We Continue in Our Constant Evolution. Interview with Paulo Ribeiro and his Team, Organizers of the JOYA Art Jewellery and Object Fair Barcelona

Interview  /  Fairs   CarolinDenter
Published: 17.04.2020
Maria Jose Vasconez, Paulo Ribeiro & Patryk Walczak, Photo by Celia Suarez​
.   Maria Jose Vasconez, Paulo Ribeiro & Patryk Walczak, Photo by Celia Suarez​

Carolin Denter
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Joya Barcelona, the main art jewelry and art object event in Spain will take place in its 12th edition at Artesania Catalunya from 19th of September till 29th of November. Paulo Riberio and his team work permanently to organize a successful event for the exhibitors and visitors. We talked to him about his goals, the experiences of the last fair editions and the changes that the current situation will bring for the future. 
Paulo, at the moment you expect JOYA 2020 to happen, even though many other events and fairs postponed to 2021. How did you make the (economic) decision to keep on planning the fair and all efforts going with it? 
All spring jewellery events got postponed to autumn - for the moment and hoping this will be better in the next months - we keep the dates of JOYA. We made this decision together with the museum and talking with other people from the sector.

Please explain to us your vision for the JOYA fairs future. 
JOYA is a fair that is constantly changing, from presenting the artists in different venues – Hotel 1898, Convent del Angels, Centre d’Art Santa Monica and nowadays Disseny HUB – to the complex and diverse communication campaign previously the event, that highlights the work of the artists to important offline and online media worldwide. The event goes beyond a normal trade fair; we try to create a movement that the participants have a better result than only taking part and exhibit in a 3 days’ event; promoting and communicating their work from the time they are accepted – May to October – until after the fair.

JOYA 2019 Barcelona Art Jewellery & Objects, Photo by Celia Suarez.

This year is the 12th edition of JOYA. In our last interview, you stated, that the criteria to make JOYA happen are so high, that it might be not possible to improve its standards. Looking back, what is the most important thing, that changed for better during the years?
The main thing that changed was the inclusion of objects at the fair, we open our spectrum and included small sculptures, unique pieces that create a direct dialogue with art jewellery. The quality of the objects is also high; technically and conceptually and it is complementary. The next step is coming and we are planning to include another type of art, yet to be announced in the near future that will be related to jewellery and objects in another form.

JOYA 2019 Barcelona Art Jewellery & Objects, Photo by Celia Suarez.

As Joya is now in its 12th year you can already look back on a long series of events and experiences. Why do you think jewellery fairs like JOYA or the Jewellery Weeks are so important worldwide? 
The online platforms give us the possibility to see, discover and enjoy art jewellery or any other type of art as never before. Nowadays we can buy pieces and make our own collection from home, but what the online platform will never provide and the jewellery fairs will are the points below:
  • The interaction between creators – when you attend a fair/event you meet people that share the same passion, and this is a creative motor to go back home and continues the work.
  • Perception – it will never be the same to see a piece in a picture as in real.; the volume, the texture, the scale, the technique and besides all of that the feeling that this piece transmits when you have it in hands or wear it is impossible to have it online.
  • The personal contacts – we write hundreds of emails per day, talk on the phone but when we meet the gallerist, collector, journalist or an art jewellery lover in person there is an energy exchange and the connections are made in a totally different level, the personal one.
  • Feedback – when you present your pieces to the person that will purchase or admire, you will have direct feedback of your work and the perception of your creative result to the final public.
  • Melting point – to meet other people that share the same thoughts at the same time and at the same place creates a special environment that you can not explain if you never took part of an event like this. We are not brands that are selling a product without a face, we are presenting a personal work that is a translation from the artist vision to a piece. This generates a union of several people that gives us the possibility to become friends and sometimes also feels that you belong to a big family.

Many artists, as well as galleries and institutions, nowadays use online appearances and social media to promote themselves. What should convince people to use JOYA as a platform? 
Maria Jose Vasconez – Communication Department: The online support is essential to promote the work of artists, before, during and after the fair itself. We collaborate with different online jewelry platforms such as Klimt02, Current Obssesion, Grupo Duplex or Gold and Time in addition to magazines, newspapers, blogs, television, and radio for which we develop audiovisual content throughout the year, to create an accessible information network to everyone at any time. In this creative line, we have developed videos, editorials, interviews, etc. that have been published in mass media of fashion, art, lifestyle, architecture among other media, as we believe it is important to promote the artists works with other artistic disciplines to have a wider promotion and target a new public that still doesn’t know about art jewellery.

Who should exhibit at JOYA?
All the art jewellers and object artists that want a platform that represents high-quality work and that has the aim to promote their collection with online and offline tools. Besides the promotion, the experience to take part in an event that is a melting point of the sector, gathering together people from all over the world in Barcelona.

