The world of art is beautiful, awe inspiring, thought provoking and can also be downright confusing. That’s where art consultants come in. Caroline Scott Low of CSL Art Consulting helps clients navigate the world of art to build a collection that they love. We sat down with Caroline to learn more about her and her life as an art consultant. Her world is so interesting. Enjoy!
Give us a quick snapshot of Caroline Scott Low.
I come from a large blended family. We were the original Kardashians. Ha! I was the only child out of seven who lived with every sibling and experienced each birth order ~ youngest of three girls, oldest child when my mom had my brother and sister, a middle child with my stepsisters and twin! I met my stepsisters when I was five, and one of them is the same age as me. It has helped me to be inherently flexible in life. My children are still confused by my family members.
I am passionate about ~ my two children Nick & Emma and my husband, Graham. Our house currently feels like a kennel. We have two Golden Retrievers and two French Bulldog puppies. The energy can be frenetic at one moment, and then in an instant, they all fall into a deep sleep, and the calmness is pervasive.
What twists and turns got you where you are today?
After college, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from Los Angeles. It was kind of on a whim. I was studying for the GMAT and figuring out where I wanted to go to grad school. My sister went to law school in the Bay Area and was moving out of her house to Boulder. So, I moved into her place, applied to a few brokerage houses and started work while studying. I met my husband at work … and the rest is history. We moved back down to LA for a couple of years for his graduate school but ultimately made the Bay Area our home.
Who do you want to be when you grow up?
At this stage in my life, I am feeding my soul with my career. However, I feel like I am so far from growing up! I think my kids would agree. I am not sure any of us ever grow up.
What are your three favorite qualities in other people?
Loyalty. Dependability. Compassion.
What’s your awesome beauty secret / tip?
I never go to bed without washing my face, no matter how late I get home or how tired I feel. I was in the skin care industry in my mid-twenties, so I learned a lot about taking care of my skin as I age. Facials are a must for me ~ I see my esthetician every 4 – 6 weeks. She spoils me! I wear sunscreen every day, even when it’s overcast.
Mighty warrior or couch potato, where do you stand on fitness?
Fitness all the way, but I am not fanatical about it. It’s a mental release for me. I have been working out with a personal trainer twice a week for over six years. Other days I will run on the treadmill (that’s where I catch up on my mindless TV shows like RHOBH), and I try to fit in pilates once a week. I also play golf on Tuesdays with my girlfriends, and I try to play nine holes with my husband on the weekends. It’s technically not an exercise unless we walk the course. But it feels refreshing to share an outdoor activity with friends.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I don’t like riding a bike! I had a simple fall on a mountain bike and I tore my ACL. It took me close to nine months to fully recover after the reconstructive surgery. I was an avid skier and loved riding horses. I went back to both of those activities. But I haven’t been back on a bike since the accident!
How did you evolve into your current career path? What was the impetus that led you to start CSL Art Consulting?
I received my degree in Art History, and I studied abroad in Paris and Florence. It was always my passion, and art was also in my genes on both sides of my family with professional and talented artists. My dad collected contemporary art and had a proclivity towards Pop Art and Surrealism. He took me to museums and art galleries beginning at a young age. In college, I would go to museums alone and spend time with my favorite pieces. I loved exploring the Getty Villa in Malibu and strolling through the Roman gardens, and LACMA’s vast collections and exhibits. Most people don’t realize that LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States. It was a privilege to have that in my hometown.
Being an art consultant was my ultimate desire for several years, but I was in the thick of parenting and focusing my time on philanthropic work. There was a time several years ago that I decided to go for it, but then I was asked to do marketing at a startup. Living in Silicon Valley, I got caught up in the fever and took the risk. It was an awesome experience working with an all-women marketing team. But my passion was always art. Two close friends and my cousin, who is a successful artist, were the impetus for my decision to start my own business. I am genuinely grateful to have had their support and faith in me. I am also fortunate to have an accomplished mentor who started her own consulting business twelve years ago.
What services do you provide for clients? Why would someone use an art consultant?
An art consultant offers an experienced eye to guide clients when acquiring art and sculptures in building a collection or enhancing an existing collection. The art world can be overwhelming and intimidating. If you are in it every day, it becomes natural and instinctive. My job is to see the works of art through the eyes of my clients. Art is very personal and subjective. It takes a keen understanding and insight into my clients to guide them through the process. Ultimately, it is most important how the pieces make the clients feel. When I bring clients to galleries, studios or art fairs, I am an observer until I am needed to interject. It is consequential to follow the clients’ lead when discerning the artwork that moves them. Then it is my place to enlighten them about all of the other important details.
I collaborate with galleries and artists in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas and New York to provide expert curatorial advice and fine art services for my clients. The “technical” services I provide are: project planning & budgeting; custom framing, professional art handling services and installation; artwork catalogue and inventory documentation. In most situations, my clients can have the pieces brought to their home before they acquire them. If that is not possible, we will do Photoshop renditions for them so they can visualize how they will look.
It is gratifying to see the joy in my clients’ when they acquire art. Most recently, I procured a Motherwell ~ the fourth piece for clients who had the other three pieces in the series. The pieces have great sentimental value for my clients, and they were thrilled to complete their collection. It’s a very satisfying career!
What would you want everyone to know about building a personal art collection? How do people build an art collection that aren’t millionaires?
I am delighted you asked this question! It is a very common misconception that acquiring art means you have to spend a lot of money. I often have people say to me that they would love to buy original art for their home, but they cannot afford it. Original art does not have to be expensive. I recently read Seeing Slowly by Michael Findlay. He wrote: “Living with art is a wonderful way to assimilate it, for it to provide daily sensation, for it to become joined to your life organically.” He went on to say: “Not everyone can afford to live with art, but you would be surprised at how little you may need to spend for good original works of art.”
Photo credit for Caroline Scott Low image: Heidi Lancaster