Diary | Art Angels

Celebrity Photographer’s Stunning Work is Having a Dallas Moment in New Design District Gallery

October 1st 2019

The World of Markus Klinko Includes Beyonce, David Bowie and More

Celebrity photographer Markus Klinko, famous for his photos of Beyonce, David Bowie, Kim Kardashian, and Lady Gaga to name a few, is all set to showcase his work at the Design District’s newest gallery.

Klinko has made a career out of taking photos over the past three decades of the biggest cultural icons, giving them intimate looks into the minds of the artists and entertainers that are featured.

Beyoncé, Bowie and Britney: Celebrity photographer Markus Klinko shares his on-set secrets

October 1st 2019

Published 26th July 2019

Beyoncé. David Bowie. Lady Gaga. You have heard of his subjects, but you might not be as familiar with Markus Klinko, the photographer who has captured some of the world’s biggest celebrities since he first picked up a camera in 1994.

Now best known for photographing musicians, Klinko actually started out as one himself. As a classical harp soloist, Klinko toured the world, was signed to EMI Classics and received the Grand Prix de Disque, a top French music award, with members of the orchestra of the Paris Opera Bastille.

Klinko went from never having held a camera to the top of his field, aided by high-profile clients who trusted his methodical, professional approach.

After 25 years in the industry, Klinko says he still has much more to achieve. “I feel like I’m just getting started – I’m ready to really go to the next level,” he said.

CNN spoke with Klinko about working with Bowie and why 2000s fashion is experiencing a revival.

CNN: How did you end up working in fashion photography?

Markus Klinko: My dad was a classical musician, and I grew up in Switzerland, in this environment of classical music. Everything that I ever thought about, between the ages of 3 to 32, was just music, music, music.

In 1994, I was in the midst of touring and recording for EMI Classics, and I had just won an award in Europe that’s like a Grammy. Very unexpectedly, I started having a mysterious hand issue, literally from one day to the other. I felt that (I had achieved) my childhood dream of being a successful classical concert soloist. I had traveled the world and made recordings. And I said to myself, “It’s time to do something else.”

And so I, head over heels, decided to become a photographer with no skills at all. I had never taken a picture.

Did any skills transfer from your music career to photography?

I would 100% say the answer is discipline. To be humble, and to know that you always have to work very hard and you can’t take anything for granted – that was the lesson learned.

Walk us through how you prepare for a shoot with a major celebrity. What conversations happen beforehand?

The secret of a great photo shoot is to be as prepared as possible – to have everything mapped out, but to be open to spontaneity and last-minute opportunities. And it could be just something totally unexpected.

One time I went to London to shoot Naomi Campbell, and this huge studio was rented – with all these lights and all that – and it was boring. Outside, there was a very cool parking lot. I saw it and thought, “Wow, let’s go out here.” And a great shot happened in two seconds.

What it was like working with David Bowie for his “Heathen” album cover?

He had some very specific ideas: some Man Ray references – the whole idea of someone losing belief, someone no longer believing in anything. But he kept saying, “If you have other ideas, you can do other stuff.” It was also very quick. I think he gave me a day or two to organize everything. And then he said, “I’m coming at nine and leaving at five. I don’t like long sessions.”

In the beginning, he was a little tense because he wanted to make sure we (understood) what he envisioned. He was examining the Polaroids and the instant film, and at some point, he was very happy. And he just started relaxing and became very playful.

Can you talk me through the Bowie wolf pictures?

GQ magazine called me and said, “We decided that David will be our ‘Man of the Year.’ Can you do another shoot?” So, I call David and he said, “There’s no way, I have no time.” I had an idea. I told (GQ) that there were so many unused images from this photo shoot, and that I could (make) a very elaborate photo montage where I would involve wild animals. They said, “We love it, but is Bowie gonna be OK?” So, I call Bowie back and he says, “Absolutely. Go for it.”

I just thought that the wolf represented Bowie the most – not too bombastic, like tigers and leopards.

You’ve just closed an exhibition in Hong Kong, and have several upcoming shows in Spain and London. It seems like you’re really expanding globally.

What’s really important to understand is that none of this work has ever been produced with the intent of a gallery. Somehow, it crystallized itself into this collection that lives with great ease in the galleries.

I’ve actually had a lot of situations where I get hired for a specific project, then so many other things happened. Let’s say, for instance, Britney Spears hired me to produce images for her (The Onyx Hotel) tour in 2004. The shoot became a cover for Vanity Fair, then Britney’s label called and licensed the images to do a single cover. Then Elizabeth Arden licensed several of the images for major Britney perfume ads.

So, these images that had this one purpose ended up being repurposed, and now they’re in galleries. That’s an exceptional photo shoot, when you can say, I shot for seven hours, and for the next 20 years, new stuff is coming out.

You’re working on a new book – can you tell us more about that?

It’s not going to be just the photography, but a lot about the process. I am actually very process-oriented. I really love all the technical aspects. And I collaborate very closely with Fujifilm. That’s much more than a sponsored relationship, it’s a real collaboration. With the technical advances being so immense, there are actually artistic inspirations that are coming straight of the development of these new possibilities with cameras and lenses and all of that. So, it’s very exciting.

What’s it like working with new stars like Billie Eilish versus working with someone as established as David Bowie?

A lot of the very established artists that I photographed were at some point of career change, or reinvention, or comeback. When I saw Beyoncé, she had just decided to go solo. My task was to really envision who Beyoncé was about to become, and to anticipate the image that wasn’t really her quite yet. What’s most exciting is to (help create) a fresh start, whether it’s someone that’s literally a new artist, or someone that has been around but wants to reinvent themselves.

Why are the early 2000s experiencing such a comeback in music and fashion? 

Everything in fashion has a comeback. It’s a certain nostalgia. The people that really love the 2000s are generally people who were very, very young at that time. Now they’re 25 or 30. And they’re very melancholic about that.

Back then, I wasn’t doing the 2000s, I was really referencing the '70s, the whole disco era. So, what we’re looking at now is actually a 2000s vision of the '70s. It was a more innocent era. It was the time before social media.

I have very mixed feelings about social media. I think that it’s very traumatizing for a lot of people. And I think that (people enjoy) going back to a simpler time, when you were not judged constantly by your Instagram profile.’

What’s next for you? And are there any dream subjects you’d love to photograph?

There are always, obviously, new artists and new celebrities. But there are also interesting political figures. So, I think (I want) to branch out a little bit. I’m definitely very excited about doing a new book. I’m also planning to do a new TV show. I had my own show (“Double Exposure”) on the Bravo network in the US in 2010. That was pretty cool. But it was too much of a reality show. Now I want to do a show that’s much more like a documentary type of concept.

I would say I want to do more of the same, and just better and better. I’m very happy with what I’m doing; I’m not bored. I love what I’m doing.

Markus Klinko on Bowie Unseen

October 1st 2019

Photographer Markus Klinko speaks to V.F. about his upcoming exhibition, Bowie Unseen.

New York photographer Markus Klinko first met David Bowie 20 years ago—he was with his wife Iman, and he arrived unannounced. That one unexpected introduction led to Bowie’s last large-scale photo shoot before his passing in 2016.

Now, unseen images from the shoot will be shown in the exhibition Bowie Unseen at the Tramp member’s club in London from October 1, then at Hampstead’s Zebra One Gallery from October 7.

Klinko, who has shot a range of celebrities including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Kanye West, took hundreds of photos of Bowie for his 2002 album, Heathen. It was an extensive eight-hour shoot that saw Bowie alongside a pack of wolves, cradling a baby and posing as a blind man. They show a part of Bowie that was inspired by Man Ray, but also one who subverted the classic symbolism of Old Hollywood film noir to reflect ideas on loss.

Klinko spoke to us about the exhibition, which will donate a portion of proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support. He spoke to Vanity Fair London about Soho, his agent’s baby and how Bowie’s work ethic set him apart.


Markus Klinko: I remember it very well, like it was yesterday. I was surprised—I didn’t expect to meet him. Iman brought him along for a book editing session, I photographed her for the cover of her book, I am Iman, in 2001. He came up the stairs, I didn’t know he was coming. He was very lively, friendly and super charismatic, as one would expect. I was giddy and excited that he was there. I wasn’t prepared. Once he looked at Iman’s edits, he seemed impressed. Then he asked me flat out: “Do you want to shoot my next album cover?” It was a series of unexpected events. He was clearly polite, open, talkative, a very smart and nice guy.


