Better Things Are Coming

with Alicia Puig

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi there! My name is Alicia Puig and I am the CEO & co-founder of the online art gallery PxP Contemporary, the Director of Business Operations at Create! Magazine, and the co-author of The Smartist Guide. When I’m not working on marketing or business development for PxP and Create!, it’s very likely that I’m writing! I love interviewing artists and other influential figures in the art world to share their stories – especially if they are women or minorities because they unfortunately remain underrepresented in galleries and museums worldwide.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My mother always used to tell me that your education is something that nobody can ever take away from you. More than motivation to earn my undergraduate or graduate degrees, I think that her advice was meant to instill a lifelong love of learning and it has. Even those who are self-taught in their discipline should own it. People respect confidence when it is backed by knowledge and experience.

What would you say to 16 year old you?
Don’t worry so much and hold on – you’re in for adventures you can’t even begin to imagine! 🙂

What message do you think every woman should hear?
I spent a lot of my early career thinking that I would be noticed and rewarded by working hard and doing my job well, but that’s not always the case. Don’t be afraid to be more vocal about your accomplishments, ask for pay raises/promotions/other benefits, and to eventually start your own business.

What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I currently live in San Jose, Costa Rica. Besides being able to do my grocery shopping at a local farmer’s market every weekend for ¼ of the price of what I’d spend in the US, I love that we are within a few hours driving distance of everything – beaches, mountains, volcanoes, jungles, and more. We try to do weekend trips as often as possible!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Handling rejection. This was one of my favorite chapters that I wrote for our book, The Smartist Guide. I used to feel so disappointed and frustrated, even sometimes taking it personally, which sent me into spirals of self-doubt and not wanting to continue applying to new opportunities. But with time I learned to acknowledge it, be thankful that I was considered, and move forward. I know bigger, better things are coming and they always do.

How do you manage your work-life balance?
I try to maintain a pretty regular schedule during work days so that I can get everything done by around 6 or 7pm. I’m a huge fan of making lists and flagging important emails to keep me on track with prioritizing tasks. The biggest game-changer for me, however, was to stop working through lunch! I feel so much more refreshed in the afternoon when I break away from work completely and am more productive as well.

I’m not perfect though and especially when you run your own business there are times when deadlines necessitate working more than usual. Luckily, primarily being my own boss allows me to take time off during the week if I need to.

Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I’ve had a few throughout my life and career so far: my art teacher in high school, an artist who I worked for as a studio assistant, and my first employer at a gallery. They have been absolutely instrumental in helping to lead me along my path and I’m so grateful for the impact each one has had on me. My favorite lessons from my most recent mentor have been about setting goals and manifesting. Pardon my French, but so far she’s been 100% right that ‘this shit works!’

Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
Yes and no. At first, I thought I would be an artist or work at a museum and then when I worked in galleries, people would always ask me when I was going to open my own. For a long time I wasn’t sure if that was the right step, but it finally became a reality this year when Kat and I opened PxP Contemporary together. I think what makes it work for me is that we honed in on what we liked about the gallery business and cut out what we didn’t.

I’m also really happy to be working more closely with Create! Magazine. I started off as a contributing writer, but have transitioned into also handling business development. I feel like it is the perfect job because I’m using all of the various career experiences I’ve had so far.

What is something on your bucket list?
I’ve been dying to go to Finland and since I’ve only ever had cats, I’d love to have a dog one day.

What are your biggest passions?
Helping emerging artists become professional and find more opportunities to exhibit their work, promote themselves, and make sales. Also, writing about art and creative business!

alicia puig

Alicia Puig is the CEO & co-founder of the online art gallery PxP Contemporary, the Director of Business Operations at Create! Magazine, and the co-author of The Smartist Guide

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