To experience the wonders of life and colors of life is to experience life through the lens of Art Expression. The most powerful dreamers and revolutionaries are those that courageously express their creativity through the spirit that lives inside of them. We are so blessed to have the lens of art to awaken our spirit and relish in the aliveness that the landscape of art offers. Patricia De Picciotto of NY Art Experience is a brilliant art curator and guide offering her expertise through curated tours, events and experiences. Her colorful jovial open mind and heart allows a beautiful space for creating a personalized exploration for each participant to have a unique inspired experience. If you’re someone wanting to enrich your life with the inspiration of art and creative expression, read my interview with Patricia to learn more on the nature of NY Art Experience.
Hi Patricia, it’s such a pleasure to feature you and learn about your passion with Art culture.Let’s begin with learning about your personal journey of habituating around the globe that led to your art exposure.
Thank you so much Joy for having me on your site. I am grateful to have met you through your breathwork workshop, which was a very strong, unique and defining experience. I was able to connect deeply with my inner self and to open my eyes on certain of my life’s purposes that I will explore further now.
Where were you born and where have you lived throughout your life?
I was born in Hong Kong where my father relocated for work after leaving Lebanon. I grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, until I was 21, from Nursery to College’s graduation. With a business degree in hand I went to London for three years where I earned my Graduate Gemologist and Jewelry designer diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). This is also where I started my career in Jewelry interning first at Christie’s then at Christian Dior.
In a random twist of faith, while visiting my mother who was living in São Paulo Brazil, I decided to stay for a few months to learn Portuguese and then go back to London with a fourth spoken language in my pocket. I ended up meeting Patrick (currently my husband) and extended my stay…for ten years!!
A decade and three kids later we decided to move to New York to raise our kids in a culturally diverse and international city where my husband could also work from.
When did you first feel your love for Art culture?
Growing up in Geneva I would not go a lot to the museum (except the museum of Natural History close to where I lived), as there were not too many galleries or art institutions at that time (it really changed now). I would go to Paris a lot with my family and my first real museum experience as a kid was at the Louvre. My school would also take us on museum trips or cultural trips for a few days. But I would say I really started appreciating going to the museum when I moved to London in my early 20’s: the GIA campus was next to the British Museum.
Did you have education and experience in your earlier years with Art and Art History? Can you tell us what that was like for you, how did this influence you?
Unfortunately not in my earlier years…I started studying Art History after I moved to Sao Paulo and was fluent enough to follow Art History classes. Growing up with a banker father in a city known for its banks and jewelry stores, I thought that getting an economy degree before getting my GIA diploma, while interning in banks and financial magazine, was the most logical path… at least the one that was traced for me.
I don’t like to have regrets but if I could go back to College, I would have studied Art History and French literature. This little sorrow of mine pushed me and motivated me to be an eternal student. Since then I have been reading a lot and will never stop learning about art.
What recent education can you share that led you to your work with sharing with others?
When I moved to São Paulo at 24 years old, I wasn’t a college student but still enrolled in an intensive Portuguese class for foreign students for a semester at FAAP. We had four hours of Portuguese every day from Monday to Thursday, and every Friday cultural field trips. I basically visited in six month all the museums, touristic and historic sites of the city, probably more than what my friends or husband who grew up there had visited in their hometown. The next semester I took my first real Art History classes in that same college once I was fluent enough to follow classes in Portuguese.
Once I decided to stay and live in Brazil, I created my own jewelry brand – Pasha Joias -, where I was hand-making the first prototype: that was also my first really creative experience. But I kept on studying Art for years after a friend of mine Alessandra, invited me to join a private group of collectors who were taking weekly classes with an artist and also visiting studios and private collections. It was the catalyst to starting collecting art as well as going to art fairs and wanting to learn more.
I would always come to NYC to visit for a few days and hit all the major museums or Chelsea Galleries, but when I moved here in March 2015, I wasn’t working at that time, and wanted to take advantage of everything the City has to offer. I would walk for miles everyday visiting and discovering different neighborhoods. I am real tourist at heart, so all of a sudden I was in Wonderland! I explored the city for a year and a half until it became really clear that I was such an Art enthusiast and an eternal tourist in my new city, that I should combine both passions to make it a profession. I enrolled at Christie’s Education in the Modern and Art History Program for a year to deepen my knowledge. Of all the art courses I took, this was by far the best experience of my life. It combined art history classes with the best lecturers in their field, some art market vision, weekly museum, gallery or artist studio visits, as well as day trips to museum outside of the city. We also went to Art Basel Miami and Paris for our graduation trip. It opened my eyes like never before. I had this regret of not having studied Art History in college, but to study it in NY was sooo much better! I was never exposed to art this way before. Anything you would study in class was on view a few blocks away at the Met or the MoMA, or right downstairs at the Auction House.
