Meet the Members: Claudia Kennaugh

Claudia founded Art & People in 2019 to create a new kind of art advisory, one which doesn’t just aid people who collect art, but also the artists themselves. Claudia has a deep understanding of what it means to be an artist but also what it means to curate art – formerly working as a musician before co-running and then eventually becoming a partner at her family’s gallery in London.

Claudia is the type of person who on first meeting, you feel as though you’ve known her for years; warm, genuine and incredibly passionate about her work and the artists she promotes and supports. She’s a firm believer that anyone on any budget can become an art collector, and one of the biggest misconceptions preventing people enjoying art in their homes is the belief collecting is a hobby only accessible to the wealthy.

This week Claudia shares who her favourite artist really is, and her most valuable advice for both collectors and artists.

Claudia Kennaugh, Art & People at Gather Round

Can you tell us what you do and what an average workday looks like?

I help people build their home art collections and I coach artists on their professional development. So it really varies but, ideally, involves some quiet prep time (and family lunch!) at Gather Round, and then some sessions out and about – a studio visit, framing session or collector consultation. I like a balance to my day.

What excites you most about the creative process?

Seeing the potential in something. Whether it’s spotting some sketches in a studio drawer or seeing a group of pictures and visualising how they could be hung. Essentially, the moment I realise that I can help.

Claudia Kennaugh working at Gather Round

Anything you’re working on at the moment which is exciting you?

My new workshops! I’m building two series’ at the moment: one for first-time collectors with accessible guidance on how to start your own collection, and one for artists seeking gallery representation. I launched the first artist coaching workshop for artists exhibiting at The Other Art Fair and it had such a positive reaction: it really got me going!

What kit/tools can you not live without?

Apart from my actual toolbox, I use a brilliant database called Artmoi. It houses all of the artists in the Art & People community so, when sourcing for a new collector, I can explore the platform and hone straight in on the artists I think will resonate with them. On a personal level, I rely on Kundalini yoga to keep me tuned in.

From your experience, what prevents people from collecting art?

This is a great question. I think the biggest myth in art is that you need to know something about it in order to have an opinion, let alone own it. It’s a dusty narrative that holds people back. I believe all that matters is how art makes you feel – and we all have the right to our own emotions! A favourite part of what I do is helping people tune into those feelings so they can start to trust their own taste.

If you could share just one piece of advice for collectors and once piece of advice for artists, what would it be?

For collectors, only ever buy what you love. Then, no matter what, it will always find a space in your life.

For artists, paint, sculpt, draw like you mean it. It’s the ‘artist’s essence’ in a work of art that makes people feel something.

Claudia Kennaugh sketching ideas at Gather Round

Do you have a favourite artist?

It’s a massive cliché but it’s got to be Picasso.

What do you love about his work?

The way he draws really moves me. Whether it’s one of his chaotic portraits or a single line drawing of a dove, there is so much soul.

Claudia Kennaugh Triptych, working from Gather Round

What are you listening to/watching at the moment?

I’ve been getting into a lot of instrumental and ambient music lately. There is a beautiful French musician called Colleen, who’s taken my Spotify algorithm into some quite dreamy discoveries! Then I like to jump around to some Sons of Kemet and Tame Impala to get the energy flowing. Podcast wise, I’m a big Russell Brand fan and a fave while cooking is Jessie Ware’s ‘Table Manners’. It’s just so cosy.

And the all important question; where is your favourite place to eat in Bristol?

I love Poco in Stokes Croft. It’s got a great vibe and ethos. Plus, I can be prone to a bit of food envy so sharing plates means you get to have it all!

Thank you for giving us an insight into your world Claudia. If you’re looking for some curating advice or you’re an artist looking for support and guidance head over to Art & People for more information or get in touch with Claudia directly by sending a message to claudia@artandpeople.co.