Q&A | Art Angels: Kat Emery and Jacquelin Napal

by Morgan Vickery

pasted image 0.png

Founded in 2013, Art Angels works with some of the most important contemporary and provocative artists of the times. Founders Kat Emery and Jacquelin Napal have not taken a breather-- Instead, they decided to go ‘guns blazing’ with the opening of a second gallery in Miami last year.

Emery and Napal have expanded their gallery both internationally and within the U.S., picking up clients like Drake, Beyonce, and Elon Musk along the way. At the Los Angeles flagship, Flaunt spoke with the duo to discuss their Miami location, pop culture’s influence on fine art, and their journey from conception to present-day.

What is the vision behind Art Angels?

We have never wanted to be a traditional gallery, we always like to create an inviting experience where all are welcome. We like to curate an evocative and sometimes provocative space with beautiful and memorable artworks, artworks that make you look twice, some that shock, some that draw you in, some that make you think, some that make you question, that provide emotions.

Art Angels is a very inspiring place, people get inspired by not only the artists and the artworks on the walls but also by the great team we have here.

Tell me about your journey and how you guys came together?

We first met working at another gallery Jacquelin had been director there for many years and we knew that we could do something really special together. We had a vision of creating a new generation gallery space where we could help grow artists careers and showcase all of the artists and artworks we personally loved.

Describe the launch of your gallery and the first exhibition?

Our first show/launch was a one night pop up in a huge exhibition space in Hollywood, we managed to get artists to trust and believe in us and give us there artworks to exhibit. We even did a exclusive print release. The space was an empty shell and in 48 hours we moved everything in, painted walls, built walls, installed lights, put up custom wallpaper and then when the event was over took it all down again and we did it all ourselves. Thats been a running theme we have done everything and worn every hat as we have grown as a business.

How would you describe the Art Angels aesthetic?

Our artwork is bold, beautiful, provocative & emotive. We have a mix of styles from photography, abstract, pop art, street art and sculpture.

What is the most exciting thing about contemporary art?

Seeing all the new emerging talents that are inspired by social and political issues and seeing how art is being used for social change.

How has it evolved since it opened?

We have two huge gallery spaces now one in LA and one in Miami, our collector base has grown. We have a recognizable worldwide brand now which we are really proud of and its lead to all the growth we have had and the evolution yet to come.

What is the mission of Art Angels?

In the gallery we like to curate an evocative and sometimes provocative experience with beautiful and memorable artworks, artworks that make look twice, some that shock, some that draw you in, some that make you think, some that make you question, that provide emotions. To create and inviting and immersive experience where all collectors are welcome.

Left to Right:    Mike Dargas   ,    Craig Alan.

Left to Right: Mike Dargas, Craig Alan.

Why did you decide to open a second location in Miami?

We have a lot of collectors in Miami already and it was a natural progression for us to open over there. Miami is a vibrant international city that fits perfectly with our aesthetic. It is also a hub for our collectors from the east coast and over seas, they visit the city often.

What is the importance of finding the intersection between fine art and pop culture?

Pop culture influences fine art, the rise of social media has meant fine art is now so much more accessible to a wider audience. There are a lot of people in pop culture that are very influential in the art world. The fusion between art music and fashion is huge. Off-White and Takashi Murakami, Swizz Beats and the Dean Collection, Luis Vuitton and Jeff Koons are all examples of how the different worlds are colliding.

How does social media play a role in your gallery success?

Instagram is really important to our business, we had an IG account before we had a website or a gallery space. It’s a place where we find new artists, where new collectors find us. The art world has evolved so much in recent years that Instagram is a taste making spot for art now and we play a big part in that.

Tell me about the inspiration behind ‘Showtime’ the newest show to debut at Art Angels:

In a unique manner, David Drebin combines voyeuristic and psychological viewpoints. He offers the viewer a dramatic insight into emotions and experiences which many of us have doubtlessly felt at some point of our lives.

Drebin’s intention is to liberate the viewer from the system of rules of everyday life and restore his faith, emotion, and humanity. The distinctive tension and depth in his pictures arise from the free combination of such differing topics as humor and sex, melancholy and sex and melancholy and humor.

“With our first exhibition ‘Showtime’ opening next Thursday night in LA these Art Angels, beautiful human beings inside and out, started out with a dream that has fast become a reality as so many of the artists including Stephen Wilson, Flore, Elizabeth Waggett, Michael Moebius all feel the same way about these two genuine human beings with a simple Dream: to work with great artists and to promote, elevate and build a legacy. This is the Dream.” - David Drebin

Any other shows coming up?

LA has a great line up of upcoming shows which will feature works by:

David Drebin, May 9th 2019

Stikki Peaches, September 26th 2019

Flore, October 2019

Philippe Shangti, November 2019

In Miami, we will be curating and showcasing at:

The Nobu Hotel / Eden Roc Hotel Mandarin Oriental, June 2019

Faena Hotel

Art Basel 2019

Photography by: Devin Kasparian