Frank Talks

Jose Adrian Crispin – Master Gilder and Carver, Lowy

Jose Adrian Crispin

This week we chat with Jose Adrian Crispin. Jose has been working as a master gilder and carver at Lowy since 1985. He began his formal studies at the Fine Arts Academy in Mexico and began to learn the art of gilding as an apprentice working on the restoration of a baroque Mexican cathedral altar. Jose now specializes in replicating antique and contemporary gilt and polychrome finishes. A very talented artisan as well as a native of Mexico, Jose has also worked with the Mexican surrealist artist, Pedro Friedeberg. We are delighted to share Jose’s unique job in the arts with you here!

What was your first job in the Arts?

I did work in the restoration of damages caused by fire at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City.

What was the most useful or important thing your learned at that job?

I learned the mixing of materials related for gilding such as gesso, clay etc.

What do you now?

The antiquing of replica frames in different periods and carving for the same frames.

Where are you from?

I was born in Mexico.

What is the art community like there?

The art community is involved in different levels of expression.

Has where you come from shaped what you do in the art today?

Yes, absolutely, I had different experiences in the field of arts.

What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?

You have to consider be careful handing the pieces of art.

What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Thirty four years working for the same company.

What has been a challenge for you?

Immigrate to a different country.

What is something you do every day at work?

Update the schedule of work.

What is one of the weirdest things you have had to do on the job in your career?

Once a client specified that the clay color must be green in order to match the piece of art. (A painting for Diego Rivera), is the only time I had to use green clay.

What defines a good employee? What defines a good boss?

A good employee should have responsibility in the job. Respect from the boss to the employee.

What you think makes a person hirable?

In my experience is seen what they are able to achieve instead of what they say in curriculum.

What is your advice to making yourself stand out in your work place?

I have to maintain a standard of quality in my work.

What are thigs you can do proactively boost your CV?

There is always something to learn or improve in the art world.

Are there any tips you can give people entering the workforce?

Yes, look closely and see how it is working with the people who have more experience.

In your experience what are things to do and things to avoid during an interview?

One aspirant for a job should be dress presentable and avoid been late.

Any other anecdotes about your experience in the art world that you would like to share?

I was commissioned to guild a sculpture (20 feet height) by Ricardo Regazzoni in Texas and I had to use a mechanical ladder which was a bit uncomfortable and unsafe.

What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?

Beside the art that comes through Lowy every day… Leonardo Da Vinci at the Met (Saint Gerome).

If you could own a work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?

Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh, Monet, Edgar Degas and Georgia O’Keefe. 

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