Up Close and Personal: Curator Mashonda Tifrere
Mashonda, I first saw your amazing curated show for @ArtLeadHer at Joseph Gross Gallery here in NYC and loved your choice of artists. How did that show come about and how did you choose the artists in that show? How did you get to be the muse of one of my faves, Sandra Chevrier? How I LOVED that painting!
Joseph Gross is a good art friend of mine. Early in 2016 he visited my home and was completely impressed by my art collection and the way I curated my walls. He knew that working with female artists was my passion and by the time I decided to launch ArtLeadHER in March 2016, Joseph felt it would be great to throw a launch party at his gallery. A month later he asked me to curate an all women show for him. It was a huge success.
At the time, I was scouting artists on IG. 80% of the artists from my first show were found on Instagram. I had to trust my eye and my instincts with the works because I had never seen them in person. Thankfully, I was right about everyone involved.
Sandra is amazing. I purchased a piece from her at Scope Miami a year prior. We stayed in touch after that and I continued to support her shows in different states. I posted an image of myself on IG one day and she immediately texted me, "I really love that image, do you mind sending me a high res?" Sure enough, a few months later she sent me a picture of myself as one of her "La Cage" Heroes. It was such an honor. Unreal to see myself in that way, created as a superhero by another woman. Ultimate empowerment!
What is ArtLeadHER all about? I think I know, but I certainly would like to hear it from you!
ArtLeadHER is a platform for woman in art to shine and grow. It's a network for educating and empowering women artists from all over the world.
I work hard to create opportunities for visual artists by way of exhibitions, philanthropy, and educational programming-workshops, panel discussions etc.
When curating an exhibit, what do you look for in an artist?
I always look for a sense of humanity, openness and, vulnerability. I want to feel something comforting or something uncomfortable. I look for quality. I want to go on your page and see that this is your passion. You sleep and breathe your skill. I look for artists that truly represent their God given talents.
What should an artist expect when working with you?
Dedication, availability, compassion, and a "go hard" frame of mind. When I work with an artist it becomes a sisterhood. I've got their back!
How can an artist grab your attention? Is it through Social Media, Direct Messages, etc.? How do you prefer to be contacted?
The work grabs my attention first. Then the energy that I feel from the way we interact.
DM is fine, but a formal email with images and a personal message always feels more sincere.
What is next for you?
More international shows and panel discussions. Also, ArtLeadHER partnered with Pen and Brush Gallery on Oct 12th for King Woman. This group exhibition will feature the work of 25 visual artists, including performance and video installations. I have uniquely paired underexposed female artists with their established contemporaries in an effort to support the less recognized artists within a community of like-minded women who share the ultimate goal of effecting real change in the marketplace for all women artists. If you are in NYC, please join me at opening night, Pen and Brush Gallery, 29 E 22 st New York City from 7-9 pm.
Where can our readers learn more about you and what you are doing within the art community?
Nicole Gordon is the Founder of Art Is My Oxygen and resides in New York City with her 2 children.