Can you please briefly tell us about your artistic background?
I grew up in a home with two "creatives" as parents, a musician/Hollywood-aspiring dad and an interior designer/artist mom. From an early age, I was surrounded, and exposed to, a world of art and design. Just out of college, I managed Stellers gallery in Ponte Vedra, fell in love and acquired the gallery at age 22 in 2002. For 19 years I have grown “up and into” the art gallery business that I so love — recently changing the name to Hillary Whitaker Gallery.
What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
Realizing the joy and comfort that artwork can bring to someone is the most fulfilling aspect of what I do. We have had 20 years of walking beside families from collecting their first piece of art, to redesigning their space, to finding art for their forever home, to now, working with their grown children on beginning their collection. These interactions are paramount to our purpose. … We are overwhelmingly blessed and rewarded to have the opportunity to place artwork in many healthcare facilities in the region. In this setting, art is curated to uplift, calm, serve as a distraction or respite for patients and families facing various situations.
What are some of the challenges that the art industry is facing?
Right now, I think all industries could be facing challenges that have yet to be seen. Fortunately, throughout history, wars, famines, etc. art has always had an important role in our society and in our individual lives. Artists will always create. I hope and believe that people will continue to have the need to interact and be moved by artwork. Although traditional means of acquiring artwork may change, we will work alongside the times and standards to continue to bring life giving art to all.
What do you enjoy the most about Ponte Vedra area? How does it have a positive impact on your work?
We have had two decades of getting to know so many families and individuals in our community. Ponte Vedra consists of so many beautiful stories, old and new generations, so many wonderful people who have all been a great support and friend to us over the years.
How do you set out creating new work/finding inspiration?
We are constantly researching, scouting and following artists and designers from around the U.S. for inspiration and ideas. Although our walls are filled to the brim, we keep a file of promising artists that we hope to be able to work with on future endeavors.
What sets your work apart from others?
I cannot speak from a comparative stance, but we do take pride in the development and nurturing of strong relationships with clients and artists rooted in integrity. We feel strongly in providing an environment where customers can trust both our business ethics as well as sound, professional guidance in their collection of work. With the utmost integrity, stylized creativity, the strength of collaborative resources and the desire to be a part of the important effect art has on individuals, we take pride in having the opportunity to help curate and ‘bring to life’ the story/culture of our client's projects.