As a graphic designer, Suzanne was surrounded by amazingly talented people, but many of them had no place to share their work since it didn’t fall into the typical “gallery artwork.” She created The Beholder to give artists of all types a place to be seen and heard. The site now features around 20 San Francisco-based artists as well as a solid smattering of international artists. Suzanne says prints are a great way to start collecting art, but really there’s nothing like having a piece the artist’s hands actually touched. She encourages beginner collectors to save up for the work they really love and will bring them joy every day, and that’s what having art is all about:
SCOUT: Give us a little more insight into what The Beholder is exactly. Could one call it an online art gallery?
SUZANNE: Yes. Sometimes I also call it a website for artists or a marketplace for artists. I represent some artists traditionally (on a commissioned basis) but most sell directly to customers through the site. When I first started the site, people were skeptical, but now a lot of work is available online which I think is a great thing.
SCOUT: But you’re very much focused on connecting artists directly with collectors....
SUZANNE: That's my main passion and why I started the site to begin with. When I have a tough moment, I just think about all of the people who have bought their first 'real' piece of art from me and how good that feels.
SCOUT: We love the name of your site The Beholder. It’s strong yet mysterious and intriguing. How’d you come up with it?
SUZANNE: I work with tons of creative people and I had a few of them generate big lists. This one just stuck.
SCOUT: You started in 2005 with 15 artists and now feature over 70 all over the world. How’d you get to where you are today?
SUZANNE: At first it was my close circle and a few people I didn't know. Gradually, I got the courage to ask everyone I really admired. Some of the early artists have gone on to do graduate work and have bigger gallery representation, which I love to see. People like Michelle Blade, Marci Washington and Corey Arnold are all now in the 'big time.'
SCOUT: You started the Sponsor An Artist Program in 2007. It’s pretty awesome. Tell us more about what it is and why you saw a need for it:
SUZANNE: I also know a lot of folks who run small creative businesses and they love to support artists, too. I thought I could connect this community to cover the costs for artists to be on the site.
SCOUT: Collecting art can sometimes be a little intimidating to newcomers. Tell us about some of the things you’re doing to make everyone feel welcome in the art world:
SUZANNE: The biggest thing is in the way the site is designed: the prices are out there front and center and I try to explain how the whole process works. I really do my best to help folks out with framing and advice, which makes them feel more comfortable.
SCOUT: The Beholder is known all over the world, but you’re based in SF. What do you think makes the art scene in SF unique?
SUZANNE: SF is slightly off the beaten path for the major international collectors, which some in the community wish was different. I feel like it gives the Bay Area a more unique voice – artists generally do what they love and don't feel the need to follow trends.
SCOUT: What are some of your favorite SF spots to check out art?
SUZANNE: I love Park Life in the Richmond and Electric Works. Southern Exposure also has a great space.
SCOUT: Where can check out more?
SUZANNE: All the art is on the site, The Beholder and follow me on Twitter.