Dutch Award-Winning Entrepreneur Joëlle Dinnage, “Inspirational Businesswoman” and International Art Dealer

  • Published on:
    January 29, 2020
  • Reading time by:
    8 minutes

Dutch award-winning Entrepreneur Joëlle Dinnage, “inspirational businesswoman” and International Art Dealer. She first showed her business skills at the age of thirteen when she successfully started selling Art and has since continued an ambitious road to success. After graduating at the Saint Lucas Art Academy (Netherlands) winning the young business “Entrepreneur Award” broadcasted on television, she swiftly made her move to London, where she got to grips with the core selling environment in London’s business district.

Achieving a series of sales breakthroughs, her career path led Joëlle to Oxford where she was offered a ‘Creative Marketing Executive’ role at Seacourt Limited; ‘world-leading sustainable printing company’. Co-Founding and e-commerce sister-company for the business, which also enabled her to meet Queen Elizabeth II due to exceptional performances by the company that received two Queen’s Awards for Sustainable Development whilst she was working there.

In 2010 Joëlle started her first business and launched an online art gallery ‘The Funky Art Gallery’ focused on Urban and Graffiti art. After an interview broadcasted worldwide, the gallery became the Google page 1 ranking for ‘Cool Art’ in the UK and US – a major achievement!

After the successful and rapid growth of her first business. She founded the ‘Global Art Agency’ in 2011. Starting as an art event organizer based in Oxford, the GAA Ltd now has expanded with offices in London and Dubai, and is one of the fastest-growing international art platforms, with large art events in cities such as Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Miami, Vienna, Rotterdam, and Oxford.

The Global Art Agency were nominated by Investor Allstars for the ‘Sferiq Award for Digital Innovation in Art’, and got shortlisted for the Oxfordshire Business Awards ‘Culture & Tourism Award’ 2018, they also won the ACQ5 Art & Culture Award 2016 & 2018. The company also succeeded with being shortlisted in the top 30 of the Virgin Media Business VOOM Awards with Dinnage’s pitch to Sir Richard Branson.

Joëlle has been a Curator for the Florence Biennial, and she has also been a Curator for Playboy London. In January 2015 Joëlle opened another gallery “InVogue Art Gallery” with their launch in London Mayfair. And since December 2015 she has been an Art & Collectibles Expert for WorldGuide. She also sits on the Board of Advisors for NPE Artist Residency, in Singapore.

In 2016 Joëlle had the vision to celebrate the Arts on a grand scale. She envisioned that there should be an ‘Oscars for the Visual Arts” to reward the contemporary outstanding artist. And so she started collaborating in 2017 with Armani, Wall Street Journal, Artnet, and ArtPrice to organise the first Global Art Awards at the Burj Khalifa, Dubai. Soon the Royal family became aware of such great happening in the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Saeed bin Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan invited Dinnage to his Palace in Al Ain (Abu Dhabi). H.H. Sheikh Saeed is now the Patron of the annual Global Art Awards in Dubai, and together they are working on impacting the Art & Culture positively in the United Arab Emirates.

Who or what got you into art?

I guess it was my art teacher at college, he really encouraged me to apply for Art Academy and when I got selected I was thrilled. I started to get the confidence of selling my own art pieces and published them on social media and it all got sold super quick… I thought: “Well.., if I can sell my own art so easily, I should be able to sell the artworks of others”. And started my own company(s) where I selected artists who created really cool artworks that fit within my concept of ‘funky’ and suited my taste. Through the Art Exhibitions, I organized with my first business I connected forces, and then opened my second business and third, and fourth; all in the world of art. Ten years later still growing stronger and stronger.

Can you tell us how it was like starting as an art dealer? What did you do? 

It all happened unintentionally. I was so passionate about art and I was following all the latest art news and updates in the entire world of art. I was so engaged and started bidding on artworks that I loved, but also pieces of that I knew would increase in value over time. My house became a museum. And with the organization of the art fairs all around the world gave me the opportunity to create fabulous connections with collectors. They would request certain pieces and I knew how to get hold of it. I really got the hang of it all and it became easy for me to make deals and trade the art pieces I had invested in. I started to become fully aware of what sells where, because I had seen it and experienced it with the international art fairs that I organise. I became to understand the art market in a complete depth for each country, which was the key ingredient to become a successful Art Dealer in my opinion. I now work together with the people of Christie’s Auction House and many other big names. I guess people will never entirely understand what an Art Dealer really does, when people ask me what I do and I say “Art Dealer” they look confused haha…! But I can tell you that it gets fierce when it is in regard to a piece of art that is worth millions of dollars.