It was his idea. What he tried to bring across with this artwork was a man who lost belief, a man who no longer believes in the rules of religion, politics, all of that. His blind eyes represent his loss of belief, no longer being on track with what you’re supposed to believe. For the actual album cover image, he has strong references based on Man Ray. He showed me Man Ray images. He took a selfie in his bedroom before our shooting session that he was proud of. We used it for the initial setup. It was planned for that shot, he wanted it to look exactly how he wanted it. I helped him achieve that. He said: “you have me until 5pm and you can do whatever you want.” So, I had time to bring my own ideas to the table, but his main album cover was very precise.


Yes, it was very much a nine to five shoot. He was very clear about that, telling me, “I’m here nine to five, I don’t like long photo shoots.” He wanted to keep it fresh. I’ve done many photo shoots with celebrities but this one particularly stands out for having so many successful shots. Maybe that’s why I’m able to bring out more images in this exhibition because it’s a pity not to show them.


Just one. I directed him many years later in the video for his 2013 song “Valentine’s Day”. That’s it. I only shot him one time. Everything you see is from this nine to five session. It’s quite extraordinary. We shot it in my New York studio; I met him in the summer of 2001 then Heathen came out in 2002. I’ve worked extensively with Iman, I’ve done over a dozen photo shoots with her, including one Vanity Fair Italy cover.


It was the mechanics of the collaboration. I’ve never had a celebrity be so hands on as David, so personable about any of the collaborations, including the music video in 2013. I hadn’t heard from him in years. I heard he had health issues. I was at the gym one day and got a message from his manager who asked: “can you talk to David in 30 minutes?” I went home and he called and talked to me about the video. That was typical of him, to make the call, explain everything and the preparation, to exchange ideas. Most celebrities, even small ones, will use their handlers, their managers, PR people, whatever reps they have, to communicate. I’d usually be talking to them at some point, but it’s not this kind of personable communication. That was extraordinary about him. Even in the post-production sessions, he would come. That’s how I met him, with Iman. I don’t see other celebrities going to editing sessions like that.


One thousand percent. A lot of celebrities have their art directors and creative directors, they’re surrounded by these teams who help them. I’m not saying other celebrities don’t have creative ideas, of course they do. Some more than others. It wasn’t hard to get a good photo of David Bowie. He was so photogenic. He was intelligent and had broad knowledge of art and technology. He was ahead of his time in so many aspects.


It was at La Guardia Place in West Broadway in Soho; it was Bowie’s neighbourhood. His place was near mine. His recording studio was two blocks from there. It was all within walking distance.


The telescope just happened to be at the studio, he grabbed it. His stylist brought some things. Bowie brought the toy soldier book. In another shot, he rips pages out of a book. There’s a shot with three books, which was part of the artwork. I did the still life shots. The famous shot of him walking from the baby, that was my photo agent’s baby. Many people assumed it was his own child.


It was a very small set. For a typical mainstream A-list celebrity shoot, you can have 30 or 40 people on set. But we had four or five. The studio was a 1970s Soho loft that I propped out and added post-production effects to to make it look turn of the century or 1940s. There is a Humphrey Bogart mood in a lot of these photos. It has that Old Hollywood, theatrical approach that Bowie was deliberate about. It was almost like watching him get ready for a play. Towards the end of his life, he did a few theatrical music videos, but in terms of a still photo shoot for an album cover, this was the last big one. I think it’s a celebration of Bowie. I’ve partnered with cancer charity organisations to give back.


It just fit into his idea of dramatic lighting. He just picked that and we ran with it in the props, poses and the suit he wore—a vintage piece, not designer. He selected it because it had a 1940s feel to it. He felt this was an ideal mood to express the feeling for Heathen.


The classicism represents the breaking from it. A classic world where a man believes in rules of religion and Christianity. Choosing a more classic departure point, it could be illustrated with the blind eyes. Ripping the pages out, walking away with a child in the snow, the leather coat and boots. It didn’t tell me “let’s choose Hollywood,” that’s my interpretation. When he explained the concept to me, when he started playing the music at his recording studio on Broadway, this bittersweet Heathen album, he was elaborating on the concept, showing me the Man Ray references, the solarised effects and that’s when it all came together. It was the loss of belief he emphasised.

David Bowie – As You’ve Never Seen Him Before

September 25th 2019

Posted by Men Style Fashion | Sep 1, 2019 | Male Style Icons

Award-winning photographer, Markus Klinko will unveil his incredible, never-before-seen images of the late David Bowie featuring him with packs of wolves, cradling a baby and as a blind man, among other extraordinary shots.

Extraordinary, never-before-seen images of the late David Bowie by award-winning photographer Markus Klinko will be unveiled on 1 October by Zebra One Gallery for his Bowie Unseen exhibition at London’s exclusive Tramp members club, where he was a regular.

And 10% of proceeds will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

The images include eerie shots of Bowie as a blind man; fiercely posing with a pack of wild wolves and cradling a baby and will be on sale and on view to members of the legendary London club throughout October, with a percentage of profits going to Macmillan Cancer Support in honour of the music icon, whose life was tragically cut short by the disease in 2016. 

And these rare images are the legacy, capturing a creative alliance between the star and photographer – Bowie Unseen is curated from some of the incredible and previously unseen images taken on that extraordinary day.

Klinko The Photographer

International fashion and celebrity photographer, Klinko was invited to shoot the Heroes legend for the cover of his 2002 album, Heathen after Klinko impressed the singer with the cover shoot for his wife Iman’s first book, I am Iman. Klinko recalls:

“Iman returned to the studio to take a look over the edits with me, and to my great surprise, David Bowie came along to help choose the cover. He was every bit as charismatic and extraordinary as one can imagine, but really kind and lovely to talk to. David was very involved in the selection process and had a great eye for imagery.”

It was then that Bowie invited Klinko to shoot his album cover. Tragically, the terrible events of 9/11 took place less than a mile from Klinko’s studio, so the photographer briefly forgot about the prospect of shooting the star until, true to his word, Bowie phoned a few weeks later.

Klinko adds:

“He is one of the very few celebrities I have worked with who personally got involved, and was extremely communicative and very hands-on. He asked if I could come over to a Broadway recording studio and listen to some tracks. I went over the next day and wandered around the old, understated studio to find Bowie and his producer, Tony Visconti in one of the rooms.”

“Bowie said they wanted to play some of the new songs for me before discussing the album art. The mental image of Bowie sitting by a window, smoking cigarettes while his producer played the rough mixes from the board, is a memory that I will never forget. After listening to almost the entire album together, we started talking about the shoot. He had many ideas and was very precise about them.”

And these rare images are the legacy, capturing a creative alliance between the star and photographer – Bowie Unseen is curated from some of the incredible and previously unseen images taken on that extraordinary day.

Celebrity History

Klinko has photographed the likes of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Kanye West and Naomi Campbell. His editorial clients include Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Harper’s Bazaar. Brands such as Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris, Nike, Hugo Boss and Remy Martin have hired Klinko to create advertising campaigns. His campaign for Keep A Child Alive raised more than $1 million for children with AIDS in just a few days.And 10% of proceeds will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

How we photographed David Bowie with wild wolves

September 25th 2019

Renowned photographer Markus Klinko tells the story of how he came to photograph the legendary David Bowie with wild wolves for British GQ’s October 2002 issue

By Markus Klinko | 26 February 2016

It was the late spring of 2001 when I met Angelina Jolie’s famous make up artist, Paul Starr, on a shoot for Interview magazine in New York. He asked me if I had ever worked with Iman, another client of his, and suggested that he would take my portfolio over to her house, just a few blocks down the street from my studio.

The next day, Iman called me on the phone and said that she wanted to meet me and talk about a project. I was very excited to see the legendary supermodel in-person and was anxious to hear what she had in mind. When she arrived at the studio, I was shocked that she was even more stunning than the photos. She was very complimentary of my work and explained that she had been working on her first book, I am Iman. She had contributions from virtually every great fashion photographer in the world already, from Helmut Newton to Steven Meisel, but she wanted me to shoot the cover of the book. I couldn’t be more flattered, but also felt the pressure to create something amazing with her. We scheduled the shoot for the following week.

