Art historian and curator Chiara Gesualdo is the founder of Onstream Gallery. Based in Italy after working in London, Chiara Gesualdo wanted to create a space to “encourages dialogue and engagement between art and audiences”. She shares about her goals for her platform, her collectors and how she selects artists of her gallery.
Hello Chiara Gesualdo, why did you decide to open your own gallery?
I worked in and visited galleries all the time and I felt like that there was something missing within the gallery sector. Nowadays, the way galleries still operate it’s in an environment of exclusivity and elitism. Which makes people feel uncomfortable and not welcomed. So when I sat down, more than a year ago now, with the idea of launching a gallery, all I knew was that I wanted to put people at the heart of the project.
I was determined to open a gallery that encourages dialogue and engagement between art and audiences, while building something that gives its contribution to change the way industry operates.
What do you offer that you believe is different from other galleries or platforms?
Onstream Gallery it’s not a gallery in the traditional sense; Onstream Gallery it’s an online based gallery that firmly believes in accessibility, transparency and inclusion. The gallery mission is to create a new generation of collectors while supporting the work of emerging artists. To do so, the digital has become our main ally. The website is our home, our gallery space open 24/7 where we share content about our artists in a fresh and engaging way. This also explains the origin of the gallery name ONSTREAM in the sense, always available and accessible, on stream 24/7 indeed.
The culture of Onstream Gallery then, is based on enjoyment and inclusivity. This is where our WE BELIEVE comes from: it has become a sort of “gallery manifesto” and people love it!
Can you share about the artists of your gallery? What makes you decide to work with an artist?
I select artists based on gallery selection criteria, but originality and unique voice are the most important. I like the idea of artist differentiation and not being exclusively tied to one specific type of art or medium only. We do believe arts are different, so our artists are.
For example, we have a digital collage artist, Sonia Benosuda (b.1992) from London who draws inspiration from the surrealistic word of Magritte. Then we have WARO (b.1996), a self taught artist inspired by many pop art legends. Waro’s style is unique and is a modern take on hand-drawn and graphic works. But also, Matteo Capriotti (b.1996), a young artist who specialises in the art of depth and in oil on paintings. Matteo is now attending the Accademia of Brera in Milan.
We also work with more established artists like Bruno Cerasi (b.1985). His works are mostly focused on investigating the connection between people and what moves us as a human being. He plays with different mediums and I like to define him as “the artist who loves contrasts”. Our last new entry is Alex D’Aquila (b.1986) he’s the most conceptual artist of the gallery. We have presented a body of work released in 2016 called The Floating Polaroid. A series of 20 Polaroid which is a tribute to The Floating Piers of Christo. “I like Alex’s work as he has been able to build an imaginary, delicate, and dreaming universe upon one of the most visionnaire, yet real, manifestations of land art.” This is my favourite comment on Alex’s work from one of our young collectors.
At the same time, it’s also extremely important for us to establish a relationship with our artists. Onstream Gallery works alongside our artists to create meaningful experiences for our audience. For example, back in November 2020, we created Are We All Connected?in collaboration with one of our artists, Bruno Cerasi. Are We All Connected? was an online exhibition that existed also offline. We invited people to become co-creators of the exhibition itself. More than 800 people showed their interest. During the period of the exhibition we had about 4k visits to our website in less than 2 weeks. Which, let me say, was a great achievement for a gallery, such as Onstream Gallery, who was born only 4 months before it!
Who are your collectors? How do you help them to start an art collection?
Our main collectors are mostly first-time buyers or young people who have just started their own collection. They come to us because they like the way we communicate with them in an open, clear and inclusive way. They also love the fact that artwork prices are visible, so transparency is also really appreciated. Our collectors want to feel engaged, they want cultural experiences but most importantly they want to feel included. Which is what Onstream Gallery offers.
How did the pandemic affect your business?
Thank for this question because it lets me highlight the fact that Onstream Gallery was born months before the pandemic. Indeed, when I started to work at it, it was in October 2019. However, I think that the pandemic somehow has positively affected the business. I believe It has helped people to “accept” an online gallery faster than what it would have taken if the pandemic never existed. The rising of the “online” during the pandemic – as the only way to feel closer to our beloved, in a moment where, being physically present was impossibile, I believe all this has had a strong impact on the way people have perceived and consequently understood the nature of the business.
What is your upcoming project?
We have an upcoming project with one of our artists, WARO. We’ll present a new body of work which will mark the turning point of his artistic research. This is also another thing that I really like about working with young artists: we, as a gallery, support their research but, most importantly we grow together. I cannot tell you more about the project at the moment, but I can assure you that we are pushing the boundaries of technologies even more!
To follow on Instagram @onstreamgallery