As the head of the Art Department Illustration Division Stephanie Pesakoff has been providing budding artists with both professional guidance and friendship for more than sixteen years. From Wayne Pate to Hugo Guinness she's represented some of Matchbook's favorite talents and the walls of her charming Chelsea apartment reflect her fine artistic taste. Just over a year ago Stephanie and her equally entrepreneurial sister joined forces to launch Stampa a site that sells limited edition prints by their talented friends. From still lifes by Bella Foster to interiors by Virginia Johnson we can't get enough! Join us as we sit down with Stephanie to chat about art, decorating, and dachshunds.
**Stampa is graciously offering our readers 20% off all framed prints through 3/31/13! Use code IHEARTART at checkout!**
What were your early encounters with art?
My mom took us to a lot of museums and I took some art classes. I grew up in a modern house in the South, which was an anomaly. Also, my uncle gave me a subscription to Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine when I was twelve. I still treasure and refer to those early issues!
Are you yourself an artist?
No, but it’s a fantasy.
How did you pursue a professional career in such a unique industry – promoting and fostering artistic talents?
It was kind of a fluke! When I moved to New York after college I felt frustrated, doing non-creative jobs in different creative industries. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I took a position as a receptionist at a big commercial agency and basically fell in love with the industry. I find it to be the perfect marriage of art and business. Plus I love connecting people and projects.
Is there a method to discovering the talented artists you represent?
We are lucky that so many talented people reach out to us. The agency receives around 500 submissions a year from artists looking to be represented. We carefully consider every submission and take on only four or five new people annually. We choose people whose work we love and whose style fits well with our existing roster. Generally speaking, I look for artists who have a distinctive and unique style that appeals to my own taste and sensibilities. Also we only represent artists who are nice people and are professional to deal with. I find it’s really important!
Once you partner with the artist, what does the relationship entail?
We work with our artists to understand their objectives and goals for their career and utilize our connections to help bring those to fruition. Essentially we manage the day-to-day commercial side of their work so they are freed up to use their time to be creative and make art.
You recently launched an online art site, Stampa. What inspired its creation?
My sister and I had talked about doing a print business together for years. At the agency we get tons of requests from people looking to buy our artists’ work and we wanted to make it accessible.
Where do you see Stampa in the next few years?
I hope we will continue to reach a broader audience of people looking to buy art they love and can afford. Also it would be great to have a presence in the hospitality industry. We would love to fill hotel rooms with our prints!
Have you noticed a change in illustration throughout your career?
It has been more like an ever-evolving cycle than one specific change. I find the more iconic an artist’s style, the more likely they are to be successful commercially, so we try to encourage them to be true to themselves and do what really inspires them. Illustration continues to be a bold choice for many clients as most are just more accustomed to working with photography. I enjoy the process of discovery where clients realize they can achieve nearly anything they want creatively using illustration, often much more simply and more affordably.
What is the best part of your job?
Being surrounded by so many inspired and inspiring people and images.
Do you find that the illustrations you surround yourself with at work bleed into your interior style?
Absolutely. I represent artists whose work I love and I take a similar approach at home, surrounding myself with an eclectic mix of objects and artwork I love. There are definitely some common threads between the two – I gravitate toward color, pattern, charm, and a graphic sensibility. Plus I think I have visual ADD, so I need a lot of stimulation in that area!
What is the most important decorating advice you've received?
My good friend Christopher Knight has impeccable taste and has been a great help. I affectionately call him my “frienderator.” He has taught me a few key things: to be fearless when it comes to creating a personal mix, to understand proportion and scale, to only buy pieces you really love, and, most importantly, to start with a great rug and the best paint job you can afford as these are the foundation of a lovely room.
What is the best way that one can make their home distinctly their own?
Art! Everyone has their own subjective response to art so it can really help them define their home. Decorating is a personal and ongoing process...I believe in collecting as you go, wherever you go, whether that’s a trip out of town or just browsing online.
How can a Matchbook girl not only celebrate, but support artists?
It’s the obvious answer – buy more art!! These days it’s increasingly accessible. There is so much art to see and there are so many venues in which to see it....museums, galleries, art fairs, websites, blogs, art schools. When you buy art you’re adding something beautiful to your own environment and at the same time supporting someone creative, so it’s a win-win!