You always run a lot of very high-quality image campaigns for the JOYA. Not only do you advertise through Klimt02, but you also produce films, catalogues and collaborate with renowned institutions. What kind of visitors comes to Joya, and do you make additional efforts to attract collectors? 
We do believe in teamwork when you are surrounded by professional people the results are always good. The visitors of JOYA already know what they are looking for, from collectors to gallerists, museum directors or journalists. The people that are interested in art, fashion and design are our main goal, especially the people that still don’t know so much about art jewellery. When we create this type of content as films and editorials, we target this specific public that in the future will consume and appreciate this sector, together with the art community created since we started, as many artists are also collectors and buy hundreds of pieces.

Do you keep yourself up to date about sales and successful contacts of the artists at the fairs? Can you give me any basic information about this? 
Patryk Walczak – Financial department: We work many months before the fair to get in contact with galleries, collectors and jewellery museums. Every edition we receive positive feedback from the artists about the sales and contacts they make during the fair. We have been informed that many galleries and shops are interested in taking the whole collection instead of only a single piece of jewellery, and this confirms the fact that professional contacts are made during the event. We do not take part in the selling procedures but we do ask for the feedback to be updated, in order to improve for the future. Exhibiting in a fair is only the beginning of the business, as after the event many artists continue the collaboration with important galleries such as Platina, mydaybyday, ohmyblue, Context, Reverso, DTerra, Amaranto, Beyond, La Joaillerie par Mazlo or Charon Kransen, as with institutions as Dor Museum and Disseny HUB.

JOYA 2019 Barcelona Art Jewellery & Objects, Photo by Celia Suarez. 

Every year at Joya many awards are presented, for example, the Enjoa`t award (in a festive ceremony), but also during the fair days, artists receive various awards. Could you explain a bit more about the importance and the content of these awards to those of us who are not aware? 
The students and professional awards we present during the fair have the aim to highlight the work of a few artists and students that are presenting their work. This gives to the awarded ones more visibility for the press and also for galleries and collectors that maybe did not have the eye on their work still. It also stimulates their willingness to improve and gives the possibility to take part of other international fairs free of charge – Autor Bucharest, Athens Jewellery Week, Brasil Jewellery Week - and to have a different perspective and another professional experience.

Because of COVID 19, we see in the last months more and more how great art fairs open virtual exhibition spaces to support your galleries and artists. Also according to the Art Report of Art Basel in 2020, more than half of the art sales last year took place online. Can you imagine something similar for the jewellery world, or especially for JOYA? 
JOYA will not sell directly their work online or in situ, we will continue the work of communicating and promoting their work and organize a fair. There are other platforms that already do this work very well, as this itself is a huge amount of work that we are not specialized to do and it is not our goal.

All of us are affected, personally, economically and socially through the current situation. What permanent changes do you expect for the jewellery world and also for mass events like JOYA or, how do you think the current situation will change future editions of JOYA Barcelona?
I never considered JOYA as a mass event, quite the opposite, we are a small niche in a small sector inside another sector. I think we will never be for the mass as art jewellery is a delicatessen for a cultural elite that appreciates art beyond their material value. For sure things will change and we will be ready to adapt when the time requires, for the moment we continue in our constant evolution as we think things don’t change so quickly and everything has the right time to occur. In resume, we have been changing since we started and if we don’t adapt to the current time, we would have to close the fair. We do apply the sentence from the book of Alan Deutschman “Change or die”.

Anything else you would like us to know? 
Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to talk in this difficult days, we really appreciate!

About the Interviewee

Paulo Ribeiro
Founder and Director of JOYA Barcelona Art Jewellery & Objects and Le Département Creative Agency
Ribeiro is a Brazilian architect with master and PhD at Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya. He was the art director of Barcelona Fashion Week for 6 years, directing more than 100 fashion shows. In 2007 he founded the creative agency Le Département, with projects in different countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, UK, Poland. In Barcelona, Ribeiro created JOYA in 2009, the most international event related with art jewellery and objects in Spain, gathering together more than 450 artists per edition, presenting a great selection of art jewellery from all over the world.
Maria José Vásconez
Communication Manager JOYA Barcelona Art Jewellery & Objects and Le Departement Art Jewellery Showroom.
Born in Ecuador , María has a Bachelor in Communication and a Master in Fashion Communication at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. Living in Spain since 2010, she worked as a stylist and communication department for fashion brands for more than 10 years. Since 2015, Maria is head of communication for Le Departement Showroom and also for JOYA Barcelona Art Jewellery & Objects, in charge of national and international official media and responsible for the production of editorials and films.
Patryk W. Walczak
Finance and strategic planner Manager of JOYA Barcelona Art Jewellery & Objects and Le Département Creative Agency.
Patryk is a Polish economist, with a degree in Finance and Business at the College of Management of Wroclaw. Since 2016 is a partner at Lé Departement Interiors SL, responsible for the finances, he worked in projects in Poland and Spain for international clients from France, Switzerland, United States, Korea and India. He is also responsible for the strategic planning of JOYA Barcelona Art Jewelry & Objects and specialist in the implementation of new market strategies in the art jewelry field.