Vestalia Chilton is the founder of ‘Attollo Art, a company dedicated to making art accessible to wider audiences. ’The biggest challenge in my work is making others understand why art has this enormous power. Creativity has the ability to inspire people, give hope, enlighten and include. People naturally respond to music on a subconscious level and I believe art has the same ability.’ says Vestalia.
In her view the Hotel environment is a perfect setting for art, it is a public space enjoyed by people who may not necessarily venture into a gallery. Increasingly Attollo has branched into street art - a medium that allows for direct dialogue with audiences. In February of 2016 the company launched a special project as part of 6th Edition Marrakech Biennale founded by Vanessa Branson in 2004, to curate a Street Art programme titled MB6: Street Art. The programme included the biggest mural in North Africa painted on Hassan Moulay Square spanning over 6,400 sq. meters along with17 street murals painted across two cities Marrakech and Essaouira.
Vestalia was inspired to work in the arts by her tutor andfine artist Ian Humphreys during a year she took to train in painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture - learning the vital skills which now help her in attribution of art works. After Graduating with Valuation and Auctioning of Fine Art and Chattels BA Hons, Vestalia joined Sotheby’s in Bond Street before setting up her own consultancy.
Tell us about the founding ethos of Attollo Art?
Attollo Art is founded to curate spaces which grant artists freedom of experimentation, showcasing original concepts and communication in contemporary art, regardless of location, medium, or venue’.
In my view, art is not simply a commodity but our cultural legacy: a living, breathing reflection and progression of our times. To have it enshrined in a secure vault in Geneva, or a museum carries importance for preserving our cultural inheritance but that is not my calling. Attollo Art was born out of the concept to construct a conduit between the public and the artist. ‘Art away from the gallery walls’ is at the core of our mission.
Has art always played a prominent role in your life?
Yes and it is definitely a labour of love. From an early age I was fascinated by art and was lucky to be a part of a family dedicated to classical music, architecture and engineering. I believe that artists are true visionaries of our society, who strive for enlightenment and give a sense of purpose to the human race. What makes someone an artist? Charlie Chaplin was an artist, as was Jonathan Ive who designed the iPod. You can be an artist who works with oil paints or marble, but there are artists who work with numbers, business models, and literature. Art is about intent and communication, not substances.
Tell us about your involvement with the Marrakech Biannale.
Attollo Art curated and produced the MB6: Street Art programme; inviting 13 international street artists to paint 17 public murals in Marrakech and Essaouira. Big project headlines include the making of North Africa’s largest mural spanning 6,400 square meters called ‘Les Rives’. Created by an Italian artist Giacomo Bufarini RUN it depicted two characters communicating across borders to commemorate the migration crisis prevalent at the time. The Marrakech Biennale programme also included street art workshops at l’Institut Francais and a fundraising campaign to support education for young children deep in the Atlas mountains.
What is it about street art that attracts you?
The immediacy of the street art is what I admire and support. Often with scalable projects allot of administration is involved, the complexity of organizing an artwork to be incorporated into a building is as such that while you get permissions from all stakeholders, time has passed and the work is no longer relevant. Street art gets the job done much faster. As a result, it is dynamic and relevant.
How do you weave in our own art passions into your work with the Exhibitionist Hotel?
The Exhibitionist Hotel a public space that fits our agenda ‘to bring creativity to wider audiences’ and not only to those knowledgeable in the arts. I aim to put together a varied programme of exhibitions and talks ranging from photography, to painting, to digital light projections. We are not a gallery so cannot be defined by a particular style or form of art.
What do you feel the Exhibitionist brings to the art scene in London?
Based in South Kensington, with V&A, Design and History museums on our doorstep leads to the assumption that it is a cultural area. This is not the case. Local businesses cater heavily for the tourist. When tourists leave, there is little else left but high street retailers and food operators. Residents and guests often comment that we are the only self-funded ‘cool’ place in the area recognized for converging the creative vibrancy of East London to the West End.
What have been your favourite projects to work on?
At The Exhibitionist Hotel it was ‘The Neon Garden of Earthly Delights’ (a theme taken from a painting by Hieronymus Bosch). The hotel was filled with neon flora and included works by Damien Hirst, Hartland Miller, Sir Peter Blake among others, all depicting elements of ‘Earthy Delights’. Pièce de résistance however, were the two pool tables; one shaped as a banana and another, as a doughnut. The doughnut pool table made it onto the BBC One Show and launched the ‘Great British Bake (Break) Off’ with Sue Perkins having a game of pool on our doughnut table broadcast live to the nation.
This is our Collector’s Issue; what are your thoughts on the role of collector’s in contemporary art culture?
The collectors are the backbone of the arts. Their passion and support allows for the arts to have a place in history. A conscious collector would avoid building a collection of just brand names but of artists that have a distinctive cultural relevance. Major collectors open museums to house their artworks, which in turn become educational institutions. However, the more varied the collectors and their tastes, the more opportunity there is for diversity, the more chance we have of painting our past in colour not just black and white.
What art events are you most looking forward to over the next few months?
This year is the Folkestone Triennial. Folkestone is a seaside town that in the last 40 years has seen better days. With the recent cultural injection of the Triennial festival, the area has become a global attraction. We are seeing many artists relocate from London to live and produce work there. It is a point for celebration to see a distinct revival of the area with the help of the creative industry.