Gone are the days when art in the office meant a watercolour or print hanging on the main wall. There are a many ways in which new, vibrant art can create just the right corporate image and ambience, or be the focal point in a reception area or boardroom. Second in a two-part series written by Christopher Tobutt.
Geraldine always wants to make those few people who are responsible for making the final decision aware of all the other lives their decision will affect:
“I always encourage the decision-makers to canvas the opinions of the workforce for any art that will be in their working areas, as it is they who will be living with the art five days a week,” she said.
Despite her advice and encouragement, Geraldine is aware that ultimately the choice is with the client, so that getting the right balance between offering her advice and accepting the client’s final decision important:
“It is very difficult to please everyone-and some people already have very definite ideas about art,” she said. All I ask is that they keep in mind their key objectives; it is definitely about listening and guiding; not imposing your ideas on someone.”
Because Geraldine has invested a good deal of time building relationships between the Morgan Gallery and local artists, she knows the kind of work an artist can produce, and so even if there is no existing artwork that perfectly Other clients suits a client, work can be commissioned specially.
Kenneth Krys, Managing Director of Krys & Associates, Cayman Ltd, said: “When we looked at artwork for our reception and conference room, we had great difficulty finding pieces that matched our needs….When we couldn’t find a certain type of painting to complement the others we had selected, Geraldine and the artist visited our offices and we commissioned a painting to match.”
One of the most important factors in choosing the right art, and the one likely to be most overlooked, is the presentation of the art- the physical dimension of the canvases, and the sense of spatial balance between them.
An example of this is when a local law firm chose work from the talented young Caymanian artist, Nickola McCoy, after the company executives saw a series of nine canvases, making up a composite picture of a stingray. They then commissioned a similar set of canvases depicting a turtle. Their choice of content- two creatures that are highly emblematic of the Cayman Islands- says that the company is proud to be associated with Cayman’s environment, and also with the cultural heritage and values of these islands, while the paintings’ contemporary presentation- essentially one painting spread over many aspects- accentuates the company’s quality of being to think outside the box; to embrace new ideas. The final effect art is a bold statement, describing their company’s foundation on the traditional inheritance of Cayman’s past, while demonstrating they are not afraid of change where it is appropriate. How else could such a complex, important yet essentially abstract sentiment have been communicated so succinctly?
Geraldine maintains it is important for companies to support artists living and working in the Cayman Islands, but not just out of a sense of social obligation. Rather the importance of buying and displaying local artists’ work should grow from a sense of empathy with a company’s cultural environment, so that using local art helps foster a sense of belonging; of being established.
It is an exciting time for art here Geraldine believes, because so many local artists are branching out into new avenues of creativity, while many of the young artists with new ideas, such as Wray Banker, Randy Chollette, Gordon Solomon and Chris Christian are also attaining new levels of maturity, both conceptually and in terms of technique.
This, coupled with each of these artists’ uniquely Caymanian vision of the world, has placed many of these artists’ work in a high level of demand from international collectors.
This aspect, the prospect of a set of paintings from a particular artist being able to add a sense of prestige to a company, is one that Geraldine believes makes a solid investment, in more ways than one; the growing international reputation of an artist may also help the reputation of the company that uses their art grow too.
Geraldine is pleased to be able to bridge the gap between the world of business and the art world, whether that company is looking to send a stronger message about its identity, increase its perceived level of prestige, or simply to adorn its walls, and the organisations that take the opportunities she offers are generally pleased at the outcome. As Janet Jarchow, Marketing Executive with RE/MAX Cayman Islands remarked:
“Working with The Morgan Gallery on finding the perfect artwork for our reception area at RE/MAX Cayman Islands has been a great pleasure. Geraldine and her team offered expert advice throughout the purchasing progress. The service was tailor made to our needs and even went beyond the expected as we had the chance to meet with the artists.”
Likewise, Tracey Cuff from Conyers Dill & Pearman said, “With the help and valuable input from Geraldine at Morgan Gallery we purchased several pieces of artwork by Nickola McCoy and Randy Chollette which enhanced and created a warm and welcoming reception area for our clients and staff to enjoy.”
Essentially, the Morgan Gallery is offering the same degree of knowledge and expertise of both the art and business world that have routinely been available by employing a top advertising agency, only with the caveat that the art a company chooses is more permanent than constantly changing advertising, and the message it gives is not about an individual product; it is about the company itself.