Mountain Express Magazine recently had the great pleasure of talking with Julie Nester of Julie Nester Gallery in Park City to discuss her experience as a gallery owner, her approach to art, and her great love for what she does.
Q: How did you get started in the art gallery business?
A: I have always loved art. I graduated from college with an art degree and I have worked in the art business for over 20 years. To spend each day among the work of so many talented artists, I can’t imagine a better career.
Q: With so many amazing contemporary artists to choose from, describe your approach to selecting artists that best represent your gallery.
A: After relocating from San Francisco, we established a goal that we wanted Julie Nester Gallery to be recognized on a national level.
To accomplish this we have always aimed to exhibit national artists whose talent and
résumés support this mission. And at the same time we wanted to ensure that our price points were accessible and realistic to the majority of art collectors. We have also always aimed to represent a range of styles and media.
Q: Tell us a little about what makes your collection unique.
A: Our collection includes figurative, abstract, landscape and representational art. We exhibit paintings, sculpture and photography. I have personally always appreciated paint and texture so a number of our artists are known for their unique surfaces and media. This includes artists such as Erik Gonzales who uses paint and marble dust to create paintings whose surfaces look like aged frescoes; Marshall Crossman’s wet-into-wet oil painting style that results in vibrantly rich and highly textured paintings; and Stephen Foss whose painstaking style of applying and removing layers and layers of paint results in beautiful and intriguing work.
Q: With 3,000 feet of exhibition space, your gallery has incredible opportunities to highlight a larger scope of an artist’s repertoire than many other local galleries. Explain why you think that’s important and how you accomplish this in your gallery.
A: As you enter the gallery, we always highlight a particular artist’s work by presenting a show featuring a large collection of their pieces. And these works and artists rotate throughout the season. Being able to view a whole range of work by an artist really allows our clients to understand an artist’s expertise and depth in a way that’s just not possible when you see only one or two pieces.
Q: Describe your philosophy in working with collectors, both first- timers and seasoned.
A: We have a range of clients—some who are just starting their collections and some who have so much artwork they rotate pieces in and out of storage. It is our mission to only represent artwork that we would want to own ourselves. So regardless of your collecting experience, we are able to present artwork with a passionate and honest style.
Q: I’ve noticed Julie Nester Gallery artist pieces around Park City. Can you tell us about that side of the business?
A: Another avenue the gallery pursues is the corporate and hospitality industries. We have been fortunate to sell a handful of our artists into great, high profile collections. Our most high profile project has been with The St. Regis Deer Valley. The showcase piece in the hotel’s collection is a
6-foot by 22-foot painting by Philip Buller in the main hotel bar. The hotel wanted a painting that would depict the heritage of Park City, and so they commissioned Buller to create a piece depicting life in the silver mine. The painting is a stunning, cornerstone piece to the hotel’s stellar collection.
Q: What is your best advice for putting together a personal art collection and for buying art as an investment?
A: Buy what you love. As with any investment, in order to realize a gain in value there must be a secondary market where the product can be
resold. In the art world, the auction houses usually drive the main secondary market, and most of the art sold at auction ranges from the high five to seven figures. But with that said, there are some things collectors can do:
1. Buy what you love.
2. Know the artist’s background—review their exhibition and sales history. 3. Document the sales price. 4. Follow the career of the artist.