The session was very successful. She wore fabulous dresses sent over by Alexander McQueen. Iman took on the role of a fierce warrior Goddess and embodied it completely. A couple days later, Iman returned to the studio to take a look over the edits with me, and to my great surprise, David Bowie came along to help choose the cover. He was every bit as charismatic and extraordinary as one can imagine, but really kind and lovely to talk to. David was very involved in the selection process and had a great eye for imagery. Both of them loved the photos.

During the editing session, David casually mentioned that he might be working on a new album and that perhaps he would call me to talk about shooting the cover for it. That sounded a bit too good to be true, and while I was hopeful that this could happen, I did not get my hopes up too high.

Meanwhile, the terrible events of 9/11 took place less than a mile from my studio, and for a little while I even forgot about the prospects of shooting my first David Bowie album cover. Yet, a few weeks after the tragedy, true to his word, Bowie called me. He is one of the very few celebrities that I have worked with who personally got involved, and was extremely communicative and very hands-on in the process. He asked if I could come over to a Broadway recording studio and listen to some tracks. I went over the next day. I wandered around the old, understated recording studio to find Bowie and his producer, Tony Visconti, in one of the rooms. Bowie said that wanted to play some of the new songs for me before discussing the album art. The mental image of Bowie sitting by a window, smoking cigarettes while his producer played the rough mixes from the board, is a memory that I could never forget. After listening to almost the entire album together, we started talking about the shoot. He had many ideas and was very precise about them.

David was very eager to get it all set up as quickly as possible and to shoot within a couple days. He returned to my studio the next day, and brought a series of early Man Ray images that he was very interested in referencing in some way or another. He wanted to be styled in Forties’s suits and wanted to get into the character of a blind man. At that time, most of my work was very colorful, but David was profoundly visionary and believed that it would be interesting for me to produce a series of mainly black and white album images, as well as some color images for press.

He is one of the most photogenic stars ever, and almost every single shot looked incredible. Bowie knew exactly what poses and expressions to do in order to portray the character we discussed. He was very carefree and fun to shoot.

During the following weeks, David often came by the studio to select and edit the photos. One day, he stopped by while I was shooting a British GQ editorial with a lot of male and female models running around in towels and he said, “This reminds me of the Seventies! And I remember nothing from the Seventies…” and then he laughed.

Heathen was released in 2002, and Bowie went on tour to promote the album. Around that time, I got a call from GQ in London, asking me to shoot David for their prestigious “Men of the Year” cover. Since Bowie was busy with the tour and was not available for a shoot within the deadline for the magazine, a creative solution had to be found.

I called up to David and asked him if he would trust me with creating a series of complex photocompositions, using a body double and several wild wolves. He immediately loved that idea, and said that I had carte blanche. My agent called the modeling agencies, and I decided on a young guy who had very much the stature and body shape of Bowie.

Next, I needed to find a bunch of wild wolves and get them to my Soho studio. Luckily, a prominent handler of wild animals for film and photo shoots was a huge David Bowie fan and agreed to bring the gorgeous beasts to New York. Our male model proved himself quite brave, as he worked it with the energetic and sometimes aggressive wolves. While his face looked nothing like Bowie, he was able to channel him through his body language. The images of David from the Heathen session and the shots of the body model and wolves were later combined by my post-production studio and have since become a favorite in GQ’s iconic history.

In the years following the Heathen and GQ shoots, I continued working with Iman on a regular basis, and saw David a couple of times. Once at Iman’s birthday party, he was running around their home and putting on great music to set a fun mood for everyone at the party. I brought over a huge print of Iman as a gift and they both loved it. It was very obvious how much he adored Iman. After his heart attack in 2005, I did not see him anymore.

Fast forward to 21 May 2013: at this time, I had moved to Los Angeles and was finishing up at the gym when I received an email marked “URGENT” from Bowie’s manager, letting me know that David wanted to speak to me. I rushed home to take his call, and was elated to learn that he wanted me to direct a video for his new single “Valentine’s Day.” Years earlier when we shot the Heathen artwork, I told Bowie that I would love to direct a video for the album and he said that it would be great but his new music was not mainstream enough to play on MTV so he didn’t see the point in making any videos. During those days, music videos really depended on MTV.

As I chatted on the phone with David for over an hour about his new video, it was just amazing how surprised he was at the success of this latest album, The Next Day. He said that he was not expecting that at all. With the creative freedom of Vevo and Youtube, he was excited to create videos again.

We did an animated portrait shoot, since many of his fans really wanted to be able to just watch him “without all the bells and whistles.” We shot the video in two days in New York. The song was about a mass shooting, and he wanted to reference the violence in a very subtle way. I had the idea to insert a flying bullet for a split second and if you look closely, there is a shadow of a person holding a machine gun.

My coffee table book, Icons, had just come out a few months prior to the video shoot featuring both David and Iman, with Iman writing the foreword for the book. David wanted a few copies of the book, and signed some as gifts. His spirits were very high and he was in a great mood. It was wonderful to work with him again after so many years, and see him full of creativity, energy, and excitement about the future.

Celebrity photographer Markus Klinko hits London for Bowie Unseen

September 24th 2019


Natural Villains by Markus Klinko

Acclaimed photographer Markus Klinko captured David Bowie in striking form for the cover of the singer’s album Heathen in 2001. 

Smoking by Markus Klinko

Klinko first came into contact with Bowie when he was shooting the cover for Bowie’s wife Iman’s first book, I Am Iman. “She came to the studio to look over the edits and to my great surprise, he came along too,” Klinko recalls. “He was every bit as charismatic and extraordinary as one can imagine, but also really kind and lovely to talk to. He was very involved in the selection process and had a great eye for imagery.”

Bowie asked the photographer to meet him at his recording studio to listen to some tracks. “I went over the next day and wandered around the old, understated building to find Bowie and his producer Tony Visconti in one of the rooms,” Klinko says. “He said they wanted to play some of the new songs for me, before discussing the album art. The mental image of Bowie sitting by a window, smoking cigarettes while his producer played the rough mixes from the board, is one that I will never forget.”

The Protector by Markus Klinko

The Savior by Markus Klinko

Lyle Owerko’s Boombox Project

August 22nd 2019

Lyle Owerko’s Boombox Project

If These Walls Could Talk

July 26th 2019




A portrait of the Mexican actress Linda Christian painted by Diego Rivera once hung against the pale-pink walls of the Spanish-style house in Bel-Air the subject shared with her husband, the Hollywood swashbuckler Tyrone Power. A 1952 article from Modern Screen magazine described the place as such: “Painted a tropical pink, which contrasts with its black wrought-iron accents, it looks almost like a jungle flower half hidden among the lush growth of trees that cover this particular section of Bel-Air.” After their divorce, then Power’s sudden death in 1958, the tropical pink soon faded and the Rivera painting was taken down, and the house came to be occupied by a string of actors, including Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Henry Fonda and Diane Keaton. The surrounding neighborhood established a legacy of California cool, causing Mick Jagger to pine for a nearby enclave in the song “Winter,” recorded in 1972: “I wish I’d been out in Stone Canyon/When the lights on all the Christmas trees went out.”

The Rivera painting established the path for the current art-filled incarnation of the home, which a couple with two college-age kids recently restored and renovated with the help of Los Angeles designer Cari Berg. The designer began in the living room—near where the Rivera once hung—which had become a wash of gold walls and matching ceiling beams. “Everything felt very muddy,” says Berg. “It never really popped in terms of contrast.” Berg was able to intuit the couple’s needs, having completed the design of their previous home. “Their old house felt a bit dark and enclosed,” she says. “This one had more potential to be more open, lighter and brighter.” Berg upped the contrast, lightening the walls and darkening the beams, and placed elegant furnishings—her own custom designs with pieces by Kelly Wearstler and 1stdibs finds—that can migrate around the room as the social scene dictates. Here, she introduced her expertise on balance and scale, with a pair of “chair and a half” size loungers next to slender upholstered chairs near a single, sublime hammered-gold side chair. “You really notice when the scale is off in a room,” says Berg, whose natural high-low gestures set the rhythm for the rest of the house.

