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Leonardo Ledesma: Consulting for Arts Sake

June 16, 2010 by Lanee Lee in Art with 0 Comments

While other boys bonded with their fathers at ball games, Leonardo Ledesma’s dad took him to museums, operas, ballets and plays. This early art education would shape his destiny. During his final year at USC’s School of Architecture, he began helping his struggling artist friends by selling their work. With a passion for visual arts, he immersed himself in the local Los Angeles art scene and realized he had a gift for finding art collectors in both corporate and private spheres.

Mattia Biagi – Femme Modular Revolution, 2008, bicycle and tar in plexiglass box, 75 x 28 x 44 inches

Trading designing space for enhancing space, in 1993 he founded Art Seen, an art consulting business specializing in professional art procurement. Being a success in a niche business for 17 years, Fabrik Magazine asks Leonardo, the 40-year-old affable art consultant, what it takes to make ‘art seen.’ Fabrik sits down with Leonardo and discusses the art of art consulting…

Fabrik: What does an art consultant do?

Leonardo Ledesma: We, meaning the artists and I as a team, are available to consult for anyone or any company who has a valid interest in art no matter how big or small the project. We do a number of services including selecting and acquiring artworks, defining budgets, commissions from concept to completion, framing, art placement and installation.

LL: I find out what they envision for their home or office. Sometimes they have no clue and are starting from scratch, then my job becomes more complex but at the same time it gives me more freedom to pick a direction. It gives me a lot of joy when a client gives creative license to find the right artist for their space and usually they are very happy with the results.

Miguel Osuna – Chase, 2008, oil on canvas, 72 x 80 inches

Fabrik: What kind of clients do you art consult?

LL: Healthcare, corporate, hospitality, residential and individual. Each one of those is a very unique experience and I’ve learned a lot with each. I also work with interior designers quite often.

Fabrik: How do you convey the value of art?

LL: I bring original art to clients so they can feel and experience the tactile nature. When clients are face to face with it, they realize how compelling it is. I do send them digital images, but I also try to engage the client with art in person by either inviting them to an artist’s studio or going to them to place the art in their space.

Michael Moon – Pathways #84, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

Fabrik: How does art consulting differ from being a gallery owner?

LL: Art consulting is much more of a pro-active, direct process. A lot of the times my clients don’t have the luxury of time to do the research and visit galleries. I don’t compete with galleries. I work parallel to them.

Fabrik: What drives your decision to represent an artist? Is it purely on commercial merit?

LL: It’s a mixture of what excites me and the commercial value. What has to be the discerning factor is choosing art that represents a certain image for my business.

Brad Howe – Dedao, 2008, stainless steel, 81 x 47 x 12 inches

Fabrik: Can you tell us a success story of an artist you’ve discovered?

LL: Yes, there was an artist I discovered that was just painting for fun, painting on the weekends in his garage. I fell in love with his work early on, before he was selling his work at all, then I slowly started to show his works to my clients and began to sell it. Then things really started to evolve for him where he secured gallery representation and things took off.

Fabrik: How has the economy changed your business?

LL: You have to adjust and find new ways of marketing yourself and keep the relationships that you have. I’ve been fortunate that I do have a loyal client base and I’ve been around long enough that they trust me and the artists I represent.

Fabrik: Do you think it’s a more realistic art market now?

LL: I think it brought a level of clarity to the art world. The people that are buying art are more careful, are educating themselves more. The more savvy art buyer will win at the end of the day in this market.

Fabrik: In the future, do you see yourself continuing in the art consulting business?

LL: Yes, my goal is to keep expanding to bigger projects. For example, I’m in talks with a biotech company about creating an annual sculpture show on their grounds. I will get to be the curator and feature a new artist every year. I also want to expand in the Asian art market.

Fabrik: Just for fun, what do you think art is by definition?

LL: Doing something dangerous with style. Dangerous being defined as communicating a new idea or commenting on society.

Todd Williamson – Already Gone, 2009, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

Fabrik: And another $64,000 question, what makes an artist an artist?

LL: Someone who is devoted to their craft unconditionally, cultivating their work over time in a very powerful, compelling way. The test of time is what defines an artist to see their evolution.

Fabrik: Can you tell us about the upcoming event we are co-hosting on June 10th?

LL: Yes, ArtSeen and Fabrik Magazine are celebrating the launch of the new ArtSeen website as well as holding an art auction to benefit the non-profit Identify Foundation at the W Hollywood Hotel. And the date of the party is also coincidentally significant because it falls on the 17th anniversary of ArtSeen opening its doors.

Click here to read about the auction at the W Hollywood and see pictures from the event.

For more information about Leonardo Ledesma and ArtSeen, visit www.laartseen.com.

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About Lanee Lee

Lanee Lee is a Los Angeles-based writer who uses her craft to pursue her passions: travel, culture, cuisine, and discovering artisans from around the globe. You can follow her latest quest at www.laneelee.com and @wanderlushdiary.

View all posts by Lanee Lee →

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