Dylan Minowa has headed our Art Advisory team since he began with Sorelle in January, 2021. This week, we sat down with Dylan and chatted about all things art - his background in the industry, trends and artwork he's loving, his advisory and design process, and more. Read on to get to know Dylan, and learn more about his advisory approach to working with clients.
Our Talk with Lead Art Advisor Dylan Minowa
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Connecticut and have been living in Milford, CT since graduating in 2020. Outside of work I am an avid shopper, love to travel, and can always find me at a vineyard with family or friends.
What is your background in the arts?
I received my BA in Art History at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. Prior to university, I was an amateur photographer. I went into college hoping to pursue a degree in fine art photography but ended up changing majors. I had been required to take a few art history courses and they ended up capturing my attention. I was fascinated by how art is ever-changing, and the effect it has on society’s culture.
What drew you to visual arts and fine art gallery work?
I guess you could say I was exposed to visual arts at a young age. My mom was always a “craftsy” person and it was my grandpa who introduced me to photography. He even gave me my first camera, which was a Canon AE-1. In terms of gallery work, it wasn’t a thought that crossed my mind until learning about it in college. Some of my professors had worked in galleries, and we had visiting lecturers talk about their experience in the fine art industry. I think what ultimately drew me to it was the close relations you get to have with artists, and the more business-focused aspect of the arts.
Tell us about what art advisory looks like at Sorelle – walk us through your advisory process with clients.
- Learning about the Space
- We generally start with one or two initial meetings with the client. This is the part where we get to know the client and better understand their needs. Whether their space is ready or under construction, the client provides us with all the details, i.e. wall color, fabrics, furniture style, etc.
- Selection of the Artwork
- As Art Advisors we methodically break down the space and your design. We will pull from our extensive inventory to find art that might compliment or contrast with your space. It is our job to present you with options and those options could mean coming out of your comfort zone. The great thing about art is that it can really inspire people, and make it easier to think outside the box or embrace the unexpected.
- At this stage, we have all the information about your project. The client has two options when viewing the artwork we have selected. Option one is taking the art out on approval, where we help to curate the physical space, and the client can live with the work before making a final decision. Option two is seeing digitally superimposed renderings of the artwork on the client's walls, which also provides highly accurate visuals.
- Once the client has reviewed the artwork and made their final decision, it’s time to hang the artwork depending on the client's needs. If the client opted to have the work framed, they would work with our referred framer and/or installation services to place the work in their home. Sorelle provides assistance in finding outside professional services to address anything the client may need.
What’s your favorite part of the process?
My favorite part has to be the presentation. I feel so much joy when I can open my client’s eyes to the possibilities of what will work for them and their space. In other words, they might find interest in an artist they didn’t notice before, or could find new inspiration on how they want to curate their space. This is also the part in the process where the client starts to see everything come together. They're always surprised at how much of a difference the art makes.
How do you help clients who need art, but don’t know what they like/want/will work in their space? Where do you start?
I always want my clients, even beginners, to come into the gallery with an open mind. I like to move past the simple reaction of whether you “love it” or “hate it.” Instead, I'd prefer them to ask themselves, “Is this artwork interesting to me?” Or “Do I have a connection to this piece?” This shifts the mentality when approaching art. I ask my client if there is anything that stands out to them hanging on the wall in the gallery, or a particular artist on the website. Subsequently, I can gauge what peaks my client’s interests and that becomes a great starting point, and we go from there.
What’s the most undervalued room (in terms of needing art)?
I feel as though the bedroom is sometimes overlooked. Most of the time, people want to showcase their artwork for everyone to see. Don’t get me wrong, I stand behind that! However, artwork that you connect more deeply or personally with can, and sometimes should be displayed where you most frequent. The bedroom is where you relax - it's actually a really important room!
What advice do you have for clients just starting out collecting art or adding art to their home?
This might sound cliché, but follow your intuition. What you're drawn to will always resonate on a personal level, and the best art collection reflects who you are as an individual.
What’s your favorite artwork style at the moment?
Gestural abstract art. I really love Kelly Rossetti’s new collection on raw linen.
Favorite art style/movement historically?
I think my favorite period will always be Early 20th Century art, specifically the movements of Fauvism and Color Field painting. I've always been drawn to Henri Matisse’s work, because of the intense color palette. During my time in Washington D.C., I was introduced to artists like Howard Mehring, Thomas Downing, and Sam Gilliam. Although their artwork was minimal, the execution made it less so. Experimentation was key in the application of paint, and even in the idea of how a canvas could be presented. For example, Downing began to stretch his canvases into different forms, and Gilliam suspended them, ultimately playing on how a painting interacts with its environment.
Why do you think art is so important when piecing together a home?
Overall, art is a way to bring life into your home. There is nothing wrong with a blank wall, but to me, it oftentimes feels like something is missing. Once you add artwork, it brings a new energy into the room. A home is “your place” and you want to feel a sense of comfort. Acquiring and incorporating artwork can accomplish that almost instantly. Also, with every artwork in your home, you are ultimately extending a piece of yourself - it's an expression of you.
Why do you think art is important in general?
Art has the power to heal. Looking at and making art takes our minds away from everyday issues. It allows for a mental reset, focusing on the now. More importantly, stopping to appreciate art sparks dialogue, and it challenges you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, consider an alternate perspective. “What’s the message behind the work?” “Why was this created?” Having these conversations prompts new ideas, which you can ultimately utilize in your own life.
Any art or design trends you’re loving at the moment?
I am obsessed with Mid-Century Modern! What I love most about it is how you can mix and match the furniture and décor, whether it be the materials and textures, or neutrals with bold colors. It is always fun to play around with this design trend. Also, the element of curvature in mid-century furniture and the interior design style overall has an elegant look that still feels casual and inviting.
If you had to pick a piece from the Sorelle collection to hang on your own home, which would it be and why?
Ooooh, just one? Okay, that’s tough. At the moment, I think I would say Moon Dance by Ned Martin. I love how his thick, intentional brushstrokes contrast with the geometric plane that the piece encapsulates. The painting has a neutral color palette, but then you get these hints of light violet and orange under layers that give depth and life to the work. A great thing about this piece is that it is very transitional. Even though it is contemporary the painting can be hung to update a traditional home, or soften a modern interior.
What do you hope to accomplish for your clients?
At the end of the day, I want my clients to feel a sense of pride and fulfillment from their purchase! By establishing a connection with their art, I hope they achieve a long-term enjoyment to be passed down through generations.
To connect with Dylan for a project, contact him at email@example.com. You can also shop the Staff Picks collection to see which pieces our Art Advisory team are loving at the moment.