Centering the home is a new glass-enclosed gallery that Fabio Rigo de Righi of Domani Architecture helped integrate as a buffer between the interior courtyard and the house. A promenade through the gallery reveals a museumquality gathering of works by Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, Ruben Toledo, David Hockney and others. Russell Young’s shimmery Pop Art manipulation of a 1954 photograph of Marilyn Monroe crying moves around the space as the homeowner sees fit. “She just started seriously collecting when we began the project,” Berg says. “It was her full time job for more than two years while we were doing the house.” The homeowner was not just engaged when it came to the art; she provided Berg inspiration and freedom from every angle. “She was so open,” says Berg. “When a space was looking too pristine, I would say, ‘We need to mess it up—it needs to get funked up with some vintage or something.’ And she would understand. It was a great project and so fun to do.”

In addition to the contemporary artworks, the owner took a deep dive into black and white photography, collecting photos from Julius Shulman to Harry Benson to Ruth Orkin. Several hang in the dining room, their light and shadows reflected in the abstracted flamestitch Donghia drapery fabric resembling the needle markings of an active Richter scale. The gallery’s charcoal and white stone checkered floor and the gray of the master bath’s Greek key mosaic floor from Ann Sacks seem to carry a similar noir scheme. “We went to galleries together and I learned a lot about photography,” says Berg. “I am so much better versed in it all now.” The art continues throughout the house, and it’s well edited. There’s a Calder in the family room, and a Mr. Brainwash and a Jeff Koons puppy in a bedroom. “Artwork makes a room,” says Berg. “It changes the vibe and takes it from good to great.”

Outside, the house benefits from a verdant screen of mature trees—some of which are old enough to have shaded Power and Christian—combined with new, abundant plantings in the backyard. The original pool and poolhouse still hold court here, the latter covered in slowly creeping vine tendrils. Faithfully retained and restored, they are another reminder of the house’s glamorous history. In fact, Power’s signature remains immortalized on the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety permits for the exterior improvements. Notes the homeowner, who echoes a common sentiment among those who own storied houses once inhabited by colorful characters: “If those walls of the poolhouse could talk.”

Cari Berg Interior Design, cariberginteriordesign.com

Shine On

July 25th 2019




The moment Andrew Petronio saw the Hamptons home of a new client, one thing was clear: It really needed to lighten up. The driveway pulled right up to a small porch, making the capacious house feel hulking. Inside, heavy mahogany banisters and fussy architectural details left the space feeling cluttered, overly formal and, frankly, “suburban,” says Petronio, a partner, with Kenneth Alpert, in the Manhattan firm KA Design Group.

At the time, the six-bedroom home was about 12 years old, but it already appeared outdated. “We always had a vision for the feel of the house,” says Petronio, who describes it as a calming, earthy escape. “It’s just that the architecture wasn’t agreeing with it.” To shape it into a serene beachside getaway for a newly married couple, each with adult children, the first step was rethinking the plan, stripping partitions between first-floor living spaces, doing away with dÉmodÉ touches such as a butler’s pantry, and stripping architectural details like the pilasters and crenelated moldings that weighed down the double-height entry. “No one needs to feel like Henry VIII when they’re in the Hamptons,” Petronio jokes.

“We had to open up all the architecture and lose a whole lot of doors,” recalls Petronio, who created a wraparound porch to frame a more down-toearth entrance. Inside the entry, new architectural paneling on two walls—"You’re not going to achieve that warmth with a wallcovering or paint,“ Petronio says—frames a long work of art by Pop artist James Rosenquist, one of the gems of the residents’ combined collection of contemporary art and photography. The piece is layered in crisp, graphic colors, but the room around it is a neutral palette as soft as sticking your toes in the East End’s sugary sand.

It’s an impression that starts from the ground up, in this case with a riffed bleached ("very bleached,” Petronio emphasizes) oak floor, the color and tone of which the supplier went to great lengths to perfect. “I wanted everything to be anchored by the floor, to grow out of it,” says Petronio, nodding to the sculptural Jiun Ho table that emerges from the center of the entry, its organic bronze base topped by white marble. Nearby, an angular console, also designed by Ho, provides a geometric counterpoint.

As the pale oak floorboards lead through the house, they’re occasionally topped with cotton faisal carpets (downstairs) or wool and silk blend rugs (in the bedrooms), or set at a 45-degree angle to the room as in the updated kitchen and dining room, where they crisscross beneath a custom Artistic Frame dining table. Above, a Sofia chandelier by Fuse Lighting sourced from Dennis Miller Associates in New York hugs the ceiling—a more architectural answer to a chandelier, another of Petronio’s subtle twists toward a more contemporary style. The mixedmetal fixture, in oil rubbed bronze and satin nickel, also adds just a hint of depth to the palette—a careful ratio of light to dark, about 85 to 15, Petronio estimates, employed in each room of the house. On the wall, a work by Alex Katz with a flat background the color of a ripe tomato pops like a colorful beach umbrella on the strand. “Maybe if you saw it in the city, it would be a little overwhelming,” Petronio says of the high-contrast approach to color, “but out at the beach there’s so much light that it almost eats up the color.”

Though the home unfolds from one creamy colorscape to another, it’s anything but monotonous—Petronio says the paint schedule ran four pages of Benjamin Moore hues. “There are at least 100 shades of beige in this house,” from carpets to ceilings, teases the designer. It’s a subdued palette with a purpose: “All the furniture, the colors, the fabrics, the carpets—they sort of disappear. You just notice textures.

"That effect can be felt in the main bedroom, where a Holly Hunt bed emerges from a single wall of woven paper wallcovering from Phillip Jeffries. In the corner, Eero Saarinen’s iconic Womb chair, upholstered in pale lilac fabric, offers a welcome hint of color, and a place to read a book, atop a textured oatmeal carpet from Stark. Pillows are used to similar effect in the family room, where they provide dollops of burnt umber. In that room, a mix of wood species—a driftwood-and-resin side table and a coffee table in dark oak—dominate the material palette, while a molded plywood Eames Lounge and Ottoman are upholstered in pale leather. In one act of modern insouciance, the new mullioned windows were left intentionally undressed. When need be, built-in solar shades can be drawn. After all, aren’t landscaped views what the Hamptons are all about anyway?

At the rear of the house, modern French doors reaching 10 feet lead to the terrace and yard. Topped with sheer white drapes made from Kravet fabric, the doors allow more of the famous Hamptons sunlight into the home than before. They also let in views that were once dominated by the pool, a feature that’s covered some seven months of the year. That’s why the team shifted the pool to a more discrete location, giving pride of place to the Bianca Mist marble patio. There, against the cool white stone, Gloster dining tables and chairs offer seating for up to 16—perfect for al fresco entertaining well into the cooler months. 

July 25th 2019

Interview: Striking Underwater Portraits Reflect Artist’s Own Mental Health Struggles

June 14th 2019

By Kelly Richman-Abdou on June 14, 2019

For decades, artist Barbara Cole has captured dynamic photographs of figures floating underwater. Much more than shimmering studies of her subjects, these images often evoke and explore deeper ideas. This approach is reflected in Surfacing, a series of underwater portraits that aims to “open up a dialogue on mental health.”

The photographs featured in Surfacing star women submerged in the ocean. As the series is intended to speak to issues of mental health, one may expect to find the subjects struggling against the tides and currents. Instead, however, Cole puts a positive spin on this topic, using this series to offer an “ode to the power of will and strength to overcome.” This is evident in the positioning of the figures, who are shown rising from the depths and, as the series’ title suggests, “surfacing.”

As someone who has dealt with her own mental health issues, these photographs speak to Cole’s own experiences. She notes, however, that the series is not all about her; instead, it is inspired by struggling and strong women everywhere. “My work not only echoes my own struggles and personal and artistic achievements,” she reveals, “it speaks to all women who rise up, take back power and lead the way.”

We recently spoke to Cole about Surfacing. Read on for My Modern Met’s exclusive interview to find out more about this empowering series and about Cole’s prolific practice as a whole.

Most of your work prominently features the female figure. What sparked your interest in this subject?

A lot of my work is semi-autobiographical. I shoot my emotional landscape based on my imagination. I go on instinct and leave the interpretation until later (the result of which is always rather surprising). Another reason why I work with the figure is that I take a lot of inspiration from collaboration. This human connection makes the work stronger and more alive. I do work with men and women, but I often have more success with female visuals.

