Meet the CEO: Her Journey to the top and other adventures

Helen Johnson has always admired and been inspired by all kinds of artists and just about every type of art (especially Abstract). She is the Founder of Commission an Artist with one dream, to give artists a ‘normal’ standard of living and to help customers get their dream artwork at an affordable price. She tries to make sure that the company runs as smoothly as possible and that our artists and customers are very well looked after.

Get to know her more in this candid Q&A.

Commission an Artist - Helen Johnson

Cheryl: Why do you do what you do? 

Helen: Because I love it. I think it helps that it is has never been an easy path and I love a great challenge. I have been working on Commission an Artist for over 7 years now and each day brings a new challenge and a new opportunity. I love the variety in my role whether it’s working on a strategy with other members of the team or buckling down to updating a database, it’s a real pleasure to do it all.

Cheryl: How do you work?

Helen: I am usually at my desk for most of the day, however I get up regularly and make sure I get some decent exercise throughout the week.

Helen's Workspace
Helen’s Workspace

Cheryl: What’s your background?

Helen: Strangely, nothing to do with art! It’s probably the other end of the spectrum and I have a 20 year career in the investment industry.

Cheryl: What art do you most identify with?

Helen: I love Abstract Art. It’s definitely my favourite, I love how you can interpret different things in it and my favourite piece is Jackson Pollock Number 5.

Number 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock
Number 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock

Cheryl: What part of your work do you most enjoying doing?

Helen: I still keep my hand in with clients and I look after the higher end clients personally. As well as chatting with the team my favourite part of the role has to be the communication side of things. I also love to see the finished artwork completed by our artists!

Cheryl: What’s your favourite art work?

Helen: As mentioned, Jackson Pollock Number 5 is my ultimate favourite, however I am also a great fan of Van Gogh. I have a wonderful image from a gallery I visited years ago where the artists from old and new mixed. So the image I loved was a billionaire sitting in Van Gogh’s chair. Really interesting!

The Billionaire in Vincent's Chair, R.B. Kitaj 1999
The Billionaire in Vincent’s Chair, 1999 by R.B. Kitaj

Cheryl: Why art?

Helen: I set it up to help out an old friend who is a brilliant artist but when I mentioned him approaching his artwork to sell, he shuddered at the thought! So I set up Commission an Artist for artists like him primarily. It has of course grown much bigger since then.

Cheryl: What food, drink, song inspires you?

Helen: I can actually provide the moment which gives you all of the answers! I was sitting in Ibiza, watching the sun set, eating Tapas, and drinking fizzy wine, with my best friend – and about 1,000 other people who were all watching the sun set on the beach, the rocks, from their boats, and the restaurants. Considering it happens every day, it was such a special moment.

Ibiza Sunset
Ibiza Sunset

Cheryl: What do you like about the art world?

Helen: It’s variety of creative people, I know that everyone is different but in the art world you get a huge range from gregarious right through to very quiet artists who just like to be left in peace to do their artwork. We are fortunate that all of our artists are highly professional and very easy to get along with.

Cheryl: What do you like about your work?

Helen: I hate to be awkward but everything! What is the worst part of the job? I am thinking…. Yes, without doubt is when it comes to accounts time and preparing all of the documents! I really hate doing that! It’s strange at that time as suddenly doing the ironing looks appealing!

Cheryl: What is the future of art?

Helen: Art is already everywhere in the world and most of us walk around without even noticing it. Art plays a huge role in our lives and as I once saw, ‘The Earth without Art is ‘Eh’’

Earth without art is just eh.

Cheryl: Why should people invest in art?

Helen: Well, considering my investment background I am pretty well qualified to answer this one! Investment into anything always involve risk. Either your artwork is going to go up in value or it isn’t. What we try and do is give you some artwork with the potential for upside but if it doesn’t then you still have something very personal, unique, and created just for you.

 

At Commission an Artist, our aim is to make art accessible to everyone.

Get to know the rest of the team: www.commissionanartist.com/meet-the-team

Getting into art is often intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. We believe that commissioning art should be fun, highly personal, and a unique experience. No matter if you are a first-time art buyer or a seasoned collector, we are here to guide you and to make the process easy and enjoyable.