Jemma Clouston Pile runs the Buckinghamshire-based art consultancy Twist Art, connecting collectors with a portfolio of talented British contemporary artists. Twist was due to hold a pop-up exhibition at The North Wall in June 2020 but instead has taken the exhibition online – click to view the digital exhibition catalogue. We spoke to Jemma about her role as an art consultant:
Can you tell us how you became an art consultant?
I have always loved art, and studied History of Art at Exeter Art College. I very quickly realised that I couldn’t compete with the amazing talent that I was surrounded by, but I also realised that when I loved something I really could rave about it. An old family friend introduced me to the London-based art consultancy called Project Art, who then offered me summer work just after I graduated. It was the best decision I made to take it, although i wasn’t happy at the time about having my summer cut short – I didn’t leave until setting up twist in 2007!
What does your day-to-day life look like?
My day to day life is varied but fun (mostly) – these days, its a constant juggle, like so many other people, between giving work enough time and my kids enough time! I am always on the hunt for new talent, so try and visit as many art shows as I can, both locally and in London. I also like to try and catch up with the artists I am already in touch with, seeing what they are doing, collecting pieces from them to show to clients, discussing future shows etc. Some days I am off visiting clients looking at blank walls that need filling, talking clients through a specially curated 2-D portfolio of work based on their brief, and also collecting works from artists and taking them to clients wanting to see pieces in situ.
How do you go about selecting which artists to work with?
My selection process is easy – primarily I have to love the artists work – all of their work. I really think it is only possible to sell work that you genuinely love.
You work with collectors as well as architects and interior designers – how does your approach differ depending on the client’s needs?
I’m not sure my approach does differ between the various people I work with. Everyone has a brief of sorts, be it budget, size, colour preferences. style preferences.. some are just more specific than others! I love the challenge of finding them something that they will love.
Is there anyone new this year to your portfolio in the Twist pop-up exhibition? Tell us what excites you about their work.
Yes! Alan Watson – I actually stumbled on his beautiful ‘kirk’ on our honeymoon in Orkney 16 years ago, and was looking at the pieces we bought (still on our sitting room wall) and started searching for him. Thankfully I found him and have fallen back in love with his work. He just captures the magical spirit of the sea so beautifully and skilfully.
I am showing Lene Bladbjerg’s clever screen prints for the first time. I had seen her work around and finally got in touch before Christmas. Her editions are large which means that her print prices are extremely reasonable – I love the fact that you can own a beautifully printed (by hand) work on paper for £70. Her subjects and titles are very clever and often humorous too!
Finally Jenny Morse is new to twist this year – actually this is not strictly true – I was in touch with Jenny years ago but she got in touch recently seeing that I had re-started twist. Her unique ‘screen-printed paintings’ consist of layers and layers of painted screen prints, added to over long periods of time. Their depth and sense of colour are mesmerising. You miss so much of their intricacy by not seeing them in the flesh, this is the case with so much of the work showing in this virtual pop up. However I think and hope that it is better than doing nothing. So far the show has had a great response and I feel pleased that the artists, who have so kindly agreed to take part, have had a platform of sorts despite The North Wall not being open. Here’s to next year!