BASED IN: BEIJING, CHINA
What do you do?
I am the founder of Almost Art Project (AAP). AAP is a guerrilla art festival that presents unknown artists from China. Participating artists include outsider artists, comic artists, street artists and some photographers. It creates a platform for exhibiting and selling their works. Our project was recently invited on to a BBC podcast program called Cultural Frontline to discuss alternative art.
I am also a gallerist. I run a gallery called Tabula Rasa Gallery, which is located in Beijing 798 Art Zone.
What is your background? Did your previous experiences contribute to where you are today?
I come from a business-savvy family, which to some degree gives me the necessary resources and experience in running my own business. I believe I have a business sense nurtured by my family, thus I earned a finance degree as an undergraduate. Then I turned to art and received an M.A degree from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London. I once held a position as a senior editor of The Art Newspaper China, and also took part in many art fair projects. These experiences helped me navigate to where I am now.
When and why did you decide to take the leap of faith in launching your own business?
Being a women entrepreneur is always my dream. I know I got something for business when I was quite young, and I am always able to come up with creative ideas while doing the teamwork. That’s why I thought I could start a thing on my own. Before launching AAP, I had already planned to quit my job and to make a turn. During the shift, I bumped into an outsider artist who inspired me to build this platform. I was so excited and passionate about what I was doing at that time, and I spent 7 months last year seeking for outsider artists around China. It was painstaking but fun!
Among the people sharing the similar background with you, what makes you stand out from the others?
I am good at converting ideas into action. Many intelligent people that I know are good at making plans, but the majority of them fail to achieve it because they don't work on it. Creativity is also important, which distinguishes yourself from other people.
You seem very decisive and motivated!
I believe so. I realized that there is supply and demand after I researched the market, then I made a budget and controlled it very well within my capacity.
I know that some of your colleagues are your best friends. Can you talk about the experience of working with close friends?
For me, working with friends is awesome. It is easy for us to reach a tacit agreement and to proceed the business. However, the relationship can be delicate and sensitive at some point where it needs careful handling.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to build a business in the art industry or in the wider world?
It is necessary to make the best use of every experience. Even the most basic experience will help one improve his/her work performance. And I believe it is important to be able to weigh your financial ability and control your budget as an entrepreneur. Most importantly, everyone should follow his/her real passion and stick to a final goal!