This focus is evident in your most recent series, Surfacing. How has your past work influenced this series, and how is it different?

I’ve been photographing the female figure in water for twenty years. The common thread between all of this work is the water.

I view my pool as a “studio” and as such it can morph into many different environments in the same way an empty photo studio does. Each underwater series does inform the next, however, and having said that, I was intrigued by the notion of placing the figure in an expansive environment. The ocean (rather than a pool) gives an additional charge to the visuals and makes the figure appear to be more vulnerable. The smaller figures in the larger expanse of water creates tension and a larger story. That story is a very personal one and I’ve chosen to express it in more of a poetic rather than literal style.

This series is inspired by “triumph, survival, and self-actualization”—concepts that you relate to on a personal level. How does this series reflect your own experiences?

The women in Surfacing are overcoming adversity, finding personal strength, power, and the way back to normalcy. This metaphor echoes my own struggles as well as my artistic accomplishments. Depression has been a lifelong partner. When I’m in the midst of it, like many others I tend to isolate. I know personally how hard it is to ask for help, or to find help when you’re ready to talk.

From a technical perspective, how did you shoot this series?

Honestly, I just try everything I can until I get to what works. A lot of the time I work off of feelings, emotions, and subtleties, so I take what I already am familiar with on the technical side from shooting in studio for decades, and I’ve just applied it to underwater shooting as best as I can. Of course there are technical and physical limitations that come with shooting underwater, but just like anything else, practice makes perfect (as do wetsuits, goggles, and watertight seals).

What equipment do you use to capture such beautiful underwater images?

My imagination and my eye.

You work with several organizations in order to highlight mental health awareness. Can you tell us a bit about these organizations?

This year I’ve teamed up with Bell Let’s Talk (Canada) and Give an Hour’s Campaign to Change Direction (USA) for a string of exhibitions across North America. These two fantastic organizations provide hands-on support and assistance to those struggling with mental health issues, whether it is through providing direct access to care resources, raising funds for scientific research, or using their platforms to raise awareness about & change the stigma surrounding mental illness.

These causes are very close to my heart as someone who has continually struggled with their mental health. I have also seen firsthand the positive impact of organizations like these, as well as the help that family, friends, and professionals alike can have on the mental health of others. I am also helping out with Change Direction’s A Week to Change Direction, and joining the conversation to help change the cultural stigma surrounding mental health. Everyone can visit their site and use #ChangeDirection on social media to be a part of that change. I could not be more excited to have their support and help further their initiatives with my own work.

Do you have any upcoming plans or projects in the works?

Parts of the Surfacing series have been traveling through the US and Canada since the beginning of the year, already making stops at Montreal’s Galerie LeRoyer and Los Angeles’ Art Angels. In August, another selection from the series will be on display at Bau-Xi Gallery in Vancouver, before the whole series goes up at Bau-Xi Photo in Toronfto this September.

I’m continually shifting my focus between above ground and underwater studios, and I have almost finished final preparation on my series Shadow Dancing. In this series, I make use of the centuries-old wet collodion process and pair it with contemporary technologies to create what I refer to as modern tintypes. Hoping to lock down an exhibition of these pieces next year!

Meet Kat Emery and Jacquelin Napal of Art Angels in Miami Design District

May 31st 2019

VoyageMIA MAY 31, 2019

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kat Emery and Jacquelin Napal.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kat and Jacquelin. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.

We have never wanted to be a traditional gallery, we always like to create an inviting experience where all are welcome. We like to curate an evocative and sometimes provocative space with beautiful and memorable artworks, artworks that make look twice, some that shock, some that draw you in, some that make you think, some that make you question, that provides emotions.

Art Angels is a very inspiring place, people get inspired by not only the artists and the artworks on the walls but also by the great team we have here.

We first met working at another gallery Jacquelin had been director there for many years and we knew that we could do something really special together. We had a vision of creating a new generation gallery space where we could help grow artists careers and showcase all of the artists and artworks we personally loved.

Our first show/launch was a one night pop up in a huge exhibition space in Hollywood, we managed to get artists to trust and believe in us and give us their artworks to exhibit. We even did an exclusive print release. The space was an empty shell and in 48 hours, we moved everything in, painted walls, built walls, installed lights, put up custom wallpaper and then when the event was overtaken it all down again and we did it all ourselves. That’s been a running theme we have done everything and worn every hat as we have grown as a business.

We have two huge gallery spaces now one in LA and one in Miami, our collector base has grown. We have a recognizable worldwide brand now which we are really proud of and its lead to all the growth we have had and the evolution yet to come.

In the gallery, we like to curate an evocative and sometimes provocative experience with beautiful and memorable artworks, artworks that make look twice, some that shock, some that draw you in, some that make you think, some that make you question, that provides emotions. To create an inviting and immersive experience where all collectors are welcome.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

One of the greatest challenges we have faced along our journey is being a woman in a primarily male-dominated industry. As the owners of Art Angels, we have often come across individuals who have questioned if there is a male counterpart who is behind the success of the business and the funding. This is not the case at all and we’re proud to see how much we have grown by our own efforts, with our own money and no one else’s. As female CEO’s, there could not be a better time to set the example for young girls today, inspiring them and reinforcing that regardless of gender and stereotypes, you can do whatever you put your mind to. Dream big and dream bigger and pursue your passion with ruthlessness, drive, and dedication and it will all come together.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Art Angels – what should we know?
The gallery is normally curated with an eclectic group of artists ranging from emerging artists to highly recognizable, blue-chip artists. No matter your interests, everyone is welcome. Art Angels caters to the highly sophisticated and experienced collector, the novice collector and those that simply want to learn more about art. It is important to feel comfortable and safe with us. “It’s an incredibly fun experience to walk into our gallery,” Our artwork is bold, beautiful, provocative & emotive. We have a mix of styles from photography, abstract, pop art, street art, and sculpture.

We have two huge gallery spaces now one in LA and one in Miami, our collector base has grown. We have a recognizable worldwide brand now which we are really proud of and its lead to all the growth we have had and the evolution yet to come.

The gallery, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary, has already achieved a great deal of success, amassing an impressive collector base that includes a number of actors, athletes, and other celebrities.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Art Angels Gallery – Los Angeles
    9020 Beverly Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90048
    +1 (310) 693 5500 
    Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm | Saturday 12pm – 5pm
  • Address: Art Angels Gallery – Miami
    127 NE 40th Street Miami, FL 33137
    +1 (786) 753 8088
    Monday – Friday 11am – 7pm | Saturday 12pm – 7pm
  • Website: www.artangels.net
  • Email: info@artangels.net
  • Instagram: @art_angels
  • Facebook: artangelsla


May 28th 2019


By:  Christy Wright

Photography: Stacey Brandford | Design: Tara Fingold | Styling: Christine Hanlon

With a lot of planning, some smart use of colour and oodles of storage, this show-stopping Toronto home proves superb style can be supremely livable.

Designer Tara Fingold likes to keep her finger on the pulse of decor innovations. She’s especially smitten with the new wave of man-made stones and technologically advanced fabrics. But her secret to successful design lies in something much more Luddite than the latest thing: good old-fashioned pen and paper. “It’s very important to know your needs and write them all down in advance,” she says. “That way, nothing’s forgotten and everything is accounted for in the planning stage.”

Tara took plenty of notes when mapping out this 4,500-square-foot Georgian-style new build in Toronto’s Forest Hill neighbourhood for a couple and their three young sons. The homeowners’ list of essentials included practical considerations, but they were also keen to factor in some decorative heft. “With three boys, I cook a lot and tend to stock up on supplies,” says one of the homeowners. “I need proper functionality, but I still want everything to look elegant.” Tara got the brief. “I envisioned a clean-lined home that would look great for years to come,” she says, “not too trendy but still with a lot of personality and the durability the family desired.”

How did she pull it off? Part of the answer lies in Tara’s stylish deployment of colour, which comes as second nature to this seasoned pro. “There’s a subtle theme of blues and greys at play on the first floor. In the family room, they’re bright and cheerful, and in the office, quiet and sophisticated. The key is that they are in every room for continuity, which creates flow so that it’s peaceful to walk through the house.”

