Eva Chimento of Chimento Contemporary

3 Posted by - January 31, 2017 - CONVERSATIONS

The Los Angeles Arts District is all things Contemporary, and the woman ahead of this curve is Eva Chimento.

From the current show “Straight OUTTA Bushwick”

 

From art collector to Gallery owner and Director, Eva Chimento is the ultimate one-woman show. I got the opportunity to interview the successful and humble entrepreneur about her journey through the art world from collecting to curating, and her relationship with the downtown art scene and Los Angeles artists.

Eva Chimento

 

 

Tell me about the genesis of Chimento Contemporary:

 

I used to work in galleries, and then stopped working when I had a daughter and became an art collector.  I only bought artwork from the galleries that I worked for. Then 10 years later after my divorce I went back to work in a gallery in Santa Monica, and some of the artists contacted me that I used to collect. They asked me if I could get them into the gallery I was working in. I am a really honest person and told them I didn’t think it was a great fit at the time.

 

I went to one of the artist’s studios, Monique Prieto, and she said if you start your own space I will leave with you. So I found a donor willing to back us up, and we opened the gallery in Culver City called LAM Gallery. It was very successful, we got a review by the LA times from David Pagel. Since neither of us had a formal agreement, we could walk at anytime, so I did. But, I didn’t realize I was only going to have six weeks to find, build, and brand a new space and figure out if I wanted to do it on my own. The artist lined up for the first opening told me, “I don’t care, you can be on the floor crying but get your shit together because I have to know exactly how to install my work.”

 

It was just what I needed. I found a space within two days, and at that point I had less than five weeks to let people know I was opening my own gallery under my own name. Christopher Knight wrote about that opening, and I was mentioned in the Hollywood Reporter as one of the top 16 art galleries downtown.

 

I still represent the artists that I started with.

 

Why downtown Los Angeles, as opposed to anywhere else in the city?

 

The only reason I came down here was because it was cheap! I could afford it, and most people would be shocked when they heard about the amount of money I started it with. I came down here to build out my space before all of the hoopla started about downtown. It just so happened I showed an art world darling, Sandeep Mukherjee and people went even more crazy.

 

From the current show “Straight OUTTA Bushwick”

 

Can you talk about why your focus is on Los Angeles or California based artists?

 

It was a decision made out of necessity, to keep costs at a minimum. I wanted to work with the artists I had in my own collection, which are predominantly from here. If I owned their work I definitely contacted them, if I admired their work I definitely contacted them. There is no way a new gallery can afford to ship artwork in, there is no way!

 

What advise can you give to aspiring artists now living and working in Los Angeles?

 

All of the artists I work with have come as recommendations from other artists. Or from social media, I have given two artists shows from seeing their work online and on Instagram. I like Instagram, Facebook annoys me. Although I will post on Facebook, I will post things that artists want to know about on Facebook.

 

From the current show “Straight OUTTA Bushwick”

 

What are you most excited about this year?

I am excited about a lot of things! I get excited about every exhibition I do, and now I am working on my second year gallery program which is very interesting and I got into my first big Art Fair, Volta, coming up in New York this March with Sandeep. So yeah, it’s kind of a special year!

Exterior Shot of Chimento Contemporary

 

To see more on Chimento Contemporary check out chimentocontemporary.net

By: Megan St. Clair

1/31/17

 

 

 

 

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