x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Life Lessons: a Bonhams art expert shares her wisdom

In advance of her visit to the UAE for the first in a series of exhibitions by young Emirati artists, Taline Aynilian, the head of Orientalist Art at Bonhams in New York, shares her life philosophies.

The head of Orientalist Art at Bonhams in New York, Taline Aynilian, 29, will attend Bonhams Dubai from May 11 to 25 for an exhibition by Sheikha Wafa Hasher Al Maktoum, the first in a series of exhibitions by young Emiratis supported by the auction house


1. Don't make snap decisions. I was with a friend at an art fair when I stumbled across a beautiful still life that I just loved. She said, "Do you really want it?" I assured her that I did but she didn't let me buy it. Instead we went for lunch and I forgot about the painting and realised that I didn't need it. Sometimes art can draw you in. That's what it's meant to do: shock you, allure you, make you react. But the feeling can be fleeting. This can be said for just about any purchase.

2. Act as if the whole world is watching. I like this way of doing things. If you ask yourself, "Would I say or do this if someone I knew were watching?" and the answer is still yes, then you are doing things the right way. If not, stop. It's a gauge to keep me on the right track at all times.

3. Give advice as you would give to your brother. The art world is known for its asymmetric information and it's easy to capitalise on that. But if you give bad advice to make a deal, it will come back to haunt you. People appreciate and respect honesty; it encourages them to work with you in the future.

4. If you love what you do, it shows. Work with people who do. People who are genuinely passionate about their industry are infectious. It's almost always a pleasure to talk to someone who has an interest in what they do and somehow they are also able to make you love it as well. They also tend to share their knowledge more willingly. In the art business, you can always tell when someone is in it just for the money. Stay away from the latter.

5. Prioritise your life. It seems simple, but for our generation in particular, who pride ourselves on multitasking and aim for the stars, it seems unnatural. It's impossible to be the best at everything you do because it requires almost all of your attention. Think about what's important and devote your attention proportionately.


As told to Jemma Nicholls