Alexandra Fanning

Alex Cropped.png

Alexandra Fanning

Communications and events strategist, New York, USA

Alexandra lives in Brooklyn, NY, USA, and is originally from Sydney, Australia.

Social media handles (personal and/or professional)
@alexandrafanning_pr / @sliceofalex
Photo © Krisanne Johnson 

●      How did you get started in PR and how did you find yourself where you are now?

Marketing and communications have always been my great strengths, and my love for art began at a very early age. Originally I had this idea that I would become an artist and was on that path until I began university, where I pulled all of my focus toward my Art History classes. I graduated with a degree in Art History & Theory, minoring in Marketing at the University of New South Wales, Collage of Fine Arts (COFA), interning at museums, galleries, art-startups and film companies throughout. After school I worked in the marketing department at Carriageworks, a huge arts and cultural center in Sydney, hosting some of the biggest international names in art including Ryoji Ikea and Katharina Grosse. It was there that I was introduced to PR as a career opportunity, working alongside the team from Australian cultural PR company, Articulate.

Upon arrival in New York I started working at one of the largest art and culture publishing houses at the time, Louise Blouin Media, which not only introduced me to the key players in New York’s art-publishing scene, but also allowed me the opportunity to learn more about the galleries and other culture publications. I developed wonderful relationships with other art world professionals and started to build my own community of artists and writers.

After being contracted for a branding project by Christie’s Auctions, I felt that it was time to go out on my own and get back to my publicity roots. After putting the word out to a few potential clients, and to other communications professionals, I had several projects lined up and the tools to offer a personal approach to marketing and communications. I haven’t looked back, I have had so many successful campaigns and happy clients, and I plan to keep rolling on.


●      What do you specialize in?

I specialize in Art + Design publicity mainly. Because of my background and love of Art History I am really able to get excited about every project I work on and genuinely enjoy learning about, and strategizing with these amazing international artists and galleries. It’s easy to be exhilarated by their progress and feel a part of their successes.


●      What are you currently working on?

Currently, I have a few galleries rolling out their plans for 2019 exhibition programming, so it’s an exciting time to develop strategy. I had a great Summer with several art events at the Montauk Beach House and galleries in the Hamptons, at MoMA with director Glenn Lowry and to assist the launch of the Lower East Side Art Week which sees that community of galleries host events and celebrate their female artists.

I’ve also had the opportunity to work alongside larger overseas companies such as Margaret Communications based in London. Being an independent publicist, it’s always thrilling to collaborate with more established names and be able to bounce around creative strategy with some of the bigger industry players. I’m always trying to grow and improve my processes and exploring new ways of thinking and talking about culture creatively.

I’ve recently moved into promoting artist books, from French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed to titles by Mexican Summer’s publishing wing, Anthology Editions.


●      What is a recent success you're particularly proud of?

I was really proud to bring the Thai- Australian artist, Kawita Vatanajankur to New York. She exhibited in the artist-run collective space, Secret Dungeon, and then was heavily featured in the Spring / Break Art Fair. Because of the interesting concept, the impactful imagery and the amazing story she presented about feminism and what “womens work” looks like within Thai culture, I was really able to gain huge interest in her work with an entirely new audience. Her work featured in a huge two-page spread in the New York Times, so that was particularly thrilling for a relatively unknown emerging artist.


●      What is most important in your work?

Finding the story that I would want to read, to open a reader's eyes, to teach, and to contribute to the cultural conversation in a meaningful way. A lot of communications and publicity is about listening to, and understanding the whole story, getting to know the artist(s) and their work, and pinpointing what is special or different about them.

I’m really proud to work with charitable nonprofits when I can, I love to work with the amazing group, the Young New Yorkers, who work tirelessly to keep teens out of jail, and divert their sentences with a program of art classes, which, when completed, ensure that their cases are sealed and they can have a second chance. Every year they host a huge benefit with the kids and you can see how the organization transforms and improves lives.


●      How would you say the media landscape in your field has changed since you started in PR?

I think that with our ever-evolving technologies the landscape is forever in constant flux. The ability to creatively execute your strategy ensures that you can be effective in the long term and although traditional PR is still the measure of success, non-traditional channels including social media, events, collaborations, sponsorship agreements and engaging influencers is becoming more of a norm. I think it is an exciting time to think outside of the average PR box, and the ways that we communicate our message and create buzz means we are constantly innovating.


●      Where are your favorite places for business meetings or drinks with writers/clients?

I’m all about good coffee (or wine) so I have my regular spots in the Lower East Side like The Ten Bells, 169 Bar is a staple for anyone working in arts and culture, and if I can get anyone over to Brooklyn, Vinegar Hill House is where i’d like to spend more of my time.


●      PR/Communications can be fast-paced and stressful, what is your favorite way of relaxing?

Being able to silence my phone occasionally is my ideal way to wind down. I’ve come to rely on massages and baths to get me through the stressful times. Sometimes a luxurious spa experience at Aire Ancient Baths is what I need, it relaxes me knowing that I have something “just for me” coming up. As a freelancer I can work from anywhere, so getting out of NYC when I can is also welcome relief.


●      What are you reading these days? 

Currently reading Natasha Stagg’s book Surveys, an odd story about internet celebrity, it’s intriguing. I just finished Miranda July’s No One Belongs Here More Than You recently and really enjoyed it. An artist/ writer couple who have exceptional taste started an Instagram account called @everyfuckingbook which I usually peruse for my next read.


●      What are you listening to on repeat these days?

I have a playlist of what I call “electronic shoegaze chillout” with everything from movie soundtracks by Trent Reznor and Gesaffelstein, to Coco Rosie, Giselle and Feder. Somebody tried to change it at a dinner party I held recently… It’s not for everyone. If I want to dance around like a maniac, I love the amazing psych-dance duo Prince Rama.


●      What is the next event you're the most looking forward to in the next months?

A client of mine is planning a huge show at Pioneer Works– but I don’t think I can share the details of that yet, stay tuned!

Spring / Break Art Show is coming up again in March. This is by far the best way to take the temperature of what New York artists are working on in their studios. I’m excited to see what they exhibit this year.


Kathryn Kross

Juliette Delman-Lagot