Meet our Alumni

Anakena Paddon

Studio Manager, Kevin Francis Gray Studio

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Q. What aspects of studying at Christie’s Education did you enjoy most?

My favourite part about studying at Christie’s Education was that it offered something different to most academic programmes, by that I mean, we exited the classroom a lot. There was definitely a theoretical and an art historical approach to the teaching, but we spent a lot of time meeting art world professionals in their various work settings. And for me coming in as sort of a novice to the art world, it was the best way to be introduced to possible careers and new ideas about what the future after Christie’s might hold.

Q. What does your current role involve?

I’ve been the Studio Manager for Kevin Francis Gray for two and a half years, and the role is very exciting to me because no day is the same. When I started working in the studio the role was quite flexible and Kevin really allowed me to shape it as I wanted. So there’s definitely an administrative part to the role but a lot of it also involves client relations as we have a lot of studio visits both in London and in Tuscany. And it involves coordinating a lot of exhibitions with our primary gallery which is Pace London. What I like the most about the role though is being able to be engaged with a living artist. I think it’s a real privilege to be able to have such direct access to somebody making art, and art that I think is really exciting and ground breaking.

Q. How did your degree assist your career path?

The year that I spent studying at Christie’s Education really pushed me to connect with professionals in all sectors of the art industry. And I think that’s something I’ve taken to heart in my current career. Obviously I work for Kevin primarily but my every day job consists of meeting people that are art advisors, curators, clients, dealers, and general art aficionados. I think that the Christie’s Education programme taught me how to navigate all those different relationships. It’s something I’m very grateful for because I think if you’re coming from outside of the art world it can be quite daunting to understand how all those different relationships intertwine. 

Q. How should a new student make the most of their time at CE? 

For incoming students at Christie’s Education I would recommend saying yes to every opportunity.  I arrived and felt like an outsider to the art world because I hadn’t studied art for my undergrad, so I felt like there was a lot of catching up to do academically. I felt like the most learning I did was actually networking with people and that by spending time with the instructors, teachers and guest lecturers I was really paving the way for a more exciting career afterwards. Everybody that comes in to speak with the students in the Master’s programme is offering their time and their expertise, so I would recommend to do follow up meetings with all of them. They are people who are willing to discuss their career paths, to share advice, so if you take the time to reach out to them, they’re more than likely to spend quality time with you.  And I’ve found that many of them have become my professional network now.