Be Smart About Art

10 Questions Interview with... Art Dealer Simon de Pinna

written by: Be Smart About Art Team Nov. 20, 2014 5) Interviews + Guest Blog Posts 3587 views

10 Questions Interview with... Art Dealer Simon de Pinna

"London's Red Army" by Liz & Kate Pope

Each month we ask an art world professional 10 questions about their practice. This month we speak with art dealer Simon de Pinna...

Simon de PinnaWhere were you born and/or raised, and where do you now call home? I was born in the Midlands, in the spa town of Leamington Spa, and home was in the nearby market town of Warwick.

What is your profession? Depending on the context, my profession ranges from art dealer to art promoter! I try not to say gallerist because everyone asks ‘where’s your gallery?’ and ‘online’ doesn’t really endear me to artists or collectors!

What is your life ambition? To make enough money to move away from London to the ‘country’ and set up a gallery there!

Describe your business in 5 words: Precarious, stimulating, demanding, inspiring, fun. 

Q1. What inspired you to become an art dealer?
Two things came together about 3 years ago: (1) I wanted to get out of a tech-based business I was unhappy in and (2) I thought I had identified novel ways to market location-based art, which I had collected for many years and which a survey of a few potential customers suggested might be successful.

Q2. What is the best, and what is the worst, thing about being an art dealer?
The best thing is discovering and promoting artists whose work sells. The worst thing is building a client list from scratch with no bricks-and-mortar gallery!

Q3. How do you keep on top of what is happening in the art world, locally and internationally?
Locally, social media plus I go to open studios and art fairs and read a few of the main online art press websites. I also belong to 3-4 London-based networking groups of art professionals (through Meet-up and LinkedIn).  I don’t take a lot of notice of international markets unless they’re headline news.

And of course, my BSAA events are invaluable! 

Q4. What event in your life, big or small, prompted a major turning point in your career?
There have been quite a few turning points, but the biggest was probably being made redundant from my last full-time publishing job in 1993 and deciding to go freelance. I haven’t worked full-time for anyone since then.

Q5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I agree with Gita Joshi: Keep it simple. 

Q6. When do you know you want to represent an artist’s work?
When looking at their work generates an emotional reaction in me and when I think the art/artist has a story to tell that I can transmit to potential customers. 

Q7. What would you be lost without?
My mobile phone and a sense of humour

Q8. What item of luxury would you have on a desert island?
Unlimited bottles of decent wine and a fridge for the white!

Q9. What is your favourite book (or who is your favourite author)?
Fiction: Watership Down (Richard Adams) and non-fiction: The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell).

Q10. What is your favourite quotation?
“If you put off everything until you’re sure of it, you’ll never get anything done.” Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking)

Keep in touch with Simon at:
Website: &
Facebook: &
Twitter: &

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Question 7 is very funny.
Did you enjoy it at boxhiil school !

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Great interview, Simon! Good luck :)