The Agency’s Paul Lester recently sat down with us to discuss one of his greatest passions: Art. Since The Agency’s inception, Paul has been a tour-de-force in curating art for The Agency offices, creating a gallery-like environment that showcases exceptional pieces by many of today’s most talented contemporary artists.
Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 5.33.00 PMWith The Agency’s upcoming sponsorship of the 2015 LA Art Show, we thought it was the perfect time to discuss the “state” of the art.
You’ve worked with tons of designers. How do you decide who to reach out to for projects?
When I look to examine the beginnings of a project, be it the curating of The Agency offices, or sponsoring the Los Angeles Art Show in this case, particular aspects of the projects presents themselves in certain ways; whether the project calls for a predominant color scheme, layers of texture or are heavily architectural or even romantic in nature there are designers that speak more specifically to each of those needs.
Are you excited about Rose Tarlow designing the LAAS VIP Lounge?
I am thrilled to have Rose Tarlow Melrose House on board as they bring to the event a substantial depth and integrity of design that both speaks of classicism yet of the contemporary.  The LAAS represents a huge cross section of artists in mediums some more conventional yet dynamic, and some more experimental.  It is a great fit.
What are your hopes for the lounge?
In collaboration with Rose Tarlow and Ethiad Airways, as sponsors, we hope to create an environment and atmosphere where art lovers can experience and enjoy a moment of time between galleries.  It will be both relaxing and luxurious and also allow LAAS attendees to get to know the many layers of what The Agency is all about – not only representing luxury properties throughout the world, but the promotion and collaboration of the arts and lifestyle
Tell us about your love for art and part in sponsoring the LAAS?
th2_31664_8a792a_b10545I have always had a commitment to the arts. I have been an artist in some fashion my whole life.  In my earlier years as a professional dancer in NYC I was lucky to work with, among others, Twyla Tharp, and I toured and performed throughout the world.  This helped to give me the perspective that art, in all its machinations- be it dance or music or painting, etc. is a culturally unifying force. I remain, even in my life as a realtor and purveyor of aesthetics, deeply committed to bringing more art of any kind to our everyday environment.  The Agency sponsorship of the LAAS is one of those moments I championed to make happen.
There will be over 120 galleries gathered at the show. Any in particular you are excited to see?
The United Arab Emirates is providing a main focus of artists in a special exhibition showcasing some of the country’s top contemporary artists – I am excited to get to know and see these pieces.
The art show also features a lecture series, any that you are looking forward to attending?
Artist and gallerist Elizabeta Betinski speaking on a panel titled “What is Public Art and Who is it For?”  and Stephen Levine Senior designer for Rose Tarlow speaking on Design Day.
You helped curate the art in The Agency offices. Tell us about this process? Do you have a favorite piece?
From the very beginning of our first cramped pop up office of The Agency in Beverly Hills to our now incredibly beautiful and sophisticated glass enclosed “loft gallery” flagship three years later, I have advocated for art to be showcased in the form of a curated gallery if you will. Working in conjunction with architect Hagy Belzberg, who brilliantly designed our Beverly Hills office, we set out to create a gallery experience with “art walls” that lie perpendicular to the glass walls that carry the space.  The intention has been to provide a platform for artists in many mediums to showcase their art.  Our office in Beverly Hills, additionally our new office in Brentwood, and our Beach cities office, give voice and exposure to many artists.  Our art curation collaboration has been extraordinary currently with both D2Art in the Beverly Hills offices and Art All Ways, Inc. in Brentwood.
At the moment I have a particular piece by Burton Machen that is my favorite – a simple yet haunting photograph of the Pacific Ocean waves captured off Venice Beach.
As a real estate agent, you see homes all the time. Are there any particular design trends that you are excited about? Any you’re not particularly fond of?
The word “trend” for me is always disconcerting.  I prefer design moments we might embrace as timeless and with weight and integrity.  Having said that though I am seeing (in many new development projects) both in LA and NYC the use of bronze in fixtures, both patina and brushed that are combined with white marbles and Caesar stones where you might have seen brushed aluminum or silver tones before.
How would you describe the overall feel and design of your own home?
Warm combination of the classic old and the new contemporary – many layered – take Parisian vintage Pierre Bergeré with the art lines of a Giacometti sculpture
Your dream piece of art (if money was no object)?
A Richard Serra installation piece on a great lawn ( the kind you could wander through and be dwarfed by ) and then next to that a Chihuli chandelier over hanging a picnic lunch in the grass.
To learn more about the 2015 LA Art Show and to buy tickets, click here.