Auctioneer Spotlight: Brian Arbuthnot and Gaby Gonzalez
Many of our Park West collectors develop friendships with the art teams over the course of their land or sea vacations. Here’s a chance to get to know them more as they share their favorite adventures in the art world.
Brian Arbuthnot and Gaby Gonzalez were always just inches away from each other before meeting on the Grand Princess. Brian grew up in Vancouver before studying in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada and setting sail as an Art Auctioneer alongside Park West. Gaby grew up in Mexico before studying in Vancouver and joining Princess Cruises as a youth counselor. Ever since their fateful meeting, the pair has been cruising around the globe and enriching the lives of others through art!
Previous ships as Auctioneer: Grand Princess, Ruby Princess, Royal Caribbean International Serenade of the Seas, Celebrity Silhouette, Carnival Splendor, Norwegian (NCL) Pearl
Current ship: NCL Epic
Where is your hometown?
Brian: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Gaby: Obregon, Mexico
When did you start working as an international Art Auctioneer on cruise ships?
Brian: I learned about Park West Gallery during my studies at UBC Okanagan – I was immediately intrigued! I was originally going in the direction of journalism, however while interning for an online local news website, I couldn’t turn away from an opportunity with Park West! I’ve always been fascinated with the art world and how it’s in nearly every facet of our lives.
Gaby: I’ve always loved working with kids, so I originally was on board as a youth counselor for Princess Cruises. I stumbled into one of the art auctions on the Grand Princess and immediately caught the Park West “bug.” I grew up visiting exhibitions and galleries every chance I could, and I always loved reading about one of my favorite artists – Frida Kahlo. It was a perfect fit!
Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?
Brian: My favorite artist of all time is undoubtedly Rembrandt van Rijn. When it comes to the art world today, Michael Cheval is quickly becoming one of my favorites. He’s created a different and surreal range of vision.
Gaby: I’ve always understood and admired the impact and genius of Rembrandt. After visiting the Rijksmuseum and his home in Amsterdam, I was amazed and moved by his ability to capture a subject’s joy and sadness.
What do you like most about being an Art Auctioneer?
Brian: I have been an Art Auctioneer alongside Park West for close to four years now, but I’ve learned that we’re not just “art auctioneers.” Collecting artwork is sometimes an underestimated experience. I’ve had the honor and privilege to help people find artwork that will be in their homes for years to come; artwork that will be in their children’s home and their children’s home! It’s an incredible thing to watch as people collect works that are sometimes the extension of their personality or something that purely speaks to them. Life is short; we need to bring things into our lives that make us happy.
What is your favorite client memory?
Brian: Gaby and I recently had the privilege to spend time with a collector named Laurie. She had so many incredible stories about her professional experience in the art world. From giving us great life lessons to explaining the time she met Salvador Dalí, she was a joy to speak to. We found ourselves asking “Where’s Laurie?” every night. We always looked forward to seeing her.
What is your favorite port or travel tip for the readers?
Brian: Both Gaby and I have been to some incredible places, so it’s difficult to pick just one. From Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and St. Petersburg to Shanghai, Melbourne, Rome and New York, each city is so culturally rich. After much discussion, because it was our first place together in Europe, Lisbon in Portugal stands out as one the most beautiful places.
Please tell us about your experience being an auctioneer aboard the NCL Epic.
Brian: The NCL Epic is an incredible ship with an outstanding collection. We’ve had such a great time here, not only because we had the opportunity to travel through the Mediterranean, but also because of our team members. We’ve had the privilege to be surrounded by passionate, kind and hard-working people who we’ll always keep in contact with in the future!