Leopold Vasquez is an art lover who has turned his passion into an eclectic career. Vasquez wears many hats and has done just about every job in the art world you can think of. He actually is an artist himself, though he won’t admit it or call himself one. Hazards of being surrounded by super talented, critically acclaimed artists perhaps.
His latest addition to his diverse resumé is the creation of the Sound of Art, a website that seeks to be a matchmaker of sorts with people and art.
BlackEnterprise.com chatted with Vasquez about the site, his life and the ins and outs of contemporary art.
BlackEnterprise.com: I was told that you are an art dealer, but I’m not sure if that’s entirely accurate. So, what do you do? What’s your title?
Leopold Vasquez: I don’t accept one title because it’s so one dimensional in comparison to what I do. I curate art. I sell art. I speak about art. I produce exhibits. I develop content for art. I consult. When people ask what I do I often say I’m the food and beverage guy because I do a little bit of everything. I’m an art enthusiast. I’m an art lover.
Are you an artist yourself?
I am not an artist. I draw comic strips for fun. I went to Clark University in Atlanta and majored in marketing, which is kind of an art form. As a kid, I always drew on anything I could find. I would draw on my mom’s appliance boxes. I always doodled. I can’t call myself an artist though, when my friends are creating masterpieces. I took another route. My thought was, “How do I use my marketing talents to help emerging artists?” I worked for a small marketing boutique right out of college.
How do you find the art that you promote/sell/exhibit?
A lot of different ways. I’m online a lot looking for openings and exhibits, but I also find things just from going out. I went to a Nylon Magazine party in the Meatpacking District recently. When I go somewhere like that, my goal is to see the most creative, highly designed things. What’s my visual experience like? What am I going to gravitate to? I met a woman who makes pop culture icon cufflinks. She has Biggie, Tupac, Hall and Oates, people like that. So really, she’s a contemporary artist. I need to reach out to her. It’s a constant hunt to search for art.
People who work in visual art usually live in highly designed/curated spaces or very plain, clean slate kind of spaces. Which one are you?
My home is a mess because I’m an entrepreneur and I just don’t have the time to get everything together. There are tons of pieces, prints, small sculptures that need to be organized. They need to be hung, framed and matted. I have tons of books, toys, art pieces, prints. I converted one of my walls into a blackboard. I collect Kid Robot toys.
What is contemporary art?
It’s modern art. Art has different eras. You have your Andy Warhol, your Jean Michael Basquiat. Conceptual art is contemporary art.
What is Sound of Art all about?
The existence of my company Sound of Art is to demystify this space. You don’t have to have a dollar in your pocket and you can still enjoy art. I have different sections on the website. For example, there’s a section called Deconstructed where you get to see the back story behind a particular work of art or a particular artists’ approach to art. That’s something people can relate to. That understanding evolves into trust. I look at art relations, I look at human relations. You need to look into your backgrounds. We try to play cupid and find people and art that mesh well.
You said “we.” Who are the other people behind Sound of Art?
I’m not doing all of this on my own. I have a beautiful team of photographers, writers, SEO managers, a graphic creative director and videographers.
For a lot of people, art is some strange high-brow world they will never understand. How would you suggest people get educated on art? Other than hopping on Sound of Art, of course.
People make more of this how to get into the art world thing than need to be. Let your desire take lead. Go into a gallery. Look something up online. Don’t buy something to invest in it expecting to make money in the future. That’s the exact wrong thing to do. Go with what you like.
What’s next for Sound of Art?
The next thing for SOA Life is to grow. We just launched last December. We have all this great content like the wine and dine videos where the guy breaks down wines and what to pair them with. We’re looking to go international. What’s happening in Brazil, Beijing, the Dominican Republic?
What’s the last amazing piece of art you saw?
There’s the mural on Houston Street by two guys named How and Nosm. I think they are from somewhere else. They do amazing murals that seem abstract, but very surreal. The Houston mural is elaborate and uses stencils and spray paint. It’s red, white and black. I think it’s over by Bowery. You should check it out.