Auctioneer Spotlight: Ty and Gracie Braga

 In Art & Gallery News
Auctioneer Spotlight: Ty and Gracie Braga, posing in one of Park West's onboard art galleries.

Ty and Gracie Braga, posing in one of Park West’s onboard art galleries.

Over and over again, Park West collectors have told us that one of the highlights of their collecting experience is the lasting friendships they develop with our art auctioneers and gallery teams. Park West takes a great deal of pride in this—these personal connections are a huge part of our mission to connect people from all walks of life with artwork they love.

That’s why, every month, we take a moment to recognize one of the brightest Park West auctioneer teams working today.

This month, we want you to meet Ty and Gracie Braga, two amazing auctioneers from two very different origins. Ty hails from Cape Town, South Africa, while Gracie’s hometown is Des Moines, Iowa. But this married couple shares an eclectic taste in art and loves the cruise ship lifestyle. They’ve introduced countless art lovers to the thrill of collecting with their undeniable passion and excitement for art.

Ty and Gracie recently took a few moments out of their busy schedule to talk with us about some of their favorite artists, client memories, and travel adventures. Enjoy!

 

Previous Ships: Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) Imagination, CCL Destiny, CCL Spirit, CCL Freedom,  Royal Caribbean International (RCI) Grandeur of the Seas, RCI Rhapsody of the Seas, RCI Legend of the Seas, Princess Cruise Line (PCL) Golden Princess, Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Gem, Celebrity Solstice.

 

Current ship: Caribbean Princess

 

Where is your hometown?

Ty: Cape Town, South Africa

Gracie: Des Moines, Iowa

 

How did you start working as international art auctioneers?

Ty: How I came to be in the art world is perhaps an unorthodox tale—a combination of opportunity and timing. Before joining Park West, I was a part owner in a live entertainment venue hosting live music acts almost nightly back in Cape Town. After selling my business, I began to search for opportunities outside of South Africa with the allure of travel and adventure. I met a previous Park West auctioneer who introduced me to the gallery and, after several interviews, I was invited to a training conference back in January 2011. It all started there.

Auctioneer Spotlight: Ty and Gracie Braga in front of the Celebrity Solstice.

Ty and Gracie Braga in front of the Celebrity Solstice.

Gracie:  I joined Park West in 2014, after working as a professional dancer and singer in New York City. I have always been surrounded by art and artists. While living in New York City, I discovered my love for all art forms that eventually lead me to Park West.

For most people, the idea of standing in front of a room filled with strangers, talking about your passion, does not come naturally. However, I feel my years spent on stage prepared me for an auctioneering career.

 

How did you both meet?

Ty: I met Gracie years later, at a similar training conference to the one I attended in 2011. It was her first time and we struck up a friendship that eventually grew into love. It’s strange how art has the power to bring people together and this is what it has done for us.

Our paths crossed many times over the years but finally, this past April, we tied the knot. It is such a blessing to have your significant other by your side while working on board ships. We both love what we do, and we do it out of love.

 

Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?

Ty: Chris DeRubeis, a pioneer in the art world. He challenges conservative thoughts about the art world by throwing away the conventional tools of the trade. Using aluminum sheets as his canvas and power tools as his brush, he is certainly an innovator in a world where it is hard to be considered a true original.

Gracie: David “Lebo” Le Batard, I must say, especially after having the opportunity to get to know him while working for the Park West VIP program. Lebo is a thinker. His style is uniquely his own.

 

What’s your favorite client memory since working together as a team?

Ty and Gracie: Each cruise we meet hundreds of people, however, there are some who really remind you how great this life is. Those who remind you why you do what you do.

Ray and Sonia are a great example. They were a family experiencing the art program with Park West for the first time and fell in love with it all. We fell in love with them too, to be honest. They arrived as guests and left as friends. We spent hours in the gallery just chatting about everything. This is when you remember this job is not only about art, but rather about people.

 

Out of all of your adventures around the world, what has been your favorite port?

Ty: I would have to say Greece. The culture and history dating back thousands of years is a journey through time. The food, the vibe, and the energy—it’s all so alluring. I could pack my bags and move there tomorrow with ease.

Gracie: Buenos Aires, Argentina. The wine, the food, and the city’s architecture are all outstanding. Tapas cafes in the late afternoon and tango dancers in the street at night. There are also gorgeous art galleries on every corner filled with local artists.

Auctioneer Spotlight: Ty and Gracie Braga on their wedding day.

Ty and Gracie Braga on their wedding day.

 

 

What does life look like when you’re at home or not working?

Ty: On Saturday, it’s sports, family gatherings, and binge-watching our favorite shows on Netflix!

Gracie: Cooking in my own kitchen, yoga sessions in my living room, and spending time with family.

 

Please tell us about your experience being auctioneers aboard the PCL Caribbean Princess.

Ty and Gracie: The Caribbean Princess is a great ship visiting some wonderful Caribbean Islands. After all, not many people get to say they wake up in a different country nearly every day, right?

With an amazing collection of art on board, we are also spoiled as art lovers. Princess Cruises really embraces and supports the art program which makes our role on board such a pleasure.

 

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Showing 8 comments
  • Peter Bailey
    Reply

    I recently purchased some art on a caribbean cruise. Ty and Grace were the auctioneers. Can you please provide me with their email details so I can contact them. Regards Peter

  • Helen O'Hare and Al Richman
    Reply

    Just on Caribbean Princess and met Gracie and Ty. Great experience at the auctions. Gracie’s various talks and sessions about art and the artists were a highlight of our cruise. We are waiting on the DeBureis piece we purchased along with some others. Thanks Ty and Gracie and Dimitri who moved to a new ship

  • Al Richamn and Helen O'Hare
    Reply

    Met recently on Caribbean Princess. If you have a chance to hear Gracie’s lecture sessins, do not hesitate to go. She is both very knowledgable and good presenter. Ty is good autioneer also and we loved our Chris deBreis we purchased two weeks ago. Can’t wait u til delivered to us

  • Kerry and Janice Thurman
    Reply

    We had a great art auction experience with Ty on the Solstice. 5 days at sea from Vancouver to Hawaii made for daily auctions and Ty help us with some great additions to our Peter Max collection.

  • Christine Johnson and Pete Aleman
    Reply

    We have met Ty and his cousin Ralph and they were fantastic! We were aboard the Crown with friends and were bidders 166 and 167 as he came to know us, and we had the best time with Ty and his crew. We are so thankful for our experience with him and have continued collecting art. I know we would also enjoy Gracie, as Lebo is one of our favorites.

  • Joanna and Roy Button
    Reply

    We thouroghly enjoyed meeting Ty and Gracie. Purchased lots of art and currently are receiving them weekly! Ty is a great autioneer/entertainer! Gracie is an excellent presenter! Hope to see you both on another cruise in the future!

  • JIM AND MARIE TAMULEVICZ
    Reply

    We met Ty and Gracie on the June 23 cruise and they were wonderful. Gracie is so steeped in art and artist knowledge. Ty made the auction exciting and fun. All staff members were great.

  • Neil Shapiro
    Reply

    We never imagined that we would be so involved with the art auctions when we booked this Caribbean Princess cruise – thanks to Ty, Grace and the whole Fine Arts team for making this such an exciting, educational and FUN experience!

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A guest considers Dalí’s take on Dante's "Divine Comedy" at the Hilliard Art Museum's opening for “Salvador Dalí’s Stairway to Heaven.”2017 Park West Foundation