In our travels, we have met the people that sell art, those that create the art, and those who passionately collect the art. All of them have inspired us to collect art. But Carina Guevara of Art 19B in Cubao Expo has become our major influence in collecting and appreciating art.
Traveler on Foot : How did you start selling art?
Carina: Very accidentally. I was really just buying for myself… and pouring in whatever little money I had into paintings. It almost became an obsession. As in …there would be times I won’t be able to sleep because I really think the piece had to be mine. And the blank wall would be mocking me. Exxag. And then, when I started getting to know artists…. The “collection” became overwhelming. Friends who were also starting collections would “buy” from me or even ones who needed gifts for weddings…. Basically that how it started. Friends….. that’s why the gallery is called art19b, coz my house number is 19… and I wanted it to be an extension of the house.
Traveler on Foot : Did it require you to invest a lot of money to put up Art19B?
Carina: The gallery in Cubao is actually an offshoot of the gallery at home. I really started selling form the house, until every single nook, wall space and even ceiling space was filled with paintings and my parents started complaining that perfect strangers were going around the house already. The space in Cubao Expo was a Godsend… I was walking around and asked them if there was any available space. When they showed me the space right there and then I gave a deposit. Made very minimal renovations with instructions (all I want are white walls) and there… the gallery was open.
Traveler on Foot : What problems did you encounter while starting?
Carina: I have to be honest, it really started more as a hobby than anything so I really cannot recall any major problems when we opened. It was more like “hey guys, guess what… I finally opened a gallery and it’s in … all places… Cubao… daan kayo” and people just started passing by and hanging out. I have enough inventory (up to now) to have several exhibits and then artists started asking to have exhibits in the gallery and things just kind of moved form there.
Traveler on Foot : How do you keep yourself updated in the art scene?
Carina: I go to exhibits when I have the time and regularly look around galleries. Which is not really work but more of my way of relaxing. I also collect art books and have artists friends who I regularly hang out with so that’s where I “sagap balita”
Traveler on Foot : Where do you get the artworks that you sell in your gallery?
Carina: I buy direct from artists or sometimes a collector will unload certain pices of their collection to me.
Traveler on Foot : What standards do you follow in selecting the artworks to sell in your gallery?
Carina: I have to like it. Yon lang. hahahhaa. I don’t care about anything else. Basta if I like it, I’ll hang it.
Traveler on Foot : What is your thought on exclusivity of an artist to a gallery?
Carina: Like anything, it’s both good and bad. If it’s a mutually beneficial relationship, then why not? If both the artist and the gallery honor the soul of the exclusivity of the contract (the gallery will promote the artist and at the same time the artist will promote the gallery) then I think exclusivity is super great. Personally, I don’t have any exclusive artists (yet) in the gallery because I’m still very small and can’t really afford the commitment required for exclusivity. And I always tell them, if another gallery can give you a good offer… then go!!!! Happy pa ako.
Traveler on Foot : Who are your favorite artists?
Carina: Wow. That’s a toughie. (and also one that will put me in hot water if my artists friends read this… hehehehe) Every artist I think evokes a different emotion so it’s really hard to say. I really like the works of Tito Ola (Romulo Olazo) and Tito Angel (Angel Cacnio). I think Garibay and Borlongan are just pure genius. Clem Aragons paintings either make me cry or horny. Hahahahha. The colors of Joey Herrera and Eric Mercado make me happy. Noel Mahilum makes me smile, and I think Jun Martinez’s portraits are the best glow any woman can get. 🙂 even beter than glutathione. Hahahhaa.
Traveler on Foot : Which (or whose) artworks are selling like pancakes?
Carina: Tito Ola’s works are always a best seller. Specially his sketches.
Traveler on Foot : Which (or whose) artworks are good to collect (address to new collectors)?
Carina: I think you really have to like the piece…. Don’t depend on the name or anything. Trust your judgment and if the piece calls you… then that piece is yours.
Traveler on Foot : What do you think are the factors that influence the price of an artist’s work?
Carina: If it’s price… Like anything Simple supply and demand. But then I’ve also seen some prices go crazy especially with the modern young artists. Parang… teka paano nangyari yon? Hahahah
Traveler on Foot : How do you determine the authenticity of an artwork?
Carina: It really depends on who the artist is. If they’re still alive then its easy you just bring it to them to the artist and have them authenticated ( I have issues though for artists who are still alive and CHARGE for authenticating, medyo nakakapalan ako don. – I mean these people bought your work when you were still unknown and put their faith and money in you then…. Why charge them now????)
Traveler on Foot : Describe an emerging artist
Carina: I think any artist whose works are appreciated by others…. But honestly I don’t know how to answer that question. Hahahhaa
Traveler on Foot : How can you predict an emerging artist’s career?
Carina: Oh gosh, with the industry now its almost like gambling na. But aside from talent…. Which is paramount…. The other factor to look at is the determination and discipline of an artist. If you can see and feel their passion…. For me anyways, your pretty sure that that person will make an impact in the art scene in one form or another.
Traveler on Foot : What are the criteria to consider in choosing to collect works of an emerging artist?
Carina: My philosophy is simple: Like their work.
Traveler on Foot : What is the price range of an artwork by an emerging artist?
Carina: Ay that depends…. It can be as low as 500 pesos. Swerte swertihan lang yan
Traveler on Foot : How could you tell a customer’s preference in art and what artwork to offer them?
Carina: You basically just watch them and kinda eavesdrop on what they say… if they are attracted to realist works… then its gonna be a hard sell to sell them modern or abstract pieces… And of course, talk to them. Usually when they start talking about themselves its easy to find out what it is they like.
Traveler on Foot : What factors should new collectors consider in buying art?
Carina: My cardinal rule is: they have to love the work. Everything else is secondary. Pero on a practical note syempre they have to consider the price. Galleries nowadays are very considerate naman and have pieces to adapt to all sorts of budget. Also check on the reputation of the seller.
If they are buying masters, the provenance and authenticity of the work.
Traveler on Foot : Describe a good (safe) buy?
Carina: Oh that’s an impossible question to answer because it really depends on the collector.
Traveler on Foot : What is your advice to collectors who are starting to build their own collection?
Carina: Trust your instincts. Also expose yourself as much as possible to ALL forms of art. And you can start form there. Attend exhibits, read books and articles, and really only buy pieces that move you. It’s very exciting to see where your taste will go… collecting kasi, theres a learning curve… and it’s a very very high learning curve. And its nice to see how you mature as time passes.
Traveler on Foot : What is your advice to the emerging artist who wants to have their works marketed in a gallery?
Carina: Be professional. Act professionally so the galleries will take you seriously. Do not ever peddle your works. Bring portfolios and even burn cds of your work so that we galleries know you are serious about your art. Have an updated resume. Join competitions and also attend exhibits of toher arists.
Traveler on Foot : What is your advice to those who are planning to put up their art gallery?
Carina: Naku, I am the so wrong gallery owner to ask kasi mine is still a work in progress.
Traveler on Foot : What is your future plan for Art19B?
Carina: More exhibits. More hanging out time with friends and artists. I want art19b not just to be an art gallery but a sanctuary of sorts for both artists and art lovers. Now what that means, I will see unfold at the same time as you (Traveler on Foot).
Visit Art 19B at Cubao Expo along General Romulo Avenue, Cubao and at SM North EDSA Interior Zone both in Quezon City.
Contact numbers: 02.9716.3.71 | 0928.521.43.48 | 0920.906.56.50