Maria Brito is an award-winning interior designer, author, curator, and art advisor.
Much of your work provides increased access to art, whether it’s through your product collaborations with artists like Assume Vivid Astro Focus, or by working with clients in industries outside of the art world like Sean Combs, Gwyneth Paltrow and fitness guru Tracey Anderson. What do you think is important about contemporary art gaining a wider audience? How do you see this currently happening?
Contemporary art is our art. It’s the art that reflects our problems, our dramas, our social interactions, our aspirations, and our struggles. We are experiencing a pivotal moment of access for everyone in so many different realms. Art isn’t the exception. I like investing the time in making sure people understand a particular artist, particular work or a specific movement.
I’m lucky to have many amazing clients. I have been building Sean Combs’ collection for five years, and Gwyneth Paltrow recently published my top young artists to watch on Goop. AVAF, Katherine Bernhardt, Natalie Frank, Kenny Scharf, Erik Parker and Dzine have allowed me to turn their work into fashion. I think that what you do at Exhibition A, for example, is quite important. Your prints are amazing, I have a few and some of my clients do too.
I have always had a mission to expand the art world outside of the walls of stagnant institutions–to make it accessible and available; to bridge the gap between the artist and the rest of the world. That’s why I spend a good amount of time blogging, posting pictures on Instagram, and visiting artists in their studios. This was a second accessories collection, since the first capsule with Erik Parker, Kenny Scharf and Carlos Rolon/Dzine was very successful. The products are just an extension of my philosophy.
It’s important to me to work with integrity, to listen to the artists and to manufacture high-quality goods that are fabricated in the United States. It’s also of paramount importance to make products that people want to wear, otherwise we would not be in high-end fashion boutiques like Kirna Zabete in NYC or Joyce in Hong Kong.
You work with established artists, but have a keen eye for emerging talent. Which artists are you excited about right now? What about galleries?
I love Michael Dotson, Trudy Benson, Mira Dancy, Josh Reames, Raul DeNieves, Matthew Palladino, Kelsey Brookes, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Jen Stark and so many more! I also like experimental galleries like The Hole which always have been a favorite of mine or Lisa Cooley who also has such a great curatorial eye. Bitforms is also pretty cool. Nicelle Beauchene also puts together super nice shows.
How has your personal collection evolved since you started collecting?
I think I have been taking greater risks as I evolve. One thing is a constant, though: I’m still pretty much a figurative lover. I have abstract work, but not as much.
What’s the last piece you acquired? A Jen Stark sculpture with light inside.
Where do you like to discover new art? On Instagram.