Once upon a time in another life, I was a financial director. I loved my job so much that I devoted three hundred and sixty-five days a year to it, including Christmas and New Year's Eve. And it paid off: fame, power, and more money. In short, my life was a Hollywood success story.
Then, probably because of the cosmic balance, life decided to take back what it had given me in abundance. That bitch started to steal my father, then my sister, then my job and finally my mother.
To avoid going mad, I wrote books, many books. Four of them! But the sale of my novels was barely enough to pay the interest on my overdrafts. What a nightmare! My future was as black as a moonless night.
At a dinner with my friend Louis Durot, we were enjoying the homemade egg rolls when I suddenly sobbed. My parents had spent their lives rolling egg rolls to pay for my education, and I had screwed it up! I couldn't even afford summer camps for my girls. Louis handed me his paper napkin filled with fish sauce to clean my dripping nose.
- Go to my workshop, choose a piece, and sell it. It will cover several months' rent, he ordered me.
- But how do I sell a work of art?
- You'll learn!" he replied, devouring an entire egg roll.
I can still hear Louis' voice and see his kindly gaze on me. Long ago, Master Okaze from Kyoto confirmed to him that he was a Kami in his previous life. I had doubts, but not anymore.
The day after the dinner, a new Kim was born.
First, I create a Louis Durot account on Instagram. His first two followers are Wei Liu, his assistant for 17 years, and me, of course. Day after day, I feed this account with the daily life of a talented pop art designer. Louis wants authenticity. Result: all photos and reels are #nofilter #nophotoshop. Very quickly, thousands of followers follow our adventure. I hope there will be many more.
Then I devour all the books on design. I read up on the workings of auction houses such as Christie's, Sotheby’s, and Philipps, as well as renowned museums. I make myself known to galleries in France and abroad. I present Louis' work to art collectors, whether they are confirmed or amateurs. Every weekend, I organise meetings in Louis' studio between him and his fan club.
At the same time, Louis teaches me what I need to know about his art. He confides wholeheartedly, from the roundup he escaped when he was just 4 years old to the memory of his first clay toy; a determining factor in his choice to become a designer and to create toys for adults. He also gives me lessons in chemistry because, before being an artist, he is a renowned chemical engineer. He helps me understand what polyurethane is and why its resin is unique in the world. He tells me about his collaboration with César and his meetings with Picasso and Niki de Saint Phalle. People who inspired him and others who abused his trust.
With such a mentor, I can only succeed. And I humbly confirm that I have earned my title as an artist's agent.
A year after that dinner, when Louis reached out to me, I signed exhibition contracts with the Sohe Gallery in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as editions of his iconic bronze and aluminium creations. The Vitra Design Museum acquired an "Aspirale" and now Louis and his work are in their Online Collection, accessible to millions of design lovers. I also met the curator and his team. Who knows, maybe we will see a Louis Durot exhibition. Future collaborations with the queen of design Kelly Wearstler, Materia Mag, Éditions Slatkine... The list goes on.
As you can imagine, the road to success is not a long one. I remember one art dealer harassing me with hideous messages, calling me a chink. Another accused me of trying to poison Louis to get an inheritance. For the record, Louis has already bequeathed his fortune to a foundation for the protection of elephants. My twenty years of experience in corporate finance have forged my character. When faced with adversity, I think like a winner and act like one.
I, Kim Chi Pho, fell seven times. Eight times up.