Other factors that achieve flow in this abode include the repetition of brassy finishes and sheer drapery. Though they vary slightly in colour, the linen drapes on the main level cultivate a pulled-together look. “The common denominator is the fabric,” says the designer. “It’s the same throughout, so it works” – much like the fabrics used in the family room, which reference Tara’s love of innovative finishes and, in doing so, suit the needs of this family of five. The glam velvety sofas are anything but precious thanks to a Teflon coating, and the elegant ottoman is topped with vinyl so movie night spills can be easily wiped away. The gorgeous custom-made kitchen seating steals this idea, too, layering upscale patterned fabric backs with seats upholstered in leather-look vinyl.

All of Tara’s stylish selections crack the functionality-versus-elegance code and embody her approach to livable design. “There is balance in this home,” she says. “It’s harmonious, bright and airy but still very practical.” And that’s a result of bringing some of the latest innovative materials together with trusty notepad planning.

In the entryway, a navy Parsons-style console and burnished brass accessories encapsulate designer Tara Fingold’s tonal inspirations. Nearly every room boasts hits of brass and blue, netting a pleasing cohesive effect.

A judicious use of brass, particularly in the bold range hood framing, strikes an elegant note in the super practical kitchen and speaks to Tara’s knack for continuity among rooms. “People often see the kitchen as its own design entity, separate from the rest of the home,” she says. “While it does need its own personality, it should reflect the overall style of the rest of the house.” The countertops and backsplash are made of Geoluxe, a high-performance low-maintenance material that looks like marble.

The kitchen island stools, as well as the matching eat-in area chairs, are business in the front, party in the back: the vinyl seats require little upkeep, while the sketch-like fabric backs introduce some intriguing eye candy.

With three growing boys in the house, the homeowners tend to stock up on cooking staples, so Tara planned for ample kitchen storage – and then some. The eat-in area features built-in floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, while the drapes serve as a soft counterpoint to the hard surfaces.

Custom toss cushions introduce blues into the family room. “The tones and patterns are playful here – less serious than in the office,” says Tara. Built-ins flank the fireplace, and the bottom cabinets keep board games and books organized yet out of sight. She didn’t feel the need to hide the TV. “It’s a simple shape and functional, so it works.”

“I love the pewter patina of the front closet’s hardware but wanted to reference the office’s brass accents, which you can see from the hall, so I went with this chandelier,” says Tara. As for the high-end flooring choice? “Most people are scared to use marble in a foyer – they think it’s too precious, but it’s actually very durable. one like this, with veining, hides any scrapes or scuffs.” The luxe-meets-livable family room holds two banks of stylishly stocked built-in shelving. “Shelves are a great way to mix beautiful accessories with meaningful pieces,” says Tara of the feature.

The office has a dramatic boutique-hotel feel. “I was inspired by the J.K. Place Capri,” says one of the homeowners. The hotel’s breezy nautical blues appear here in richer tones, selected by Tara to better suit city living. Custom cabinetry keeps necessities like files and computer equipment out of sight. Artwork by Barbara Cole, Art Angels, a chandelier and sophisticated accents beautifully blur the line between functional and fabulous.

The master bedroom, a warm cocoon of pattern and soft upholstery, is a deliberate departure from the rest of the home’s cool blues (and the ensuite follows suit). “I wanted a serene bedroom with lots of taupes and a luxurious bed,” says Tara, who delivered just that with a simply stunning chenille-upholstered frame. Wallpaper creates a feature wall and furthers the textural effect, while wall-to-wall carpeting amps up the cozy feel.

The custom-made double-sink vanity is topped with white Caesarstone quartz and has storage to spare. “It’s a simple design, and its dusty, bluish-grey finish makes it pretty,” says the designer.

“The marble tile is the wow factor in the master bath, and its herringbone placement makes its contemporary veining even more dramatic,” says Tara. An unfussy vessel tub and chandelier leave the lime-light to the floor.


May 17th 2019

 MAY 17, 2019


Founded in 2013, Art Angels works with some of the most important contemporary and provocative artists of the times. Founders Kat Emery and Jacqueline Napal have not taken a breather– Instead, they decided to go ‘guns blazing’ with the opening of a second gallery in Miami last year.

Emery and Napal have expanded their gallery both internationally and within the U.S., picking up clients like Drake, Beyonce, and Elon Musk along the way. At the Los Angeles flagship, Flaunt spoke with the duo to discuss their Miami location, pop culture’s influence on fine art, and their journey from conception to present-day.

Tell me a little bit about both of you, what are your backgrounds originally in?

We have never wanted to be a traditional gallery, we always like to create an inviting experience where all are welcome. We like to curate an evocative and sometimes provocative space with beautiful and memorable artworks, artworks that make you look twice, some that shock, some that draw you in, some that make you think, some that make you question, that provide emotions.

Art Angels is a very inspiring place, people get inspired by not only the artists and the artworks on the walls but also by the great team we have here.

Stephen Wilson.

Tell me about your journey and how you guys came together?

We first met working at another gallery Jacquelin had been director there for many years and we knew that we could do something really special together. We had a vision of creating a new generation gallery space where we could help grow artists careers and showcase all of the artists and artworks we personally loved.

Describe the launch of your gallery and the first exhibition?

Our first show/launch was a one night pop up in a huge exhibition space in Hollywood, we managed to get artists to trust and believe in us and give us there artworks to exhibit. We even did a exclusive print release. The space was an empty shell and in 48 hours we moved everything in, painted walls, built walls, installed lights, put up custom wallpaper and then when the event was over took it all down again and we did it all ourselves. Thats been a running theme we have done everything and worn every hat as we have grown as a business.

Bruno Bisang.

How would you describe the Art Angels aesthetic?

Our artwork is bold, beautiful, provocative & emotive. We have a mix of styles from photography, abstract, pop art, street art and sculpture.

What is the most exciting thing about contemporary art?

Seeing all the new emerging talents that are inspired by social and political issues and seeing how art is being used for social change.

Barbara Cole.

How has it evolved since it opened?

We have two huge gallery spaces now one in LA and one in Miami, our collector base has grown. We have a recognizable worldwide brand now which we are really proud of and its lead to all the growth we have had and the evolution yet to come.

What is the mission of Art Angels?

In the gallery we like to curate an evocative and sometimes provocative experience with beautiful and memorable artworks, artworks that make look twice, some that shock, some that draw you in, some that make you think, some that make you question, that provide emotions. To create and inviting and immersive experience where all collectors are welcome.

Left to Right: Mike Dargas, Craig Alan.

Why did you decide to open a second location in Miami?

We have a lot of collectors in Miami already and it was a natural progression for us to open over there. Miami is a vibrant international city that fits perfectly with our aesthetic. It is also a hub for our collectors from the east coast and over seas, they visit the city often.

What is the importance of finding the intersection between fine art and pop culture?

Pop culture influences fine art, the rise of social media has meant fine art is now so much more accessible to a wider audience. There are a lot of people in pop culture that are very influential in the art world. The fusion between art music and fashion is huge. Off-White and Takashi Murakami, Swizz Beats and the Dean Collection, Luis Vuitton and Jeff Koons are all examples of how the different worlds are colliding.


How does social media play a role in your gallery success?

Instagram is really important to our business, we had an IG account before we had a website or a gallery space. It’s a place where we find new artists, where new collectors find us. The art world has evolved so much in recent years that Instagram is a taste making spot for art now and we play a big part in that.

Tell me about the inspiration behind ‘Showtime’ the newest show to debut at Art Angels:

In a unique manner, David Drebin combines voyeuristic and psychological viewpoints. He offers the viewer a dramatic insight into emotions and experiences which many of us have doubtlessly felt at some point of our lives.

Drebin’s intention is to liberate the viewer from the system of rules of everyday life and restore his faith, emotion, and humanity. The distinctive tension and depth in his pictures arise from the free combination of such differing topics as humor and sex, melancholy and sex and melancholy and humor.


“With our first exhibition ‘Showtime’ opening next Thursday night in LA these Art Angels, beautiful human beings inside and out, started out with a dream that has fast become a reality as so many of the artists including Stephen Wilson, Flore, Elizabeth Waggett, Michael Moebius all feel the same way about these two genuine human beings with a simple Dream: to work with great artists and to promote, elevate and build a legacy. This is the Dream.” - David Drebin

Any other shows coming up?

