Profiles

Interview with Helena Carlberg and Anna Lukins the Brains Behind The Ode To

The online art gallery The Ode To was founded 2018 by friends Helena Carlberg and Anna Lukins, two passionated collectors of aesthetically pleasing things, sharing an obsession for art and interior. We had the pleasure of asking them about their background, dreams and plans for the future.

Tell about yourselves and what you do. 

The Ode To is an online art gallery for selected, handmade and affordable artworks. It was founded in 2018, by me and my friend Anna Lukins, because we wanted to make it easier for people to find something more special than a mass-produced poster. We scout the best emerging artists and handpick every artwork. We spend our days curating sculptures, drawings, paintings and objects. As well as managing logistics, IT, photo shoots, customer service, meeting investors and more – just to give an honest view of the entrepreneurial everyday life. 

How did the idea about The Ode To come to life? 

We’ve always had a passion for creativity and in our friendship we had art as the main shared interest. We didn’t particularly love everything about the art world though and felt that it was a shame that the stiffness scared off people, even though they were curious about art. At the same time we’re worked with lots of creatives and have artist friends and knew that they were struggling to reach people and live off their artistry. So it was quite natural for us to be that connection between people and artists. 

 

Tell us about your background? 

We both come from a fashion and communications background. I was part of founding & Other Stories and then worked with the marketing for Theory in NYC. Anna has worked with retail and buying at Hugo Boss and H&M and then switched to working as a photographers agent at Mink Management. So we’ve always had this way of combining creativity and business. As I moved back from NYC, Anna moved to Germany and later Amsterdam and those moves made us brave enough to take the step of founding our own company. 

 

Why should consumers buy art from you?

There’s a real beauty of having something handmade and knowing that no else has the same thing, while it also supports an artist. Artworks are also timeless and will move with you from home to home. Our artists are contemporary and we also have lots of fantastic sculptures in ceramics, metal and glass, so if you ask me (which you did), you can’t really find these types of artworks anywhere else. 

How do you contribute to diversity and representation within the industry of art? 

The art industry is extremely inequal and misrepresented. Even though women are over represented among those who study and create art, they are underrepresented among those who get exhibitions and scholarships. If you take intersectionality into the picture it’s even worse. So we mainly feature female artists, although we don’t exclude anyone. We want to make sure that women get a platform for their artistry and always look for artists with a more diverse background. 

Your favorite artist right now and why? 

David Hockney, now and always, for combining skill and playfulness in the best way. Anna has a great live for photography, so Vivian Maier and Cass Bird is among her favorites.

We’ve obviously gotten lots of art from our own artists as well, so our homes are filled with Sofia Tufvasson’s ceramic sculptures, Hayley McCrirrick’s linen paintings, Erika Kristofersson Bredberg’s glass sculptures and Joakim Nyström’s wood artworks. We just fell in love with Lola Mayeras vases with ears and ear rings on them. 

Where do you se yourselves in the next 5 years? 

Then we can work with all the artists on our long wish list, have a big team and great office, are established in even more parts of the world and are well on our way to becoming the best online gallery for affordable art. 

 

The best and worst thing about the art industry? 

Best: it’s an endless source of inspiration, beauty, ideas and makes us think and dream. 

Worst: that it’s a world that excludes people and seems content in keeping to itself. Plus, there are so many strange art projects that give art a bad name. 

 

What inspirers you? 

People that go their own way as well as successful entrepreneurs now that we know how hard it is to make it. 

 

Favorite interior brands? 

There are so many, especially now that design and art tends merge. Here are a few things we dream about: tables by Sabine Marcelis, most things by Aalto, chairs by HEM, chairs by Fredrik Paulsen, anything by Ettore Sottsass and carpets from Cappelen Dimyr, but mostly we find our interior purchases on Tradera, Bukowskis and Stockholms Auktionsverk. 

 

Where do you prefer to go on vacation and what is your dream destination? 

Any place warm…

 

Best Resturants and bars in Stockholm? 

I basically only go to places within a 500m radius from home right now, so Babette, Adria, Churchill and à la Lo. Anna just moved back from Amsterdam, which has an amazing restaurant scene btw, but she basically has to rediscover Stockholm. 

 

First thing you will do after the pandemic? 

Hugs, crowded bars, travel, seeing my parents, mindlessly going to other parts of town, huge concerts. And if you ask Anna, sending her kids to daycare and school more often…

 

Would you recommend something to our readers? 

If you find and artwork or object that you love, and can afford, go for it. Don’t mind if it’s “right”, as long as it makes you happy to look at.  

Find out more and browse the the beautiful collection at theodeto.com.

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Profiles

Interview with Helena Carlberg and Anna Lukins the Brains Behind The Ode To

The online art gallery The Ode To was founded 2018 by friends Helena Carlberg and Anna Lukins, two passionated collectors of aesthetically pleasing things, sharing an obsession for art and interior. We had the pleasure of asking them about their background, dreams and plans for the future.