The Art of Strategy

Art strategy consultant: Unlock the potential of your art collection. Expert guidance to elevate your artistic vision and maximize its value.

By Alexandra Bychkova

Updated 08:42 pm EDT, September 1, 2023

Published 06:54 pm EDT, April 3, 2023

Photo Courtesy: Nadiia Chernovil

Nadiia Chernovil is a curator and theorist of visual culture, currently working between Doha, Qatar, and Palm Beach, USA. She has been a member of the Qatar Fine Arts Association since 2014 and a member of the Qatar Guides Association. From 1995 to 2000, she graduated from the Grekov Higher Education Institution with a degree in Art (Odessa, Ukraine). From 2000 to 2005, she obtained a master’s degree from the National Academy of Law. From 2000 to 2014, she was an entrepreneur in the field of international art and design (Qatar, Ukraine, USA, Italy, China, UK), agent, and strategic manager for the artist Andrii (Abhinava) Chernovil. Since 2014, she has worked as a private art consultant for members of the Qatari royal family (Doha, Qatar). In 2019, she completed training in strategic planning at Sotheby’s Institute of Art (Strategy and Planning). In 2020, she completed the “International Art Management. Professional” course at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev Institute of International Relations. Nadiia has appeared numerous times on CNN Ukraine, Ukrainian national television, ICTV, Qatari national television, Gulf Times, Qatar Tribune, and Al Watan and has provided art and business consulting on international radio stations and podcasts. She also created an educational television show about art and design for the Region Odesa TV and satellite TV channels. Nadiia has been writing about the art business since 2000. Her articles were published in the syndicated column “Art and Design Talks” and printed in Ukrainian and international magazines.

Photo Courtesy: Nadiia Chernovil

What is an art consultant, and how does it differ from a dealer, a gallerist, or an auction house expert? And how can they help you make money?

As an art consultant, I see my role as a “long-term relationship advisor.” Unlike art dealers, gallerists, or auction house experts who receive a percentage of the sale of works, I often work on a retainer and provide ongoing services to artists and collectors. My expertise may seem pedantic, but I also know how to have fun. As a one-person orchestra, I am simultaneously a friend, advisor, psychotherapist, and muse.

What are the trends in collecting?

Many factors shape trends in collecting. In China, for example, if a local collector starts acquiring a particular artist, others will soon begin purchasing from that artist as well. In the US, collectors do not compete with each other but instead, try to find their niche and become the best in it. Qatar also has its own peculiarities: only a few people collect art there, but the objects are well-known famous names. In the past, art was mainly collected by people for whom their collection was the meaning of their lives, but since the 1990s, collectors have often been people who needed to decorate their home walls. However, such motivation can be questionable when it comes to collecting. The model where a collector randomly picks pieces can simply be called “hoarding.” If you want to obtain something valuable from an artist willing to create a painting of any size, just as long as it fits into a specific space? That may not be the most successful approach. A true collector willingly studies art, publishes catalogs, supports museums, and participates in advisory boards. They listen to advise but make their own decisions.

As an art consultant, what kind of work do you prefer to recommend to your clients?

I do have preferred artists that I have studied or worked with before. My recommendations are based on what I know about art and what I like. I recommend high-quality, exciting, and suitable works of art for the specific client.

Photo Courtesy: Nadiia Chernovil

How can an art consultant help clients make money from art?

Firstly, the role of an art consultant is not merely to help the client make money from art. More importantly, our task is to help the client make the right choice specific to themselves when it comes to buying artwork. If the client buys a work of art that they like and can afford, that is already a remarkable success. In addition, art is not like a stock on the market. If the client acquires a high-quality work of art long-term, they can expect its value to increase. I believe that by purchasing a work of art, a collector is contributing their name to the history of art.

In your opinion, what is the most important quality that an art consultant should possess?

In my opinion, the most essential quality for an art consultant is the ability to listen to and understand their client. The consultant should understand what the client is looking for, their preferences, and their budget. It is also important to have a good knowledge of art to provide clients with qualified advice. However, besides these qualities, an art consultant should be patient and able to explain complex concepts in simple language. We should help clients make decisions but not dictate what they should do. And, of course, we should be honest and reliable.

Is it prestigious to be an art consultant?

Yes, of course, as in any profession, there are stars here too. Lisa Schiff is an advisor to Leonardo DiCaprio. Hikari Yokoyama is an advisor to Audi, Gucci, and Prada. Mia Romanik advised Michael Lombardo, the former program director of HBO. Barbara Guggenheim is an advisor to Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise. Even Larry Gagosian, an art dealer and owner of a network of 16 galleries, accepts wealthy and famous clients in private consultations. One collector, such as Francois Pinault, hunts for promising artists. In contrast, another type of collector, like Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al Thani, buys the most famous names and the most expensive works for the collections of the Qatar Museums. And these collectors need or want our advice.

How do art consultants help clients choose the artwork?

Art consultants help clients make informed choices when purchasing artwork by answering a range of questions related to authenticity, valuation, and the future potential value of the artwork. They also provide information on global art trends, popular artists, and emerging styles. In addition, art consultants build trusting relationships with their clients and work closely with them. They attend exhibitions, museums, and art fairs and visit artist studios worldwide with clients. All of this activity is necessary to help the collector expand their knowledge of art and make informed decisions when buying works of art.

What kind of clients usually seek out art consultants?

Art consultants serve various clients, including artists, collectors, investors, wealthy individuals, and even corporations. These clients may be looking for artwork to decorate their homes, to invest in, or to adorn their office spaces. Often, affluent and well-known individuals seek out art consultants for confidential advice to avoid drawing too much attention to their purchases.

What are the benefits of working with an art consultant?

Working with an art consultant can be advantageous for several reasons. Consultants have extensive knowledge and experience in the art world and can help clients choose works that best match their taste and budget. They also provide valuable information about the history of art and market trends which then helps clients form a collection that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also profitable as an investment. In the end, I believe that my role as an art consultant is to help both artists and collectors find their path, the former in creating and the latter in choosing the most valuable and interesting works of art that will truly leave a mark on the history of art for future generations.