Auctioneer Spotlight: Megan Kiessig and Len Kok
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.
Megan Kiessig and Len Kok started their careers separately with Park West, both striving to become successful auctioneers in their own right. After Megan became auctioneer on the Carnival (CCL) Fascination, and Len the Auctioneer on the CCL Imagination, they had the opportunity to meet in the popular port of call Cozumel, Mexico. The developed a relationship while working separately aboard different ships until Len asked Megan to join him as an auctioneer couple aboard the CCL Glory. Since then both their careers and relationship blossomed into a recent engagement and the couple plan to be married in December 2016.
Previous ships as Auctioneer: (CCL) Magic, Celebrity Equinox, Norwegian Dawn, Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam, Regal Princess, Royal Caribbean (RCI) Explorer of the Seas.
Current ship: (RCI) Navigator of the Seas.
Where is your hometown?
Megan: Cape Town, South Africa
Len: Cradock, Eastern Cape, South Africa
When did you start working as an international art dealer on cruise ships?
Megan: I started with the company in 2011. Before Park West I was a student at the University of Cape Town majoring in environmental studies.
Len: I studied Sport Marketing and Business at the University of the Free State. Before I joined Park West Gallery I worked as a sales representative in Cape Town.
What do you like most about being an auctioneer?
Megan: I think for both of us, the opportunity to introduce people to art and start them on their own artistic journey is very special. Over the last few years we have seen firsthand how many of our collectors have grown and developed their own artistic identity, and we will always be a part of that. You also have this incredible opportunity to meet people from all different walks of life, from all over the world and build strong friendships that will last forever.
Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?
Len: I love the old masters such as Rembrandt, Picasso and Miro! But my favorite artist has to be Yaacov Agam because I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago while we were the auctioneers on the Celebrity Equinox, and that was an unforgettable experience. The genius behind his creations and everything that inspires him sets him apart for me, in addition to the fact that his art is just so different!
What is your favorite client memory?
Megan: Our favorite client memory involves this fantastic couple from Las Vegas, Neil and Arlene. They sailed with us on the Celebrity Equinox back-to-back cruises in 2014. They were the nicest couple we have ever met. We helped them collect some amazing artworks, but what stayed with us was their incredible zest for life. Between Neil’s stories of the old Las Vegas and Arlene giving Len advice on how to propose, they became like family in a very short period of time. We learned more from them than they could ever learn from us, especially that one should live life to the fullest and to enjoy every minute of every day. We gained two very good friends that cruise. We met up with them last year and spent a wonderful afternoon in Spain, and I hope to see them again soon!
What is your favorite port or a travel tip for the readers?
Len: I have been extremely lucky and have seen some of the world’s most beautiful places. A few places that jump to mind are Aqaba, Jordan, where we visited the ancient city of Petra. It was one of the most incredible days of my life. Another would be Bora Bora, where we stood knee deep in a lukewarm ocean, dead quiet, awestruck by the beautiful sunset and Cozumel, Mexico will always be special to us as it is where we met. But my favorite port has to be Langkawi, Malaysia, where we rented a boat and cruised through the Mangrove Forest, chose our own fish that was cooked for us on a house boat, and so much more.
Please tell us about your experience on being an auctioneer aboard the Navigator.
Megan: The Navigator of the Seas is an incredible ship that has an eclectic mix of guests from all over the world. We have spent almost a year on board and have had an amazing opportunity to travel to some of the best ports of call in the Caribbean, the Baltic and the Mediterranean. We have also had the great privilege of building lasting relationships with our guests because of the longer cruises.