

“There are many who come and go from my industry. My challenge when moving out of the gallery situation was to reinvent myself as a consultant and to be successful. And it worked. I now work with the secondary market, acquiring artwork through dealers, auction houses and private collectors, although I do work with some artist. I specialise in post-1940 modern Australian and Indigenous art.”

WABN: What is the main quality are you looking for within your team members?

AG: “As I work on my own I am constantly giving myself platforms to achieve, which are regularly monitored and reassess. One of my next platforms is to work on an international basis.”

WABN: What's best measurement of your performance, and can you name a highlight in your career?

AG: “I am a pedantic perfectionist and I am not afraid to say so. I love selling great Australian artwork and I am fortunate in my career to see some of the most beautiful works produced in Australia. Sometimes I find works so beautiful and overpowering they make me cry.”

WABN: How do you deal with egos in your workplace?

AG: “I don’t. I ignore them.”

WABN: Is there an organisation/business model that you strive to achieve/reach?

AG: “I don’t have one model of business that I strive to achieve. I am, however, constantly inspired by other businesses I work with and I am always incorporating ways to keep my business progressive. I constantly reassess my business, making sure I am up to date with all that is happening in the industry and what is new on the market.”

WABN: What frustrates you the most about your sector and what would you do to change it?

AG: “I would like to see artists benefit from the secondary market. I believe there needs to be a regulatory body, similar to that of performing artist, where they receive a royalty for their works being resold. This, in turn would help the artist know where their works are being sold and enable collectors to have a clearer trace of the provenance. In many cases artist, in particular indigenous artists, live below the poverty line while their artwork fetches exorbitant prices in the secondary market. People will argue it is an artist’s responsibility to manage their finances, however many artist are not blessed with business accruement and are either too old or not well enough to produce artworks.”

WABN: What are the specific hurdles that you meet on a daily basis in your sector? How do you deal with them?

AG: “Paperwork, however it does get done. It is all about time allocation. Sourcing artwork can be challenging. Clients have a particular artist or style of work in mind and I have to pool all my resources. It can sometime’s be like finding a needle in a haystack; this is where my pedantry comes in handy.”   

WABN: Have you read a good book on management/leadership that you can recommend? What was so good about it?

AG: “I have read many management/leadership books over the years, however the one that has made the greatest impact in my life was Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It has taught me to find balances and to accumulate mentors, which I do regularly.”

WABN: What is your favourite hobby?

AG: “When I find the time I yacht race. I love it. As soon as I hit the water the world washes away. Funny enough, the opera and ballet have this effect on me also.”

WABN: Which personality inspired you the most throughout your career?

AG: “No-one in particular; I love people, all people. I find I can be inspired by the most unlikely, though I am fortunate to be in a position to meet the most remarkable people. I think it is synonymous with art collecting.”

WABN: Who has influenced you personally?

AG: “My parents. They have both nurtured and groomed me to be the woman I am today. My mother gave me culture and my father gave me consistency.”

WABN: What were you doing before your current position?

AG: “I have been in the visual arts nearly all my professional life. I do, however, deviate every now and then. I have worked with public relations and events and have found this complements promoting artists and being an exhibitions curator. As a teenager and young adult I played with modelling, and acting stemmed from that. I have performed in local theatre and in the odd TV production as actor and presenter.”

WABN: What is your education background?

AG: “I studied at Curtin University. My BA is communications and cultural studies, with my majors being performance and film and television, and my minor in professional writing and presentation. I also have a certificate in small business management.”



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