Home Art Magazine Spotlight on ArtToSaveLives Contemporary

ArtToSaveLives Contemporary is one of newest gallery having joined Kooness. We are excited about this incredible partnership and happy to share our conversation with Director & Founder Luba Kladienko-Ramirez.

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Dear Luba, Kooness is extremely happy to welcome you on board! The name of your gallery is one of a kind! Would you like to tell us a bit about it? Where does the project come from and when was it born? 

Hi guys, thank you so much, we are very excited to join your platform! So since 2006, we have been selling art and using 100% of our profit to fund our own animal rescue mission. It all happened organically, we didn’t intend on having a rescue, but fate has its way of molding us into who we are and merging us onto our path. The project was born in Rockland County NY; rescuing animals was just something we did aside from the art, people rarely knew we were actively rescuing, they just thought we had lots of pets and left it at that. Back then, when we had to be official, we went under the name of “Planet3arth Art Exhibits,” but since it was our home town everyone sort of knew us as the art kids.

Then because of Miami Art Week and many animals needing help in South Florida, and also a majority of our family having moved down here, we decided to make the move ourselves and also share with our clients that we spent our money saving animals, so in 2018 we officially came up with the name ArtToSaveLives Contemporary

What artists are in your roster?

In terms of artists we’re a bit interesting and unique in the way we work, we act as a project space where we invite professional artists to show their work for short periods of time, and we also work with secondary market names.

But in terms of representation we have only one resident artist, JuanCarlos rLora, 20 year art career, 15 years working with me, he is the artist with whom I’ve built my career and at the same time he has built his name with me. Here are a few pointers about him you guys should know:

- Dependable artistry: He is the hardest working artist I’ve come across. Doesn’t stop, but also doesn’t seem to be one of those people who tire or “burn out,” he’s like an organic engine.

- Won't cease to amaze: Every time you think you’ve seen it all, he comes up with something new and awe inspiring. Has the ability to toggle his work between the lines of commercial creativity (because we need it in order for the rescue to survive) and purely ambitious and experimental work for the purpose of his own artistic discovery and explorations.

- His artistry is very varied and inventive - through storytelling, philosophical theories, scientific approach, and even mathematical applications he manages to keep the visual aspect of his work fresh. That is boundless! It allows him to accomplish so many amazing things that live inside of his mind and he somehow finds really clever ways to bring them to life. 

- And lastly, with his work, we have been able to fully fund our own animal rescue mission.

 

JuanCarlos rLora, The Awakening (2020)

 

During our email exchange, we couldn't help but notice the following sentence in your greetings: "The only gallery in the world that funds its own animal rescue mission!" - Could you explain to us the project?

Yes, let me expand a bit on the first answer, so like I said before, the project was born in Rockland County NY 15 years ago. It began while I was in college, I was studying art, a friend then (husband now) was in pre-med first and then transferred to zoology, and of course there was my current artist, JuanCarlos, as well. At first we began arduously doing artist street fairs to get things moving forward with our careers; we also did coffee shop events and really any event or place where we could showcase art that would have us. We were and still are very focused!

Then after saving enough funds, we opened our first “gallery” space - it was an open floor plan residential house that we would curate and have weekend “art parties” where we would sell paintings for dirt cheap, lol, it was so inexpensive our friends could actually afford the original works, and at the same time have a party! It was a perfect design, because since there was not much to do in the area, house gatherings were the thing to do!

So when we rented the place, JuanCarlos, as a gallery-warming gift, went to the local shelter and adopted a kitten, we named her Zoey. Then, since we knew he liked dogs, we found a shepherd mutt who was about to be euthanized and so we went and picked her up and named her Luna. That was the extent of the animals we all wanted at the gallery. But, as fate would have it, a few days later, while potty training Luna we were walking towards a doggy park a block away from our place and we found a Malamute puppy tied to the fence, all alone, it must have been 10 pm. Since there was no one around, we brought her home with us and through her microchip found the owner who informed us that she abandoned her because “she smelled,” needless to say, she stayed with us and her name is Nova! Shortly after that, my future husband, the Zoologist, started volunteering at the local rescue as a surgical tech, then took a job at a veterinary hospital, and so naturally this opened the floodgates of animals who needed help and who would come to us. Soon after that we had to hire him to work full time at the gallery tending to the animals. So the original three girls are 15 years old now and this is how the adventure started and the origin story of our mission. We really hope to make the world a better place for the voiceless and this is our way of helping them, by sharing with all of our friends and collectors what we choose to do with our profit, which in turn makes anyone who acquires a JuanCarlos piece a direct supporter of our mission!

We are about the end of 2021 which marks the second year of the pandemic. How has your approach to the online art market changed in these past two years?  

At the beginning of the pandemic, during the quarantine, things were, as we all know, a bit out of control. Then we noticed some of our gallery friends were making facemasks for the public and we started contemplating the fact that people were being stir crazy, so we wanted to somehow figure out some way to help, so we began making hand made puzzles from our prints to try and lend a hand, where the plan was to use 50% towards the rescue and the other 50% donate to the frontline fighters (healthcare workers) of this pandemic. Then months later, the galleries who represents us online began to activate and actually through them we saw some good sales. After that, when the world reopened, we went back to business as usual, but we definitely noticed the shift and more of an acceptance towards the online channels. 

 

JuanCarlos rLora, Astral Luminosity (2020)

 

What's next on ArtToSaveLives' plate? 

In terms of art:

We want to continue to explore the bounty of creativity and culture, the possibilities of discovering art that brings us forward as a species, and as you can imagine, also art that helps build a better world with more consciousness in terms of the collective. We feel the human tribe can do better and should do better. 

In terms of animals:

The plan is to gather enough funding to buy farmland where we can have our animals and also our gallery in the same location, so the community is able to come in, look at art and also at the same time enjoy themselves visiting with the animals. That’s obviously the plan of action and it's far ahead, but as we know, life tends to take us in its own direction, so we’re looking at the future with open arms towards whatever surprises may come.

 

This is very exciting, thank you very much and once agin welcome on board! 

 

Cover image: JuanCarlos rLora, The Jester 2020. Courtesy of ArtToSaveLives Contemporary

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.