MECCA MUSE

Women in arts: curator and gallery director Jerico Tracy’s tips for art novices

In MECCA’s interview series, ‘Women in art’, inspiring creatives – who are breaking new ground across the artistic disciplines – share their vision and process.

For many, buying art or even simply appreciating art can seem daunting – and very expensive! But Sydney-based gallery director and art curator Jerico Tracy has carved out a niche for herself, unearthing emerging local artists and working to make art more accessible to a wide range of people.

“The biggest misconception about collecting art is that it is expensive; of course, it can be – but there are so many ways to invest in art and build an incredible collection without spending a fortune,” explains Tracy.

At her namesake gallery, Jerico Contemporary in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, Tracy aims to offer works that are affordable for emerging collectors. And, within her art consulting business, she always works with a range of budgets because she believes, “It’s important to remember that price doesn’t necessarily determine value.”

Here, Tracy shares her tips for the art novices (and enthusiasts) among us – from how to discover your own style to finding inspiration and the best way to showcase art in your home.

HOW DO YOU SUGGEST AN ART NOVICE MIGHT DISCOVER THE STYLE OF ART THEY LIKE?

Tracy acknowledges that art is everywhere and that it can often feel overwhelming – “especially in the age of Instagram”. She suggests visiting galleries in person to work out what you like and to develop your taste. While it might not be possible to physically visit several galleries at a time, Tracy recommends signing up to their newsletters to stay updated on upcoming exhibitions.

“That way, when you visit shows you have already resonated with online, you’ll be a little more focused with your intentions,” she explains.

Another way to discover which styles work for you? Tracy suggests familiarising yourself with local institutions that have a history of producing strong artists. “Try the National Art School (NAS) in Sydney’s Darlinghurst and attend their graduate shows. They have incredible works by emerging artists across a variety of mediums, often for sale at very inexpensive price points,” she says.

WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES FOR AN ART NOVICE TO LEARN AND EDUCATE THEMSELVES?


Tracy’s in-depth knowledge of contemporary Australian and international art was garnered through formal education (she holds a Masters in Art Curatorship, a Bachelor of Art History and a Bachelor of Arts) and experience at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Christie’s London.

But for newcomers to the art scene looking to learn the basics, Tracy has narrowed down her favourite (and free!) resources: “I read Artnet, Artsy and The Art Newspaper everyday,” explains Tracy, adding, “Artsy is an amazing platform that showcases artists, exhibitions, art fairs and auctions from across the world.”

The Great Women Artists, hosted by Katy Hessel is one of the best podcasts about art in my opinion. Artnet News also produces a fascinating podcast called The Art Angle – it’s worth a listen.

“Instagram is of course another great resource; follow galleries you have visited and artists directly to keep up with their practice and get to know their work in more depth,” she adds.

Tracy’s top tip, however, is to visit galleries, see works in person and take the time to talk to the staff about the artist and the exhibition. “You will learn more in the gallery than anywhere else,” she says.

WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR SHOWCASING ART IN YOUR HOME?

As expected, Tracy’s own home is very much an extension of her gallery – only a little more relaxed. She prefers spaces that don’t feel “overdesigned” and achieves this by blending contemporary sculptures and large-scale paintings with soft furnishings and objects she’s collected over the years.

When curating, Tracy always starts with sightlines: “Consider how the artwork looks from different points in the room and see how you can transform the space by raising the height or moving to the left,” she explains. “I find this is particularly important in the home where you often approach artworks from multiple angles.

“Play with proportion – put a large-scale work next to small work on paper. Don’t be afraid of empty walls, give your artworks space to breathe. On a more practical note, make sure works are hung straight – often floors and walls in residential properties are deceptively askew; use a spirit level and you can do no wrong!”

ANY ADVICE ON FRAMING?

Framing – it can make or break your artwork. Yet, Tracy says it’s often overlooked: “Invest in quality framing and it will last forever. Make sure to use non-reflective glass or Perspex, and of course quality timber. Don’t be too precious about matching all of your frames exactly, it’s more important to frame each work in materials that complement that particular artwork.”

HOW DO YOU STAY INSPIRED AND MAINTAIN YOUR CREATIVITY?

Like most creatives, Tracy finds inspiration everywhere; in museums and travel (when possible) and books. What we really want to know, though, is exactly where she sources her own furniture and homewares. “I’m finding a lot of inspiration in interiors and furniture design at the moment. I love watching Architectural Digest’s videos and sourcing homewares from 1stDibs, Collécte as well as local antique shops.”

AND FINALLY, YOUR FAVOURITE BEAUTY PRODUCTS?

Tracy’s beauty cabinet is as carefully curated as her own gallery and home, with a pared-back yet highly considered approach. “I am quite minimal when it comes to makeup, but I love skincare, masks and serums,” she says.

“Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair is my all-time favourite beauty product. I use it morning and night. I recently discovered Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Oil which I also love. The Go-To Transformazing mask is a must before an event. I’ve recently gone back to wearing Byredo Gyspy Water EDP, and I alway s have a Le Labo Santal 26 Candle burning at home.”

Need another art fix? Tune into the MECCA Talks podcast to hear from New York-based artist and poet Amber Vittoria on designing MECCA’s logo, iconography and packaging.

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