BEFORE the quarantine, Derek Flores, artist manager (he handles artists like Pong Bayog, Marrie Saplad, Bryan Teves, Anna Bautista, and Angelo Quintos) and managing director of DF Art Agency Inc., would meet with artists to discuss future projects and exhibits (both local and abroad), attend art related events, meet with collectors, and regularly correspond with artists, galleries, and clients. Now that he is stuck at home like most everyone else, he is dealing with an occasionally poor Wi-Fi signal and cabin fever while trying to stay in touch.
HOW ARE YOU NEGOTIATING WITH ARTISTS AND CLIENTS DURING QUARANTINE?
Negotiation with both artists and clients are done through communication platforms such as Viber, WhatsApp, Instagram and e-mails. The art industry in the Philippines is so small that we basically know each other so there is already a built-in trust structure.
WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEETING METHOD AND WHY?
I rarely use these apps unless required by the clients or artists. The digital age we are living in brought us plenty of options to stay connected. Zoom, Teams, and Google meet are some of the most popular online video conferencing tools .
WHERE IS YOUR “HOME OFFICE”?
I have a small study table in my condo unit. This is where I work most of the time.
WHAT TIME DO YOU START YOUR WORK DAY? IS IT EARLIER OR LATER THAN YOUR USUAL SCHEDULE? WHAT TIME DO YOU END?
Luckily for me, my job allows me to be flexible. I don’t follow a daily time schedule — but I am accessible anytime for my clients, artists, galleries, and co-art brokers.
DO YOU TAKE BREAKS?
It really depends on my schedule; some days are busier than others. If I have spare time, I catch up on the news and talk to my friends. Netflix, cooking, and exercise are part of my daily routine during quarantine.
WHAT DIFFICULTIES OR CHALLENGES DID YOU EXPERIENCE? ANY DISTRACTIONS?
I have experienced Wi-Fi connection problems and weak network signals from time to time. Unscheduled phone calls from friends and relatives and television are also distractions. Cabin fever is also real.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM WORKING FROM HOME?
I learned to separate work life from home life, stay connected, motivated, and learn to be tech-oriented. — Michelle Anne. Soliman