Extraordinary Objects founder Carla Nizzola has over a decade's experience in the art world. An artist herself, Carla also managed one of the UK's leading contemporary galleries for seven years, before deciding to follow her passion for curation. Extraordinary Objects was born out of Carla's life-long passion for collecting not only art, but also natural history, antiques and curiosities.
Fossils, antiquities, and minerals have always been displayed alongside contemporary artworks in her home, giving an equal appreciation to every piece, and showing how works from different genres can complement and elevate each other.
Extraordinary Objects is an extension of Carla's personal collection, and the objects offered have been sourced from relationships she's built over many years as a collector.
Here at The Lifestyle Guide, we are delighted to have had the opportunity to not only get to know Carla a bit better but we've also bought some amazing art from the Gallery which now hangs on the walls in our HQ with great pride. With it being Women's Day this month we thought it would be an absolute must to include Carla in our quest to celebrate "Women In Business" throughout the month. We've had a quickfire Q & A with Carla and we're super excited to share the article with you below. All artworks included in this blog are available for purchase from the Gallery and we've included the relevant links for your convenience.
So without further ado lets jump straight in.....
I’ve always been interested in art. I studied Fine Art at University and after trying (and failing) to make it as an artist I quickly realised I was much better at promoting other artists works than my own. I worked at a few commercial galleries that weren’t quite the right fit until I ended up managing a contemporary art gallery that had just opened its first physical space in Stoke Newington. It was just myself and the Director for a while and we ran everything - from putting on monthly exhibitions, finding new artists and ensuring sales were consistent to managing the e-commerce side of things, packing artworks and promotion. I gained invaluable knowledge and experience about running a gallery from the ground up and my time there gave me the confidence to go out on my own. Fast forward 7 years to 2019, and I launched Extraordinary Objects.
Extraordinary Objects was born out of my passion for collecting all things extraordinary - be it art, curiosities or natural history. I believe a person’s collection tells a unique story and represents who they are. Extraordinary Objects doesn’t focus on one particular genre but instead celebrates individual items for their unique story and extraordinary aesthetic. I also think that the contemporary art market and the fossil/mineral market are currently completely separated. I don’t think there are many platforms out there that showcase the two together. Most people don’t know that you can own extraordinary pieces of natural history and think you can only view them in museums. I want to change that.
I think I’d reached a point in my career where I’d achieved everything I could in my previous job and wanted a new challenge and direction. I wanted to open a gallery that represented my own collection - that showcased a diverse selection of art, natural history and curiosities - all under one roof. I love dealing with people and helping them find that particular piece that brings them joy. I wanted to put my own spin on things, from the initial conversation to the end result. If you work with what you love it will always come naturally, and if you’re passionate about what you’re promoting and selling it will be a success. I continue to learn from the highs and lows, and I haven’t looked back.
Aside from building my own collection over the years, I work closely with trusted collectors, artists, dealers and palaeontologists with whom I have built solid relationships with throughout my time in the business. Many of them are now close friends. Extraordinary Objects is very client-focused and customer experience is highly important to me. Whether you’re a first time buyer wanting a piece for your new home, or an avid collector looking for an investment, I want your experience to be pleasurable - and fun! My preferred way of working is to collaborate with collectors in building collections, rather than just selling single pieces. I don’t believe in hounding people with endless amounts of emails and news - I prefer working on a personally tailored approach based on a collector's interests and budget.
I’m aching to get the gallery up and running again. I opened the space in Cambridge just before round 2 of lockdown so I think it’s been open for about two weeks in total… I’d love to collaborate with some palaeontologists to put on exhibitions that focus on the pre-historic in a contemporary setting. Because of lockdown, very few people have been able to experience the Extraordinary Objects collection in person. I’m carefully expanding our collection of artists, and I’m working with auction houses to place natural history objects into their contemporary art sales. My ultimate goal is to bring the fossil market into the contemporary art market. It’s a slow burner, but it’s beginning to shift. I’ve also been toying with the idea of an Extraordinary Objects podcast.
Distribution Channels - On-line ? In store / retail? You can find E.O online at extraordinaryobjects.co.uk - the website is regularly updated with new acquisitions and amazing finds. I have a great gallery space in the heart of Cambridge - a city crying out for more art galleries. I’m also on Artsy - a fantastic contemporary art platform that connects galleries and buyers from across the globe and has been a useful tool for increasing my international following. I think we’re the only gallery selling natural history on Artsy which makes us stand out from the crowd. I’ve recently signed up to 1st Dibs and will be launching in the next few weeks which is exciting. 1st Dibs is an online platform that focuses on interiors. It sells a plethora of incredible pieces for the home and I’ve lost many hours scrolling through their curiosities catalogue. Again, you don’t come across many dinosaurs so I’m looking forward to seeing the response. Who doesn’t want a dinosaur in their living room?
What is your most prized piece of art?
I bought some meteorites at a fossil fair in Tucson, Arizona last year and they’ve only just arrived (thanks COVID). It was worth the wait - they are absolutely extraordinary objects. To think these beautiful, elegant sculptures came from outer space and are billions of years old blows my mind every time. Displaying pieces of natural history in a contemporary, clean format takes them out of the dusty museum and places them into the contemporary. It completely transforms them.
Art-wise, my current favourite is Grayson Perry’s ‘American Dream’ - an epic etching of an illustrated map of America based on his recent road trip around the country. The detail is incredible, hilarious and so on point - I’m always discovering new areas I hadn’t noticed before. I could stare at that picture for hours.
Who is your favourite artist and why?
I don’t have a single favourite and it changes according to my mood, but amongst my favourites are Grayson Perry, Helen Beard, Banksy, The Connor Brothers, David Shrigley, Larry Poons, Frida Kahlo, Robert Rauschenberg, Marlene Dumas, David Hockney, Lee Krasner, Tim Fishlock, Swoon and Jean-Michel Basquait.
So there you have it! We cannot wait until we can visit the gallery in Cambridge and we're excited to follow Carla's Extraordinary Objects journey. If you have any questions or would like further information on any of the art show in this blog or would like to reach out to Carla all the relevant information can be found on the website - https://extraordinaryobjects.co.uk/
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