At Park West, we know one thing for certain—our collectors love our onboard Art Teams.
We hear it all the time. When people attend our auctions and art events on cruise ships, they tell us that they walk away with a newfound enthusiasm for art, and that excitement originates with our charismatic auctioneers and associates.
That’s why, every month, we take time to recognize one of our most dedicated auctioneer teams working today.
In this spotlight, we invite you to meet Alex O’Rafferty and Candi Hanson. Despite the fact that they were born almost 8,000 miles apart—Alex hails from Australia, Candi from Idaho—they were brought together by their shared love for travel and art. Together, this dynamic duo has helped collectors around the world go home with artwork they’ll treasure for the rest of their lives.
We recently caught up with Alex and Candi and asked them about their favorite client memories, the origins of their art careers, and how they first met. Enjoy!
Previous Ships: Holland America Veendam, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Sky, NCL Gem, Celebrity Cruises Summit, Royal Caribbean International Independence of the Seas, Princess Cruise Line (PCL) Regal Princess
Current ship: PCL Royal Princess
Where is your hometown?
Alex: I grew up in a small town in New South Wales, Australia called Forster, which is about a four-hour drive north of Sydney.
Candi: I was born in Northern Idaho in a beautiful city called Coeur d’Alene. I moved quite a bit, living in seven different states, but eventually moved back to Coeur d’Alene when I was 12.
How did you start working as an international art auctioneer?
Alex: Before starting with Park West, I was a building certifier. However, art was always a passion of mine, and I was looking for a career that I could enjoy. In 2014, when I heard about the job opportunities that came with working on cruise ship auctions, I knew it would be a perfect fit for me. So I quit my job and came straight over to Park West’s Miami facility for my auctioneer training—I’ve loved every minute of it!
How did you both meet?
Candi: I’ve been a dancer and singer my entire life, and I was working on a cruise ship as a performer when I first met Alex. I started helping out with his art auctions when I wasn’t dancing, and not only fell in love with Alex but also with all of the art. It was then when I knew where life would lead me next. I officially started working with Park West in 2015, and Alex and I began our journey together.
Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?
Alex: I have many favorite artists, however, if I had to pick one, I think it would be Chris DeRubeis. His innovative techniques blow my mind. His style is powerful yet also calming, and I never get tired of looking at his artwork.
Candi: It’s so difficult to pick just one artist. I guess if I had to only pick one, it would be Pino. I connect with his artwork on such a personal level. His art reminds me of dance—each work evokes different emotions and tells a story that’s relatable to the viewer in a different way. When I look at his artwork, my heart is lifted. He reminds me why art is so important and how it enriches everyone’s lives.
What are some of your favorite client memories since working together as a team?
Alex and Candi: Our favorite part of this job is building lasting friendships with our clients and we keep in contact with many of them. One of our most memorable was a 10-year-old boy named Nicholas, who was traveling with his parents on a cruise out of New York. We spent countless hours in the gallery together, talking with him and helping him pick out his favorite artwork. He even came up on stage and helped us conduct the auction. It was amazing to see someone his age have such an appreciation for art!
Out of all of your adventures around the world, what has been your favorite port?
Alex: I really enjoyed Alaska—the scenery is incredible. But my favorite port would have to be Bermuda. I love being able to just jump on a scooter and cruise around that enchanting island.
Candi: I absolutely love getting to see so many different places and cultures, but I’m going to have to agree with Alex and say my favorite port is Bermuda. I love how beautiful it is—all of the colorful buildings, the secret caves, the multitude of beaches. They even have pink sand! It is all around a gorgeous place to be.
What does life look like when you’re at home or not working?
Alex: We both love spending time with our families, going on road trips, and cooking. You know, all of the things we miss out on while on board. We are also both animal lovers—if Candi had it her way, we would probably live at a zoo.
Please tell us about your experience on your current ship, Royal Princess.
Alex and Candi: The Royal is a phenomenal ship—probably our favorite one yet. On top of the amazing itineraries, we have had the pleasure of working with some fantastic people and meeting some incredible guests as well. We would both love to come back here again.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our collectors?
Alex and Candi: We got engaged this past December and are planning on getting married early next year!