What is your Favorite AK Item and why?
I got the chicest AK credit card case a million years ago and it has served so many purposes throughout the different phases of my life. Princeton Bank debit card and student ID at first, then subway card and driver's license, and now it's where I keep my KBC business cards.
What are your top 10 latest obsessions and what you can not live without and why?
I'm having another baby in August so I foresee a lot of Lululemon in my future. I just bought a mid-thigh gray cowl-neck snap sweatshirt/sweater that works indoors over leggings and outside over jeans.
Staying on this storyline...there are also some Rag and Bone boyfriend "jeans" that are actually sweatpants perfectly printed to look like blue jeans. I need them!
There are so many art exhibitions in New York each week that it's impossible to keep track of them all. I subscribe to a list created by a professor from Bard which details, from South to North in all 5 boroughs, every show in the city, with the shows opening that week highlighted.
All my life, I've kept a by-hand calendar, and when I moved to New York to work for Glenda Bailey, the British Editor-in-Chief of Harper's Bazaar, I discovered Smythson and never looked back. Every year I get a new diary from them where I keep all of my appointments and to-do lists. I can't use any of the online systems!
My new friend Fiona Waterstreet (who, incidentally, is married to the beloved Texas artist John Alexander) makes beautiful pottery. I am coveting several of her vases from the shop Homer in downtown New York.
The artist Athena LaTocha came to my attention recently and I love everything I've seen by her. She was the recipient of a Rauschenberg grant and spent time in Captiva, Florida creating beautiful drawings made from Sumi ink on photo paper.
We have two cats, Potato and Gray Kitty, and my Charlotte Olympia cat flats are my current favorite wardrobe addition. Our little boy loves when I wear them and calls the kitties "Whiskers" and "Meowy."
What is your background?
I'm from Houston where I attended St. John's, went on to Princeton where I received a BA in Comparative Literature. Then, off to work at Harper's Bazaar as an Assistant to the Editor in Chief/European Market Associate/Accessories Editor, then to Christie's (MA Modern Art, Connoisseurship, and the History of the Art Market) and now Kate Bellin Contemporary.
What inspired you to start your own company?
I had been working toward consulting for several years before I actually launched my company. After graduating with my MA from Christie's, I worked for several galleries and a museum doing freelance curatorial work. Working freelance allowed me not only to see first hand how galleries worked but also to spend the rest of my time immersed in the New York art scene, getting to know well the galleries and artists in all 5 boroughs. What were missing were clients - and this was remedied the minute I had a baby. There is nothing like a great Mom's network to spread the word about a friend's new company.
Art is very intimidating to some - can you talk about your approach with clients specifically those new to art collecting on a small budget?
No matter what their budget, I always tell my clients only to buy things that have meaning to them. This meaning can reside in the pictorial content of the art, or in a childhood connection to the style (for example, one may have grown up in a house with abstract paintings and may be drawn to those). But usually, it has to be cultivated by me and by the client: see a piece of art that you like, then learn about the artist, see more pieces by that artist, spend time with the artist at his studio, meet the artist's friends, know the other artists at this artist's gallery, etc. This type of educating is a large part, and one of the most fun parts, of my job.
What are some of your favorite artists people should pay attention to now?
Jeremy De Prez is a Houston artist who is doing wonderful things. He recently had a fantastic show at Texas Gallery with the artist Jeff Elrod.
You are also a mother - What are some of your sanity tips for other working mothers?
Someone once told me that everything is a phase, but that there is always another phase. The idea that we can't control everything in our children's lives is an important one; otherwise we might waste a lot of time trying. One thing that has helped Andy and me from the beginning is talking to our little boy like an adult; in return, he has been speaking to us clearly since he was little and it has made it much easier to know what he wants. Plus, it's more fun when conversations go two ways. We try to teach Lucky to be kind, to be polite, to be curious, and to stay in his own bed at night. Otherwise there aren't very many rules in our house.
Personal Mantra or quote you tote around with you?
When I was little, my sister Annie wrote a story in school about a princess and at the end it said:
Moral: If you are nice, there are good consequences. But if you are mean, there are bad consequences.
What are your favorite apps on your iPhone or iPad?
My ipad now belongs to my little boy, Lucky, who is 2.5. He watches Dora and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood in our bed...on the plane...in a taxi...in his comfy chair....
What are your beauty essentials?
I have used Dove soap and Neutrogena shampoo since I was little and don't plan ever to use anything else! And anyone can tell you about my undying love for Cover Girl lipslicks and Elchim hairdryers.
You have a fabulous sense of style and very chic - can you share some of your staples with us?
My staples have been the same since I started working at Harper's Bazaar in 2002 and developed a sense of which pieces from which brands worked for me: Chloe blouses, Stella pants, J Crew sweaters, Louboutin flats, Prada coats.
My fabulous mom also taught me how to find beautiful fabrics and have favorite pieces made to measure.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I truly don't have time for many guilty pleasures anymore! But I do rely heavily on Uber (Bring Uber to Houston!) to get me where I need to be, on time, particularly in the snowy Polar Vortex that is New York.
Who is Kate Bellin and why do we love her?
I am so excited to introduce you to one of the most fabulous and beautiful girls I know. Kate and I first met at Cimarroncita Ranch Camp ages ago and she has always been such a brainiac beauty with one of the most inviting and warm smiles. Such an envious combo until you meet her and notice that she is also amazingly kind, generous and grateful and you are thankful there are people like her in the world and wishing there were more.
Kate is a fantastically chic working mother, making art appreciation and collection an enjoyable and accessible task and trumping the snobby stereotypes it can bring out all too often. I am honored to say I have known Kate and her precious family since she was a little girl and I am so excited to share her latest venture with you: her fantastic art consulting business, Kate Bellin Contemporary, which is based out of New York and Houston.
Prior to founding her own company, Kate worked for institutions such as Acquavella Galleries and Blain di Donna Gallery, as well as the Parrish Museum in Southampton, New York. She has contributed several years of research to the Jasper Johns Catalogue Raisonné of Painting and Sculpture. She is the wife to husband, Andy, and a marvelous mother to son, Lucky.