I first heard of Petra Wright and her fabulous reputation through other artists we both worked with. They all had nothing but wonderful things to about her and about the GDCA Gallery. When I met Petra in person, I was surprised by her warmth and genuine passion not only for art, but also for people – the artists as well as anyone else she came into contact with. She has such vision and empathy. She feels the paintings and the people. We were honored to have Petra share a little about her world of art with us.
What is Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts and what inspired you to get involved?
Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts (GDCA Gallery) is a full service contemporary art gallery catering to private and corporate clientele, ranging from ‘first-time’ to seasoned collectors. GDCA’s expertise includes a keen eye for emerging talent, a special relationship with established artists and an enthusiastic interest in undervalued artists. GDCA has access to a diverse body of works, that includes painting, sculpture, photography, and original works on paper or metal.
I started working for Gloria when I first arrived in LA and was working as an actress, but still in need of a day job in between gigs. It was a perfect marriage, as it allowed me to pursue my primary passion, acting, while being fully immersed in and learning about my second passion, visual art. I quickly transitioned from talent scout to administrative director.
Gloria & I opened our first public gallery together in Downtown Los Angeles in 2010. When Gloria turned 90 years old in 2014, she announced her retirement. She finally put the gun to my head in terms of taking over the gallery, which I did. I try to carry on Gloria’s legacy in terms of her artistic vision, as well as being a fierce supporter and arts advocate. To this day, I rely on her guidance and impeccable eye, curating a new exhibition every month.
What do you want to see reflected in your work?
I hope to be a liaison between artists and art lovers. My hope is that people will be able to find, love, and ultimately live with original artwork that uplifts them and brings them joy, that compels thought and reflection, and in turn inspires their own creativity. Original art gives you energy, as it is imbued with the life force of the artist. A piece of their soul is in that work and remains alive in it.
I personally collect, and I am continually inspired in different ways. I have pieces that I look to for motivation, for strength, and courage. Others that calm me and help me find my center – who I am, who I aim to be, and what I value most. There are pieces that transport me and allow me to dream, to free-associate, that stimulate my creativity. There are pieces that move me, that stir me.
I believe that there is a piece of art out there for every person – waiting – it is merely a matter of them finding each other. This is on the one hand, a matter of exposure – but much more so a matter of listening. Of learning who the person is and what it is that they are seeking. A house can be beautiful and serene and stylish – but a piece of art that you connect with, that you feel reflects your sensibilities and completes you, will truly make it a home.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
This answer is two-fold. In terms of working with clients, first time collectors are very special to me. I love being able to break down the stigma and the intimidation factor that surrounds much of visual art. I believe that you should collect from the heart. When first time collectors, take that leap to purchase a piece of original art – it is one of my proudest, most joy-filled moments.
I also love it, when clients surprise themselves. I recently worked with a wonderful couple, who had opposite tastes in art. While the husband very much liked abstract contemporary work, his wife was new to the idea. After we spent an afternoon talking and looking at various things in the gallery and in the “salon” – this is the back-room storage and viewing area of the gallery – we decided to bring various options out to their house. I believe we looked at 20 plus paintings. In the end, she chose a piece that she never in her wildest dreams would have believed she could love. We hung the piece for her. When she walked back into the room, this lovely, reserved woman literally jumped up and down and did a happy dance. It doesn’t get much better than that.
In terms of working with artists, I love being able to create a safe place for artists, where they feel supported and valued and seen. I love discovering new talent and being able to introduce new voices to the public. By the same token, I absolutely adore working with and learning from my experienced and mature artists. One hears that age-ism is rampant in the art world – I am proud to say that some of our top sellers and most admired, beloved and social media “followed” artists in the gallery are in their 80s!
Who or what inspires you?
I am a talent whore. I am inspired, nearly addicted to all forms of art – dance, the written word, the spoken word, music, food, architecture, fashion, design, nature. I am moved by beauty in all forms, including in ugliness and decay. I love finding beauty in the accidental. I find a lot of beauty in inadvertent urban abstractions, such as torn poster placards and painted over walls. I love juxtapositions. Industrial aesthetics, concrete and exposed bricks paired with elegance and nature. I love simplicity and purity, as much as chaos and expression. I admittedly have a penchant for the melancholy. I relate more to the minor than the major notes in life. It is hard for me to define beauty – but the common denominator, for lack of a better word, is soul.
What is your favorite place or thing to do in Los Angeles?
Currently one of my favorite treats to myself is to go to Grand Central Market and have Ramen Soup at Ramen Hood. It is vegan – which I am not – but the broth is an almost religious experience.
If you could pick a place to teleport to right now, where would you go?
NYC. It is my spiritual home. It is the place I feel most alive.
What’s your motto for life?
“May I never be complete. May I never be content. May I never be perfect.” —Chuck Palahniuk
We believe in creating really personal pieces of wearable art. For some, it’s a reflection of a personal truth they hold dear or a reminder of inner strength. Is there a piece of jewelry or some other personal talisman that reflects you, give you strength, or tells something of you?
There are two. I inherited a very minimal gold necklace from my mother. It is unusual in its thickness and how the links connect – they are seamless and quite heavy. It is very modern in its simplicity, and bold in its thickness; both are qualities I admire and seek to incorporate in my present life choices and looking to the future. At the same time, it is a visual and sense-memory of my mother and connects me to my past.
The second piece is my prized Claudia Endler Gold Cylinder necklace. I am rarely seen without it and have come to think of it as a sort of personal trademark piece. I have never found a piece of jewelry that so completely reflected my taste and aesthetics.
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