We are thrilled to share this week’s Frank Talk with Storm Ascher. Storm is a 25-year-old artist and curator from Los Angeles. She graduated with a BFA in Visual & Critical Studies from the School of Visual Arts and is currently a Master’s candidate in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute and Claremont Graduate University. She currently owns Superposition Gallery, which was founded in 2018. Please enjoy reading Storm’s Frank Talk here!
What was your first job in the Arts?
After graduating from The School of Visual Arts NY, I was hired to curate the next year’s thesis show.
What was the most useful or important thing you learned at that job?
Maintaining empathy for artists when they have a deadline so they don’t avoid you.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
I was originally heavily involved in the performing arts. Did child acting, traveled with a dance company, and made my own music. In high school I founded a 501(c)3 which taught kids from East LA to dance and perform in an after-school program. That was when collaboration and community outreach through art really became the goal. During my BFA I was working in galleries and at the same time writing my thesis on how art districts gentrify low income communities.
What do you do now?
I own Superposition Gallery, a socially conscious approach to contemporary art with a focus on borrowed space. We currently represent 33 artists, and pop up in different locations for about a week at a time. This August, we are celebrating one year of operation with a group exhibition BOILING POINT in Los Angeles, featuring work from 28 artists from around the world.
Where are you from?
Los Angeles. 310.
What is the arts community like there?
It’s the wild west! So many rules to break, so many pockets that have their own microcosms of artist communities and studios.
The LA art institutions are also heavily involved with the public and entertainment sectors, so it is a never-ending networking environment.
Has where you come from shaped what you do in the arts today?
I think of the saying: “when you leave and come back you understand your city more.” After six years in New York, I can now give back to the city that made me who I am, and with my experience try and combat the issues affecting how others will grow up here in LA.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
Keep collaborating. Don’t hoard your ideas, it’s selfish.
What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Getting to work with Milton Glaser.
What has been a challenge for you?
Sometimes I feel too burnt out to make my own artwork.
What is something you do every day at work?
When we’re in exhibition mode, mental health check ins with the artists are so important. Just making sure they aren’t feeling overwhelmed in the studio and getting them excited about the show.
What is one of the weirdest things you have had to do on the job in your career?
Stand on a pedestal in wearable art as a live statue for hours at The Watermill Center. One of the Baldwin brothers stared at me trying to get me to move.
What defines a good employee? What defines a good boss?
A good employee: not afraid to give their boss advice.
A good boss: can delegate tasks and then not micromanage afterwards.
What do you think makes a person hirable?
I’ll never know that, I just know that I’m not very hirable, hence my own business!
What is your advice to making yourself stand out in your workplace?
Start projects without permission.
What are things you can do to proactively boost your CV?
Volunteer for organizations. The type of responsibilities you’re given will translate later on.
Are there any tips you can give people entering the workforce?
Research the people that are doing your dream job. Look at what they were doing before they secured that bag!
In your experience, what are things to do and things to avoid during an interview?
Avoid awkward goodbyes. Get out of there quickly and gracefully. It’s the last moment.
Any other anecdotes about your experience in the art world that you would like to share?
I’m overall very enthusiastic about the art world right now, and that is rare for a BFA graduate, so I would say hold onto your optimism and don’t cave into the self-victimizing patterns of post grad life. If you stay afloat than many opportunities start presenting themselves.
What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?
Deana Lawson: Planes at The Underground Museum
Five artists that inform your taste the most:
Kerry James Marshall
Artists you would collect?