Gallery Name: Culture Kings Artist Collective
Owner: Â Chris Oh
Artistic Director: Â Chris Oh / Johnny Robles
Opening Date: Â April 11th, 2009
Location: Â 4300 NE 2nd AVE. Miami, FL 33137
Â· How did your interest in the business of art begin?
Art has been a passion of mine ever since I can remember. As far as the business of art, I would have to say my interest started when I attended my first Art Show while in high school. A friend of mine, who had dropped out of school a couple of years before, was part of a group show that really opened my eyes to my limited perception of the art world. Prior to that show my experiences were only through school field trips to museums showing artist we were forced to study as part of the school curriculum. The museum exhibits were very boring to me and the museum volunteer was usually an elderly woman who was there to serve as our guide which did not make the already stark presentation of the works any more interesting to the teenage me. However, my friendâ€™s group show had good music, great art that was more relative to my interest, and a crowd of people who shared similar ideology and beliefs to mine. That show really changed the way I perceived the art world and the possibilities of it.
Â· What possessed you to start a new business in this economy?
I just wanted to pursue a passion. When I looked at what Sothebyâ€™s and Christyâ€™s were still doing amidst the economic climate, it reinforced the idea that what I was doing was the right move. One thing that I was taught growing up was to only make moves if your heart is in it.
Â· Why Miami?
Miami hosts one of the Worldâ€™s largest art fairs but is relatively overlooked in the art world. I think this has to do with the fact that the energy for the art scene in Miami is really seasonal and one of the reasons for starting the collective was to help keep the energy all year round.
Â· You call this an artist collective. How is that different from a gallery, if at all?
We differ because we each have a different approach to showing work. I found that a lot of people liked art but werenâ€™t aware of openings and shows, and how or what to buy. Because of this, I believe these potential buyers were turned off to buying art because of the lack of information on the art scene and the process of purchasing art. I decided to show works that were self-explanatory and hold regular business hours so the works would be readily available for viewing. Also, the collective consists of a group of artists who I have personal relationships with and that I have known for years. We are more like a family, in that we may not see eye to eye on everything but at the end of the day we are always going to be there for each other. We may be separated geographically but we tie in and use all our strengths and resources to help each other out. Whether it is with a new project or personal issues, we try to help each other. I feel this a better relationship to have than your typical artist to gallery owner relationship. Itâ€™s more personal this way and also more fun and rewarding.
Â· Do you have a history of gallery work? If so, what other galleries have you worked for or owned?
I have helped friends do installations and have showed in galleries myself but I have never officially worked for a gallery or owned one before.
Â· Do you have a specific artistic vision or style for Culture Kings?
There is no specific style I look for. The collective has a pretty eclectic mix of artists and the only parameters I might have is that their work is strong and that they have good energy to contribute to the collective.
Â· Who is your favorite artist ever? Who is your favorite current Miami artist?
I canâ€™t say that I have a favorite. I am still learning and I think I will forever be learning, but my early influences were Francis Bacon, Dali, Barbara Kruger, DaVinci, and Gauguin.
Â· What are your goals for the collective?
Short term: To help bring back the gallery scene to the design district and to help introduce a new audience to the art world.
Long term: To keep the family together and to keep moving forward.
Â· Do you show at any art fairs, either locally or in other cities? If so, how have those experiences gone for you?
Iâ€™ve shown at a couple of shows that run parallel to Basel in Miami but I havenâ€™t shown in any major ones like Basel or the Armory. I would eventually like to show in the major fairs and I think the artists in the Collective will be of that caliber in the near future.
Â· What would you say is the one most important idea for an artist to know when it comes to getting recognized by a gallery?
Never change who you are to fit in or to be marketable for a certain gallery.