We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Huffman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
I am not the best at setting habits and sticking to them! One of the best things that I have learned through my time working in Retail and also within the Gallery environment, is to always be open. There are always multiple ways to achieve the same result. Being open has allowed me to continually develop new ways to connect with clients and also how to be understanding of different people. Also, being persistent and having good follow through can make a huge difference between closing an acquisition and establishing a long term relationship with a client. Being persistent is tricky sometimes because you don’t want to always come across as pushy. Adaptability is the key to this and knowing what type of service that the client would want and expects.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Maestri Gallery is located in a small pocket of Dallas called Exposition Park. It’s a neighborhood you know but might not know the name of it. It is located from the east end of Deep Ellum to Perry Street at Fair Park. We started off focusing on being a one-stop shop for clients from our Architecture & Interior Design Studio, Maestri Studio, and we have since expanded our reach to include anyone and everyone who wants to stop in. We are a team of designers that select pieces we like and artists that resonate with us. When selecting our artists and works, we think of what is going on in the design community while also being more brazen in some of our selections. When meeting new artists to bring in, I think about how would a client feel if they were to meet them. I want the gallery to feel welcoming in all aspects of the business and that starts with us and the artists. I feel comfortable introducing all of our artists to clients if they are in the same room. I don’t want a client to be put off on a piece if they don’t feel comfortable with the artist and work to create that sense of community among everyone. Our specialty is curating a selection of works that are each individual to each artist while still being accessible to everyone. Being able to afford original art should not be for the upper echelon of our society. We have carefully put together a representation that is all under $6000 with pieces starting at $50. After reviewing our current representation 2/3rds of our artists are female, 3 of them are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and each of them have their own unique style that is easily distinguishable. As a company, we are most proud of being able to help develop these artists careers and expand their reach that they may not have had before. I am also proud to start conversations with people around the works that may open their eyes to a new perspective, see our Inclusionary Vision show from 2018 for Dallas Pride. We will continue to pursue accessibility, diversity, & individuality within all of our shows and artists.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have been in Dallas, again for the last 12 years, and have definitely seen the city change and grow a ton during that time. I would take someone to explore the great museums we have here in Dallas and Fort Worth for a fun day activity that doesn’t break the bank. The antique shops in the design district and scattered through out the area are another fun stop to see what kind of fun funky things you can bring home. A nice stroll around White Rock Lake or even going for a minor drive to Glen Rose to check out the state park would create a fun day. Restaurant wise, I would have to take them to my favorite Mexican food place in Irving, La Margarita. Its right off Beltline just north of 183. My family and I have been going there for about 15+ years now. Its a great family owned restaurant that is full of great items on their menu. Other options would be to go to a BBQ place like Pecan Lodge or Terry Blacks in Deep Ellum. It would be a good way to make an evening in the area and stop in to different lounges through out the neighborhood.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to shout to all the people that have given me the chance to do something and try a new thing. They have allowed me to really take on new things and develop me to where I am today.
Photography by Jenifer McNeil Baker