In the local art scene, a most welcome new service is one that is provided by a pioneering group called Archivist, headed by Regina Aquino Diano, Danielle Ongsiako Isabela and Kristoffer del Villar.
Archivist is a collections management company dedicated to the aesthetic, historical, financial and sentimental value of art in order to sustain its legacy.
Archivist’s service includes physical art cataloging, maintenance and appraisal. The primary goal is to elevate the standard of collecting.
“We feel it’s important for collectors to stay connected to the art in their possession, and the first step to this is being thoroughly acquainted with each piece: going in depth to understand the history behind the art and the artist,” explains Isabela. “We analyze the materials used and what they entail in terms of maintenance.”
Isabela adds: “We study past and current markets for monetary value. We believe having as much knowledge as they can about their art will help create a deeper appreciation of them and art in general.”
Healthier art market
“We also believe this is a step toward cultivating a healthier art market in the country, as pieces would retain their quality and market value. Building on art appreciation could fuel collectors in their buying and selling efforts as well, helping them invest wisely and expand their interests to extend to different spheres of the art market.”
Says Diano: “Our service encourages collectors to recognize and properly preserve an artwork.”
The trio’s experience working at an auction house gave them exposure to the local art market, trends, personalities, as well as insights on how collectors think, and what their wants, needs and interests are.
Diano has worked in publishing, art advisory and museums. Keeping up to date with trends and events has also given her an awareness and means for comparison of local and international standards.
Del Villar’s involvement in safety and logistics departments have made him knowledgeable and well-trained in the proper handling of items.
Isabela has dabbled in different fields of art, having studied architecture and interior design. She took up online courses at Sotheby’s on auctions and art writing, and has worked on art and graphic design projects. She also has experience handling events, social media and marketing work.
The Archivist team has witnessed stories of high-value paintings becoming unsalable because of the amount of damage they have incurred, or of paintings being misplaced.
Collectors often have very busy schedules and don’t have time to focus on the details of their collections. More common are those who inherit artworks and have no knowledge about art.
“Our clients understand the need for proper cataloging of collections,” says Del Villar. “There is always the idea of ‘I can do that myself’ that we have to compete against. But our clients understand the time and effort required in the process of creating a detailed catalog and having a team to help them with that.”
Although popular in other countries, collections management companies aren’t common here in the Philippines. Archivist is the first of its kind.
Archivist is flexible and can tailor-fit its services to the individual needs of each client. Its services are all-around: from designing the layout and installation of pieces to bringing art to framers, conservators and authenticators, as well as facilitating loans or standing in for bidding at auctions.
They usually start out by meeting with the client. They get to know their interests and what they expect from the services.
From there, they set up an ocular to assess the scale of the project, and plan out the process. Based on this information, they come up with a quotation.
Once the client approves and signs the contract, they begin with photography and documentation. The catalog they create is given in three forms: as a hard copy; a PDF file; and an online gallery accessible on a laptop or mobile device.
Nondisclosure agreements are signed to protect the client’s privacy.
The Archivist’s services work as a subscription for one year, during which the catalog can be edited.—CONTRIBUTED