Alexandra Kollaros is a life enthusiast, an arts professional, author, and urban explorer. Born in Athens, she studied in London and Florence and lives between countries and continents. Her artistic practice embraces the full spectrum of contemporary art: dealer, consultant, gallerist, curator, agent, photographer, writer, collector, and occasional artist. She loves art, and it made sense to her to explore it from every angle. She blogs under the moniker "The Real Queen of Stuff" and is the author of the Public best seller "Greek Art from A to Z." Alexandra is currently working on her next books.
The National Herald: Tell us about your background.
Alexandra Kollaros: After studying, I lived and worked in London for a while but decided to return to Greece to open an art & design studio, wanting to bring cutting-edge ideas home. I started by creating Alexandra Prints, my signature furnishing fabrics line. Designed by me and hand-printed in London, they immediately caught the attention of the press. The lines evolved into creating objects. Collaborations with international designers and art has always been part of the equation. Before I knew it, I got established as an authority in the field.
In 2007 I created artAZ, the first proper online art platform in Greece, with a mission to build bridges between artists and audiences and between the different art scenes around the world. It has been a great journey that led to several international exhibitions and events and good promotion of Greek art abroad.
I always had an interest in giving back to society, and my career path allowed me to put this into action. I have founded 2 Art-Charity Campaigns: Girl Power (Greece), in association with the Hellenic Cancer Society, to aid the battle against breast cancer, and SURPRISE (Greece, Ecuador), to raise awareness and funds about major social issues worldwide. The SURPRISE campaign is the longest-running art benefit campaign in Greece.
For the past 25 years, I have been curating and producing exhibitions and art events. Besides art, my greatest passions are traveling & exploring different cultures, and focusing on the location independent aspects of my practice allows me to accommodate them.
TNH: What led you to your path? What triggered you to get involved with art?
AK: I appreciate the aesthetic value. It is always in the eye of the beholder, of course, but when I recognize something as beautiful, it captures me. I was lucky to have studied in London in the early 90s. It was a time of cultural explosion, the birth of what defines contemporary art today, and experiencing it first hand was transformative. It drew me in, and since I started working in this field, it kept opening up new doors, new amazing experiences. It still does. This is a constant incentive.
TNH: What distinguishes you?
Boldness mostly. I am not afraid to take risks, try new things, even when it is not easy or comfortable. I am not complacent; I am always trying to evolve. I don't mind failing at something – I mind it more if I don't try.
TNH: What do you love most, and what least about art?
AK: My favorite thing about art is how it dramatically improves your life by merely existing; there is nothing not to like. I take issue with the way art is mishandled and manipulated in the hands of so-called experts, but that's a different story. Art alone makes the world more beautiful, and I am excited to be serving its domain.
TNH: What is the most significant value your parents gave you?
AK: To always be fair, keep a clear conscience. Being able to afford the consequences of my actions has brought tremendous calmness in my life. I only do things I can live with and I sleep well at night.
TNH: How fair has life been to you?
AK: It depends on what angle you approach it from. From a narrow perspective, I would say not so fair – there are many things I could have done without and others I could have done with. But I don't have a narrow perspective. I have a vast one. Life has been extremely fair to me – I am lucky to have been born in a beautiful place, at the right time, have a roof over my head and food, my health, and people who love me all around. I can choose how I live my life, be who I want to be, enjoy all the advantages this world has to offer – I could keep going. It is a huge amount of blessings, and I practice gratitude about it every day.
TNH: What are your regrets?
AK: I don't do regret. I avoid self-pity; it is counter-productive. There is no shortage of mistakes, but they have somehow contributed to me becoming who I am today – I accept them as part of me. Moreover, we can never know what might have been if our choices were different; this belongs to the sphere of fantasy.
TNH: Which are the wisest words you were taught and from whom?
AK: I have a personal code that acts as my compass. It includes always seeing the best in a situation, being grateful, believing in myself, and, crucially, being accountable. If something doesn't go my way, I do not blame it on my colleagues, society, the weather. I take the lesson and move on. I consider accountability to be the number one tool for a successful life.
TNH: What would your advice be to someone following your steps?
AK: To always show up. That's a metaphor for giving it 100% even when you don't feel like it or when things don't look particularly exciting. I would advise them to persevere and not be afraid of following their dreams, to not be afraid – period.
TNH: What are your future goals?
AK: I want to make art accessible to all and promote Greek art internationally. I want to give back to society, find new people to collaborate with to make my vision reality. For this, I am working on several projects – from exhibitions to books, to product launches, even a TV art series – always looking for ways to add value. I am excited to be launching The Artist's Art Fair, the first Art Fair in Greece, working directly with artists.
My website https://alexandrakollaros.com/ acts as the headquarters for everything I do. It is a place to share with fellow humans and where anyone who wants to be part of the vision can reach me. Μy main future objective is to keep finding new ways to make the world a better place.