“I’m turning 30 next month, and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in my twenties. I’ve built a growing business, firmly established my career, got married and had a baby. It’s been an eventful period, and I’m excited to see what my thirties will bring.
I run an art gallery called Asian Art Platform here in Singapore. I curate works by Asian artists and advise clients on which art pieces to purchase for investment. We’ve also opened a gallery in Beijing that’s focused on promoting Chinese artists from the post-70s and 80s generation.
Yeah, I’ve always been interested in the arts. I chose art history as my major in university, and back then, my favourite pastime was to visit art galleries. It’s funny now that I think about it, but I used to be so envious of the girls behind the counter. I wanted to be a gallery girl too.
I was also very interested in the commercial aspect of art. At 22, I bought my first artwork for $15,000 with money I borrowed from my parents. It was a piece by the Singaporean artist Chen Wen Hsi, and I sold it the next day for $18,500. Safe to say, my dad was really happy.
Before I started Asian Art Platform in 2015, I worked as a gallery assistant at a number of different galleries. When I left my last company in 2014, I had the option of working for another one, but owning an art gallery was always a dream of mine.
I was conflicted, but my husband persuaded me to go for what I truly wanted in life. He told me he’d support us both as he had a stable job, so go pursue my dreams; it’s now or never. For that, I would really like to thank him; he had more belief in me than I had in myself.
We started the company with zero capital. I had my own collection of artworks which I put up and sold, and I was also taking commission from advising clients. We slowly built the company and eventually had enough money to represent our own artists in Singapore.
Challenges? I think travelling for work can be challenging, especially now that we have our daughter Riley in the picture. We just came back from Beijing and Hong Kong, and that was a whirlwind. Still, I would always want Riley to have that experience of travelling with us.
When I was a kid, I used to be in my dad’s office all the time. He was in manufacturing, and I really enjoyed being around him and observing him work. That’s why I’d like Riley to be with us when we travel; hopefully she can learn something from watching us work too.
Erm, I really don’t think I’m in a position to be giving youths out there any advice, but if you have a dream, just go for it. It’s okay if you fail because you’re still young and can start all over again. Youth is a luxury, so take advantage of it and explore your options.
As a parent, I’d want Riley to explore as much as she can too, and know that even if she failed at anything, we’d be there to catch her when she falls. My father always had so much belief in me, and in the same way my husband had faith in me, I want Riley to know I’m there for her too.” – Alice Zou, 29
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