ArtSeen celebrates 30 years of bridging the gap between designers and artists

Leonardo Ledesma, founder of the LA-based art curation company ArtSeen, has spent three decades collaborating with top designers and sourcing art works from a global array of talented artists. This week on Disruptive Design, DNN Editor in Chief Courtney Porter sits down with Ledesma to discuss the art world trends, working with designers, and the evolution of ArtSeen’s art curation services. Click play on the video below to watch the discussion:


Speaking designer’s language

With a background in architecture, Ledesma understands the language and priorities of designers in a way other art curators may not. “That knowledge helps me understand designers and architects better when I can speak their language, read plans, and visualize spaces,” he says. “I can communicate that to the artists and clients, and it makes everything run much smoother,” he says.

One key role Ledesma plays is demystifying the process of sourcing fine art for designer clients and their customers. Interior designers already have significant demands just with space planning, selecting furniture, fixtures and finishes. Adding the complexities of researching, vetting and contracting individual artists can quickly become overwhelming.

Marisol Malibu – Architectural / Interiors Luxury Home Photographer, Los Angeles – Tanveer Badal Photography // TANVEERBADAL.COM

“Having somebody like me partner up with them is a big help, because curating art is a whole job in itself,” Ledesma said. “I bring all those years of experience so they don’t have to worry about the business relationship with artists, managing temperaments, all the details and minutiae of installing art.”

ArtSeen’s successful collaborations span different scales, from single-family residences to commercial projects. Ledesma has worked with the acclaimed design firm M. Elle Company on homes from Southern to Northern California. He also exclusively curated the artwork for the new British Airways and Qantas Airways oneworld Lounge at LAX designed by Gensler.

Art world trends

ArtSeen also translates trends in the art world back to designers. For example, a shift in the last five years has been towards textured, sculptural works made from raw canvas, wood and mixed media materials. Contemporary artists like Los Angeles-based Mary Little, who is repped by ArtSeen, exemplifies this move into more three-dimensional, tactile wall hangings and soft sculptures. 

Mary Little poses by her soft, sculptural wall art.

“I find myself representing more artists doing interesting, experimental things with materiality,” says Ledesma. “Designers want to know: What are the new, emerging visions in the art world that I should be aware of for my next project?”

Ledesma has been able to cultivate long-standing relationships with internationally-recognized designers and architects by being a resource and sounding board through project after project over many years. Aligning an art collection with the design aesthetic is crucial for creating cohesive, emotionally resonant spaces.

“We have a really clear understanding of one another, their priorities and what my artists can offer,” Ledesma said of his most successful partnerships. “It’s a very symbiotic relationship that evolves over decades.”

See Also

Blue chip art collecting mixed with emerging artists

Of course, meeting budget requirements is always a consideration. While some clients seek out blue chip artists like Alex Katz or David Hockney as investment pieces, many projects blend works from different levels. An emerging artist can be the perfect fit both artistically and financially and that is where Ledesma’s heart truly lies and what ultimately keeps him relevant and competitive: the discovery of fresh, exciting art.

“I prefer mixing blue chip names with living, established and up-and-coming artists,” said Ledesma. “It’s always fun to have that layered, dynamic collection.”

No matter the scale, carefully selected artwork elevates the overall design and experience of a space. Bringing in an experienced art curator like Ledesma provides interior designers elevated expertise, access and vision.

“What’s really exciting for me is seeing the interaction when designers and their clients get to meet the artists, hear their story and creative process,” he says. “It enriches the whole experience beyond just the visual art piece itself.” | Learn more about Leo and how to work with ArtSeen by visiting them online.

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