You’re a busy woman, Do you practice self-care at all?

It has been a very hectic ten years, but now I am finally having a great team in place that help me a lot and I am so thankful. Now I can enjoy my time with my little boy (6yrs old) and have my self-care. I do bikram yoga and I also started kickboxing recently, and oh my I wish started that long time ago – a hell of a way for stress relieve. I have my routine of having my manicures, pedicures, massages and occasional sunbed. One huge self-care ritual that I do is for every 6 months I go on a detox cleanse. Sometimes when time allows in a retreat in Thailand. It is actually fasting in paradise, yoga, and being healthy and relax. Flushing the system, but also mentally chill. I can recommend it to everyone. 

What’s the most memorable artist you’ve worked with?

Without a shadow of a doubt that is a Polish artist named “Mariusz Kędzierski”. He is the most humble young guy, who creates amazing hyper-realistic artworks mainly illustrations that are almost a mirror of the reality, which is awesome at its own right, but Mariusz was born without arms! It is unbelievable how he creates these fabulous artworks. He is an inspiration to all, and is such a beautiful soul too with only positive vibes. He won the “Best Global Artist Award” in the Global Art Awards in Dubai, announced by Sheikh Saeed Bin Tahnoun (ruler of Abu Dhabi) in 2018. When he was announced as the overall winner, I was in tears of happiness for him and many others in the audience too! Mariusz is awesome, and I had the great pleasure of working together with him twice, and I hope many more times to come! If you want to check out his work you can visit his website here: https://www.mariuszkedzierski.net/ 

Within the art industry, who else captivates and interests you?

About 6 months ago I received an invitation from the Chinese Government to organize the first-ever Shanghai International Art Fair with my team of Global Art Agency, and I was so fascinated by the interest of the art collectors there. They are so open-minded and welcoming international beginning artists – it pleasantly surprised me. That was really captivating and of great interest for my clients and myself of course. Furthermore, I am a huge fan of Salvador Dali – the guy is a genius on every level. 

You travel quite a lot. What would you say was your favorite place/destination or experience? And why?

I thought I lived by the rule ‘never visit a place twice’ to encourage myself to explore different places all the time, but that didn’t work out for me haha as some places have stolen a piece of my heart and I like to visit them as often as I can. These are Thailand, Singapore, Maldives, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Curacao – to name a few haha. And so many others but Thailand gives me relaxation and a ‘back to earth’ vibe. Singapore brings back good memories – one of my favorite spots is Spago on top of the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel – the view is incredible. I can sit there for hours watching the sky change. Maldives because I went there with my son last Christmas and it was paradise.

We had the best time ever! My son learned there how to swim, and he even encountered a little baby blacktip shark. It was a super holiday, would definitely go back and highly recommend it. Amsterdam as it’s the capital of my home country and is beautiful to visit all year round. Doing business there is also great with a super relaxed vibe but with a fast-paced attitude and things get done before you mention it. Barcelona because it has sun, beach, architecture, art & culture, great food and great nightlife. Curacao is part of the Dutch Caribbean islands and is just off the coast of Venezuela, not many foreigners know about this island which makes it super authentic, and the waters are so crystal clear, the dolphins pass by whilst you are on the beach and you’ll see sea turtles swim passed just by snorkeling off the beach at ‘Klein Curacao’. It’s paradise. And it was the last holiday I went on with my father who sadly passed away shortly after that. I have great memories there and will go back again.    

What is your favorite part about your job?

The travelling. Meeting new people. Making people happy.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I will be doing the same but will have expanded my company(s), and maybe collaborated with big names. I will have brought out my book “The Art of Selling Art”. I also want to publish a book about my life, and hopefully, it will be made into a film, as it has been one crazy life that I think people would enjoy reading/watching. I am also looking into other ventures non-art related. Life is a mystery but I have a good feeling about it.

Any great story from a customer?

Luckily we have received more than 300 success stories from our clients and customers, they can all be found here: https://www.globalartagency.com/testimonials

The greatest story I found was this one below – I also remember the client thanking me with tears in her eyes, it was really so sweet:

“Loved being a part of the Oxford International Art Fair. Thank you for organising it so well. I was on the point of laying down my paintbrushes forever… but sold enough paintings to allay financial worries with London studio rent until the end of the year and more too… I feel greatly encouraged after the show, not just financially from sales, but also from seeing people’s faces as they saw my paintings and thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with the lovely people of Oxford, together with mixing with the other artists… invaluable experience.” – artist Dawn Reader

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Stop talking and start doing. Don’t give up. And stay humble! 

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