"The Sound Shore Review", February 26 2000|
(Maria Passarelli is Chris Bleicher's Agent in the U.S.A.)
Artist as agent -|
Chris Bleicher, known for her neon picture object installations, and Pennsylvania-based artist Frank Bruno, known for his contemporary abstract/expressionistic figural human forms.
"I wanted to focus on making my events mean something" she said. "One of the ways to do this was to use art to educate people so that if and when they became collectors, they could learn as much as possible about the artist and the medium he or she worked in. That is why I do a lecture series with the event so that it makes it more tangible for those who are there."
Fervently believing that "culture is a healing thing" that should be shared, Passarelli has raised the meaning of "special" a notch higher by integrating her art with charity art events that benefit underprivileged children, AIDS sufferers, refugees and others.
Passarelli seems as passionate about the "art" of consulting and promoting as she is about the art itself. She has garnered numerous awards in art exhibitions like the Art Society of Old Greenwich's Annual Spring Show in Connecticut in 1995, and has had her work exhibited at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. But her passion inspired her to hang up her paint brushes and canvases for a while to promote others like herself.
Passarelli will be the first to tell you that her inspiration as an agent is fueled by the talented pool of artists she represents.
Like a proud parent "Chris Bleicher, my artist from Munich, is an extraordinary, dynamic artist," she said enthusiastically, like a proud parent talking about her offspring. "She gained fame aorund eight years ago for her neon picture object technique, which are pictures that include paintings, collages, three-dimensional elements and neon-light installation. Her "Sky, Clouds and Metallic Bodies" was a celebrated series that made her very well known in the art world. She radiates optimism and a sense of humor in her work. But what really impressed me most about Chris was her commitment to her art and her willingness to work for her art."
Passarelli doesn't take just any artist who walks through her door, but engages in extensive, preliminary consultations with them before she dicides to represent them. She estimated that her "gut instinct" is usually on target 99 percent of the time, admitting that compatibility and a positive professional attitude on the part of the artist is a winning combination."
"I have to know that they can meet deadlines and be active in their work," said Passarelli. "It would be nice to say that business isn't a part of this but we all know that it is. It's important that an artist work with me and endow the professionalism and appropriate work ethics that are necessary."
Interstingly, Passarelli didn't carve out her own niche as an artist until she started representing others, something she believes was serendipitous and sublime both personally and professionally.
Forging a career "I didn't even focus on my career as an artist until I became an agent," she said, laughing. "I always had inclinations as an artist but it was after I started representing a few people that I actually thought about forging my own career as an artist. That's when I created my organic nature collection called "Still Gardens," which were mixed-media collages comprised of flowers, leaves, shells, sea matter and other organic substances that I collected."
"The more Passarelli nurtured her own career as an artist, the more she understood what it meant to be one. She believes she can understand artists "from the inside out," and brings an empathic ear and heart to her role as agent.
"I can relate to what they're going through," she said. "It helps them, and it helps me.".
Artist's Representation & Consulting, Fine Art Services and Sales includes representation of artists, fine art and graphic design; consultiing for architects, designers, corporations, art collectors and interior designers, interior art design for residential and office spaces; original work, fine art and limited edition prints; marketing and promotional work for the arts, public relations and other media; and other services.
For information about ARC, as well as Passarelli's upcoming March event at Artists for Art Gallery in Scranton, Pa., call her at 934-0091 or fax her at 934-1961.