LA has a great line up of upcoming shows which will feature works by:

David Drebin, May 9th 2019
Stikki Peaches, September 26th 2019 

Flore, October 2019

Philippe Shangti, November 2019

In Miami, we will be curating and showcasing at:

The Nobu Hotel / Eden Roc Hotel Mandarin Oriental, June 2019 Faena Hotel
Art Basel 2019

Photography by: Devin Kasparian

After Succeeding in LA, Art Angels Gallery Expanded to Miami. And the Founders Say They’re Just Getting Started

May 15th 2019

The pop-art gallery and its two female founders have learned a lot in five years.

artnet Gallery Network, August 14, 2018


Kat Emery (left) and Jacquelin Napal (right) in front of a custom Flore mural at Art Angels’s Los Angeles Gallery. Courtesy of Art Angels.

It’s not easy for a gallery to carve out a name for itself in a city as big and starry as LA. But Art Angels, a contemporary, pop-art venture located in West Hollywood, has done just that.

Jacquelin Napal and Kat Emery, the two owners and founders of the gallery, are the angels in question. One of their artists, James Georgopoulos, coined the term, often referring to the duo as “art angels” whenever they interacted. The name fits: As two young, stylish women with business acumen and a taste for market-friendly art, Napal and Emery aren’t cut from the same cloth as many of their peers. And that’s a good thing.

The gallery, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary, has already achieved a great deal of success, amassing an impressive collector base that includes a number of actors, athletes, and other celebrities. Not content to sit on their success, the duo opened up a second branch in Miami this summer, and they’re hoping to repeat the feat in a third location.


Art Angels’s new Miami location. Courtesy of Art Angels.

Art Angels specializes in work by pop-oriented artists, many of whom are emerging; others are more established. Artist Beau Dunn works with toy imagery like Barbie and Hello Kitty, mixing themes of childhood, materialism, and desire to enticing effect. Or there’s Flore (pronounced Floor-ee), a painter with a street art background in the vein of Haring or Basquiat. He makes densely layered murals of signs, cryptic phrases, and abstract shapes. And don’t forget Philippe Shangti, a French photographer who breaks down taboos with his bright, provocative portraits of scantily clad women.

“It’s an incredibly fun experience to walk into our gallery,” Emery tells artnet News. “Our artists are very bold; they take risks. But they’re also very great investment artists. It’s exceptional art that doesn’t take itself too seriously.”


Beau Dunn’s Barbie #1′ hanging in the house of model Claudia Schiffer—one of the gallery’s many celebrity clients. Courtesy of Art Angels.

Emery, who’s from Manchester in the UK, met Napal, an LA native, in the early 2010s. They were both working at a gallery in LA. Napal was, by title, the director of the gallery, though her duties encompassed virtually every aspect of the business; Emery came from a sales background. Their skill sets complemented each other perfectly, and they were interested in the same thing: starting a gallery that wasn’t as male-dominated or unwelcoming as so many others.

The two women officially launched the gallery early in 2013. Their beginnings were humble. They started out, like many galleries do today, on Instagram. (The platform has remained a large part of their identity since, and they currently have over 63,000 followers.)

“That’s kind of where we began, before we had a space, before we had a pop-up, even before we had the website,” Emery says. “It’s something we found very important from day one and obviously it’s continued to grow. It’s a fantastic resource for us. We get a lot of collectors who stop by the gallery because they follow us on Instagram and have seen the stuff online.”


Courtesy of Art Angels.

In October of that year, Art Angels launched a pop-up exhibition in West Hollywood—their first big project. And it was, indeed, big—they rented a massive space encompassing thousands of square feet.

“It was quite a bold move for us,” recalls Emery, laughing. “But it went really well.”

So well, in fact, that they were able to parlay the experience into their first real location just three days later—a 600-square-foot space connected to the one they’d rented for the pop-up.

In 2016, the gallery moved into its current home—a 2,000-square-foot retail space in West Hollywood’s design district. (Since then, they’ve also taken over the unit next door; their exhibition space is now over 3,500 square feet in total.) That’s rapid growth for a gallery that had just left its toddler years. But Napal and Emery aren’t done.


Art Angels’s new Miami location. Courtesy of Art Angels.

In July of this year, the pair expanded to the East Coast, opening up a second branch in Miami’s Buena Vista neighborhood.

“We definitely wanted to have a presence on the East Coast,” Napal says of the decision. “We’ve been involved in Basel for the last couple of years and have a very strong collector base there. Five years ago, we chose LA because we felt like the city was missing a gallery like ours. That’s how we felt about Miami, too.”

Despite the name Art Angels, the duo refrained from presenting the gallery as being female-run for the first few years of its existence. It wasn’t a matter of hiding anything; they simply didn’t want the gallery’s identity to compete with the art inside.

“People often assume that there is a male financing the gallery,” Napal says. “But that’s not the case. It’s entirely funded by both of us; it’s our own money, no one else’s. I think it’s also inspiring for young females right now to know that you can do anything. You just need to have the passion and the drive and the dedication, and it all will come together.”


May 15th 2019

Mike Pham Posted on October 07 2016


JC Ro is an artist based here in Long Beach, CA, but his talents and blue collar work ethic were forged back before the Metro-Detroit native made his move for the west coast in 2003. What started off as a move towards California in the pursuit of palm trees, pretty girls, and year round skating weather, has since transitioned through design and into a career in art. Mostly noted for his interpretations of various Jordan sneakers to his larger than life mural of Kobe Bryant on Melrose in Los Angeles. JC’s latest exhibition at the D.O.M Gallery in Los Angeles received a lot of attention, and the giant Kanye head featured outside could even be seen on Kim Kardashian’s snapchat a couple times. He has now taken his creative talent to the walls of Proper with his Kanye piece “I feel like Pablo when I’m workin’ on my shoes”.

It’s evident that you are a fan of Michael Jordan, how did that even come about seeing as that you are from Detroit, home of the infamous “Bad Boys”?

It was heartbreaking sometimes to watch the Pistons rough him up and take him out of his game! Now I can really enjoy the Bad Boys’ era, but at the time I was so young I didn’t understand how that was fair play. I remember my Dad laughing at how mad I’d get sitting 1 foot away from the TV, or the first Bulls/Pistons game I went to I was the only kid wearing a Bulls shirt in a crowd of Pistons fans.

MJ was everything when I was young, and I was just past that age after you found out Santa wasn’t real, and you’re mad that Ninja Turtles are just dudes in costumes, or that Batman doesn’t actually exist… but Jordan wasn’t fiction, he was real and I was getting to see it with my own eyes. I guess he was my first hero as a kid that no one could take away or tell me was make-believe.

How did you get started creating your style?

My first attempt in this direction was a portrait of my dog, Jack. I saw a lot of artists experimenting with similar types of illustration, and I noticed that there were certain things that I wished I could emphasize or do in my own way. This first piece took much longer than I had expected but I had no clue that I lost complete track of time until I was done. I got hooked on getting lost in the process and the calming and satisfying effects of hours in simplified focus. It reminds me of when I was a kid and you would just be outside playing all day until the streetlights came on. After that I went on to doing movie scenes of two of my favorite movies: The Big Lebowski and Friday. Next I started doing portraits of Jordan’s, I wanted to recreate all my favorite sneakers with exaggerations on certain details. Once the first one was finished, seeing my vision of the shoe complete was just as enjoyable (if not more) as owning the shoes, so I would just simply create with the same repetition inspired by my insatiable love for sneakers.


When did you notice that you could do this for a living?

To be honest, I started this whole process as a means of a creative outlet. I had been freelancing and to fill the void between times I created a separate Instagram account to keep all my work on a separate platform. Everyday I would either come up with a new shoe I wanted to create, or concept or something inspired by whatever the sneaker community was buzzing about. Soon thereafter a couple of blogs would repost my work and it started to build momentum where people started requesting prints so that they could hang along their sneaker collection.


How has Instagram played a vital role in your rise?

I feel like Instagram is helpful for creative people, because some of us communicate best visually. I remember being young and in art class, they would often say, “you can’t really make a living as an artist, unless you want to be an art teacher”. Thankfully 20 years later with the help of social media platforms like Instagram, a ton of opportunities have been created for artist to get their work out and have it be seen around the world.

First Michael, then Kobe, now Kanye, why Kanye? Are you a fan?

