We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexandra Ray and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexandra, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have been an art advisor and curator of pop up shows for almost 20 years both here and in my early days in London. I had always dreamt of having my own gallery but these brick and mortar commitments are costly and unnecessary. 75% of art is bought online in today’s current climate so I saw the reality to move with the times. When the pandemic happened and the inability to travel to see shows, it gave me a pause, to dream up my next iteration of my vision for how people could view and buy art. Eye of the Huntress is a virtual online exhibition series that art lovers would subscribe to, to get amazing desirable works of current art brought to them, yet delivered in a context of an architectural home space- moving away from viewing art in impersonal, sterile gallery spaces. I know how much art I see per week through my various feeds, and even I get overwhelmed by too much art saturation- it is hard for people to find anything these days, as a lot of art platforms have diluted their focus or brand. There is just so much, too much and it loses its appeal… I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful to bring art lovers a hyper edited selection of great artworks to acquire and be able to see what they would look like in their own spaces? That’s what buyers really want and need. If people can’t go see art in the flesh, lets bring it to them! By showing them how it could look realistically in their own homes, we knew it would give them the confidence to buy a work of art that may be a pricey investment for them during lockdown, prior to making the purchase and shipping it out. As art advisors we are a full service- selecting, finding the perfect artwork for our clients, helping our clients envision where exactly it will go within their collection in actual spaces, and then handling all the practical details, from shipping to sometimes quite delicate installations. Whereas a gallery will just sell you a work and send you on your merry way, with our expertise working with interiors, architects and the residential client, we have seen all the places that art buyers get stuck and feel unsupported in their decisions to buy and live with art. I just wanted to address all those problems in the marketplace with Eye of the Huntress. My thought was to be an early disruptor in the digital art online platform and present shows in a way that created an immersive magical experience for the viewer, so they could imagine and aspire to owning great works of art-without all the carbon footprint and expense of art fair travel. Collectors build relationships of trust and confidence in their likes and dislikes with their gallerists but they do the same as well with curatorial advisors where we actually go the extra mile to see it designed into their actual spaces.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our brand is funnily enough, an all female brand- our tech team are all women and our marketing team too. We are very international, living in all different parts of the world. Even though we aren’t all in boardrooms together we are able to create this wonderful rendered curated online product from all four corners. As women, parents and homemakers we love the contextual aspect of offering amazing art works that we would covet, in aspirational interior and exterior settings. It is offering a vision of how we might actually live with these artworks as a family and move freely around them, weaving them in with furniture and architecture. For instance, in our first show, Le Petit Trianon, we placed two Hans op der Beek matt grey sculptures of children called Timo and Tatiana playing with blowing bubbles and rolling marbles paired with a bold Zac Ové crocheted piece over a mantel that could be placed in the children’s playroom. Our signature word is “resilience” in an uncertain age, as it celebrates what women are so successful at being- resilient. Not only are we resilient but we have an innate need to uplift and transport our audience following us. We want them to look forward to the next curated chocolate box of artworks and the next, and this seems to be working so far. Aside from this characteristic, our viewers have the ability to upload their own floor plans and images of their spaces to envision art works from our show before purchasing. We will create a useful and detailed rendering of how it will look and breathe in their space. So we have seen a problem in today’s current art world and we have set about solving it using technology with a simple yet personal service. I think Eye of the Huntress helps anyone who is frustrated that they can’t go and see amazing shows in person these days, nor travel right now. The art world is fuelled by travel on a constant schedule of amazing world destinations and participating in and visiting art fairs is costly. Nothing will and should replace standing in front of a great painting whether it was painted in 1820 or last Tuesday, but I do care that we are saving the planet a little bit more by not polluting our skies as much and leaving a more conscientious carbon footprint on the world. With buying art online in the comfort of your own home, you can do more relaxed research, see more shows and artworks and save a lot of money with the back and forth. Because we show art in this way, we are also helping the galleries that represent these artists to spread the word and make sales on our platform as well. Galleries have welcomed the collaboration during this troubling time, so we are thrilled and viewers are loving the atmospheric imaginative presentation it seems.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My Favorite spots in the city are: SFMOMA- Love the new add on museum and very digestible collections. China Live: Best innovative Asian cuisine in Chinatown. Farmers Markets at the Embarcadero. And lastly Pier 21 private by appointment photography collection started by Andy Pilara.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate this to “An Artist Apparent”- which is a podcast series started by Shannon Nicholson in the Bay Area. She celebrates the lives of artists who are also parents and it is an amazingly entertaining series of interviews ( I have been interviewed by her) https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/apparent-artist/id1541748561. She has really supported me throughout my life not only as an entrepreneur but also as a mother juggling it all.
Eye of the Huntress