Where do you draw most of your passion from and what inspires you most with discovering new Artist’s?
From the City itself! New York is an endless source of inspiration. There are countless numbers of museums, galleries, art institutions, exhibitions, shows, auction houses and artists studios to explore. I can’t even keep up with all the openings and cultural events. At some point you have to choose, especially with a husband and three little boys at home;-)
The Christies course really opened my eyes and broadened my art scene, but even after that, I got to discover so many artists and galleries, especially in the Lower East Side and Chelsea.
What do your Art tours offer?
My art tours consist of a 2-hour visit of galleries on the Lower East Side or Chelsea. It offers a personal curation of shows/galleries to bee seen at that moment. There are over 300 galleries in Chelsea and almost the same amount in the LES: it can be very overwhelming to find where to go, what to see. There is also a shyness factor that some of my clients had before taking tours: big galleries can be very intimidating, especially when you walk in and no one says hi, you don’t know if you can come in or ask questions. Some people were actually shocked that you could see several major artists and shows, for free, so up close and without a museum’s crowd.
What do you aspire your clients to experience with taking a tour with you?
I want them to know they can go see art everywhere, anytime, and without reticence or insecurity because they don’t understand anything about art. Actually the more you see, the more you learn and the more you really appreciate it. Visiting galleries with a guide (or any city and museum) is always a different experience. You get a better understanding at what you see when you have more facts in hands like the artist’s biography, pictures of previous shows, details about his artistic process and inspiration behind the artworks. It gives the viewer a whole other dimension to what they are looking at, a greater understanding and appreciation of the artist and his work.
How does one go about arranging a tour or signing up for a tour? And need we have experience in Art culture?
One can arrange a tour by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org by sending me a message on Instagram@nyartexperience. I have my mailing of clients for each language I give a tour in (French, Portuguese and English) and once I fix a date, I send an email. But anyone can approach me to book a tour with a minimum of 3 people and maximum of ten.
No experience in art is needed, as my objective is to explain in the most approachable way possible so that anyone can understand. Also, when an artist has some influences from other artists or art movements, I always show pictures so they can visually put the facts in their context. I was saying earlier that walking into a gallery could be very intimidating, but trying to read a press release can also be very challenging and discouraging. That’s why I will adapt and try to simplify the explanations so anyone can enjoy the tour and appreciate better what they see.
What are some exciting projects you’re working on with NY Art Experience?
I would like to take the NY Art Experience to another level and take groups for day trips outside of NY and even do art trips that will mix sightseeing with well being. A break one would give itself to nourish the brain and the soul.
Can you share a bit on your personal lifestyle and how you take time for self care?
I wish I could have some great physical activities and achievements to share, but my only “work-out” is walking everywhere, as much as possible. To keep myself active and my metabolism fast, I keep track of my steps and have an annual average of 10’000 steps a day.
I don’t have any dietary restrictions, I eat anything I want in moderation. I will have a matcha latte with almond milk every day to start my day, it’s my biggest addiction. I’m an only an occasional drinker and, if I have one drink, it will be a Moscow Mule (I love Ginger Beer) or a rosé with tons of ice!
I don’t do any particular treatment but will get facials every 2-3 months to keep my pores clean. I don’t expose my skin to the sun, ever! And I wear sunscreen everyday, winter or summer, as my bb cream has a high spf. I put sunscreen all over my body when I leave the house in the summer (spf 100). I am almost a vampire, I hide from the sun, I love warm weather and the sea side but only from a shadowy terrace! That’s my common ground with Korean women who protect their skin from any sun exposure, and it’s probably that’s why I only use K-Beauty products since I discovered my first Erborian BB cream ten years ago.
I don’t do the daily regimen but when I have time I will do the whole peeling/sheet mask/serum routine or get a body scrub at a Korean SPA.
What feels most JOYFUL in your life momentarily?
This was a year of mixed feelings: it was great professionally, full of fun moments and parties with friends, but very challenging personally as I had to face some sad periods of sickness and loss in my family.
Any of my artsy escapes, like an afternoon in galleries or a visit to a museum, bring me so much joy. I just came back from 4 days in Miami, with an intensive art program from 10am to midnight every day. It was exactly the break I needed.
Any moments I can spend with my husband and kids, without having to care about homework, daily schedules, dinners and house chores are Joyful. Basically any weekends spent cozy at home and family trips.