(Laughs) I am. He has certain relentlessness as a creative that to me is just as driven, focused, and unapologetic as MJ was with his game on the court. He sees where he is going, whether anyone believes him or not. I think it’s rad that Adidas has given him space to create and he’s steady pushing and exceeding the limitations. His willingness to fight for every opportunity to express himself, even after he’s been denied, is inspiring.


What was it like to see Kim Kardashian snapchat your interpretation of Kanye in front of D.O.M gallery and then see Kanye’s reaction a few days later as he passed by it as well?

It was crazy! My first reaction was “Oh shit, she liked it” when people started showing her first post, and then I wondered if maybe she had shown him or if maybe he had seen it yet?… and then a week later when she posted the video of it again and Kanye driving past it, I was shocked obviously and thought “well that answers that question, he saw it!” ha-ha

What was your inspiration behind the mural?

Well, on his recent album, Kanye rapped “I feel like Pablo when I’m working on my shoes” and since a lot of my work is centered around my love of sneakers and I’m a big Picasso fan, that line stuck out to me.  The idea sparked initially a bit like a joke, but it developed quickly into something creatively tempting.  I think each time I heard that part of the song I would laugh and enjoy how bold and confident that statement was, and I would draw more similarities in Kanye’s and Picasso’s personas based from stories and documentaries I’d seen on Picasso.

I’ve always been fascinated by the footage and photos of Pablo Picasso in his studio, looking for gems, the methods, the madness and the more that song looped in my head I imagined Kanye ever-so-confidently painting a shoe on a giant canvas as if he were actually Pablo Picasso.  Luckily I found a photo of Picasso that not only had him painting a large canvas, but it had elements and artwork in the background that gave me an opportunity to visualize a few more likenesses between the two.  Their matching bravado inspired the ‘self-portraits’ in the background, and their well known and expressive self documented love of the female form inspired the abstract piece of 'Kim’s waist’ seen up high in a golden frame.  I added a few extra Kanye elements with the bear, his gear, and the wallpaper in a sort of yzy 350 pattern.  This is one of my favorite pieces for sure, and it was a lot of fun to explore relating/connecting 2 completely different types of creative people that have inspired me in a lot of ways.


Have you ever owned any pair of Yeezy’s?

Stuck out every time so far, keeping my fingers crossed for the next one.


What are your five favorite shoes of all-time?

Jordan 1 (Chicago)

Penny 2 (Atlantic)

Jordan 12 (Taxi)

Just Don x Jordan 2 (Beach)

Jordan 5 (Fire red w/ 3M tongue)


What would you consider your holy grail of sneakers? (the one sneaker that will always elude you)

Jordan Oregon 5s or Yeezy Red Octobers

Who are some of the artist that inspire you past and present?

Past: Pablo Picasso, Leonardo Di Vinci, Bernard Buffet

Present: MadSteez, Market Price, Sam Rodriguez, Freehand ProTit


What can we expect to see next from you?

More paintings for sure, I’m looking forward to more time in my studio! Oh and be on the look out for the occasional product drop.


A Moment of Splendour by Elizabeth Waggett 

March 21st 2019

A Moment of Splendour by Elizabeth Waggett 

Kylie Jenner's Hidden Hills Home Is Equal Parts Sparkle and Sumptuousness

February 7th 2019

Makeup tycoon Kylie Jenner savors the sweet smell of success in a dazzling home animated with pop brio and youthful energy

By Mayer Rus

Photography by Douglas Friedman

February 5, 2019

What were you doing when you were 21 years old? Looking for a job? Settling for an unpaid internship? Shopping for a foldout futon? Kylie Jenner hasn’t got time for all that. The wildly popular entrepreneur, reality-television star, and youngest member of the Jenner/Kardashian clan is busy presiding over a cosmetics empire worth roughly $800 million. Forbes magazine speculated that she is on track to become the youngest self-made billionaire in history. She also has more than 124 million followers on Instagram—a single 2018 post introducing her daughter, Stormi Webster, garnered more than 18 million likes. To borrow a hackneyed phrase, when Kylie talks, people listen.

“Kylie is the ultimate celebrity, the ultimate influencer. For someone her age to have achieved so much is frankly astonishing,” says Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the Los Angeles AD100 designer tasked with conjuring a dream home worthy of a vivacious almost-billionaire superstar. The residence is located in the Los Angeles suburb of Hidden Hills, close to the homes of Kylie’s high-profile siblings and their mother, Kris Jenner. “When we started this project, she wasn’t even old enough to drink legally. This was her first really grown-up house,” he adds.

Jenner—wearing a Frame sweater, a Staud skirt, Fendi shoes, Brumaniearrings, and a Shay Fine Jewelry bracelet—in her glam room. Fashion styling by Jill Jacobs. Neon artwork by Beau Dunn.

Andy Warhol screen prints ascend with the stairwell in the home’s entry. Fendi stroller by Inglesina.

“I told Martyn I wanted a fresh, fun vibe to match the way I was feeling. Color was essential. I love pink, and I wanted a lot of it!” Jenner recalls of her earliest conversations with the decorator. Functional requirements were also at the top of her agenda. “My closets and glam room are very personal to me, even down to the size of each drawer, so they fit my specific products and clothes. I spend a lot of time in those rooms, so we had to make sure they were perfect.”

Bullard obliged with a design scheme that is equal parts sparkle and sumptuousness. On the more glittery end of the spectrum are the white lacquer-and-acrylic grand piano in Jenner’s monochromatic, Old/New Hollywood living room; the gold-leafed ceiling of the dining room; vintage Lucite furniture by Charles Hollis Jones; and reflective wall coverings galore. On the plush side of the equation, Bullard deployed carpets of Patagonian shearling, alpaca, and silk; snow leopard–patterned velvet on the vintage Milo Baughman barstools in the lounge; and fur bedcovers.

“The look is glamorous but totally inviting. Kylie loves to have people over, and there’s nothing so precious that you can’t stand, jump, or dance on it,” Bullard explains of the decorative mix.

Sly nods to Kylie Cosmetics, Jenner’s blockbuster business, abound. In the dining room, for example, the leather upholstery on the chairs was custom-dyed to match colors from Kylie’s lipstick collection, ranging from ceruse to pale pink to deep garnet. In the living room, seemingly liquescent brass consoles riff on the drip patterns of the makeup line’s signature packaging. “I have a lot of Kylie Cosmetics, awards, and my magazine covers around the house that inspire me on a daily basis. I am very proud of what I’ve accomplished,” Jenner notes.

Halfway through the project, Jenner learned that she was going to have a baby with rapper Travis Scott (given name Jacques Bermon Webster II), which necessitated a retrofit for a nursery and playroom. “Stormi has definitely taken over the house with her toys,” Jenner says, laughing. And not just any old binkies and baubles. Chez Kylie, it’s all about the bling—a Fendi baby stroller and a Lamborghini child’s car are among the many high-end playthings.

The art-filled bar features condom art by Beau Dunn.

Of course, the fun is not reserved exclusively for Stormi. In the lavish family room, Jenner and her guests can take a swing on a Jim Zivic hammock suspended from the ceiling while enjoying treats from custom cocktail tables with cutouts for ice, champagne, and caviar. The entertainment continues in the bar/lounge, which is tricked out with a billiard table, arcade games, a Saint Laurent limited-edition surfboard, and, for a little added cheekiness, a group of giant condom sculptures from artist Beau Dunn’s “Size Does Matter” series. Andy Warhol dollar-sign lithographs and a dramatic portrait of the homeowner round out the art on display in the lounge.

“Kylie feels a deep connection to Marilyn Monroe, so we placed a series of Warhol screen prints of Marilyn along the main stairway. In general, we selected artworks that felt appropriate for a young collector with feminine tastes. Everything reflects Kylie’s personality,” Bullard says, referring to the Damien Hirst “I Love You” butterfly silk screens that adorn the dining room, the Jean-Michel Basquiat screen print that presides over the living room, and black-and-white photographs of Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, and Twiggy. The Tracey Emin neon sculpture that hangs in the bar perhaps best sums up the saucy vibe of the dynamo’s dazzling home. It reads, “I Can’t Believe How Much You Love Me.”

Artist, Christopher Florentino 

January 29th 2019

Artist, Christopher Florentino 

Artist, Christopher Florentino

January 26th 2019

Artist, Christopher Florentino