Auctioneer Spotlight: Naomi Baldwin
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.
Naomi Baldwin, principal auctioneer, is originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since then she has become a citizen of the world calling Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Africa, and a multitude of cruise ships “home” depending on where she is. While bouncing around the globe, Naomi also manages a non-profit organization called Building Botswana.
Previous ships as Auctioneer: Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) Dream, CCL Sensation, CCL Inspiration, Holland America (HAL) Zaandam, HAL Zuiderdam, Norwegian Dawn, Regent Mariner, Regent Voyager, Royal Caribbean (RCI) Radiance of the Seas, RCI Legend of the Seas, RCI Enchantment of the Seas
Current ship: Norwegian Star
What do you like most about being an auctioneer?
Naomi: It’s always an honor to represent world renowned artists on the auction block, but it’s even more special when you have a personal connection with them. I love meeting the artists and forming friendships. I’ve been privileged to tour Peter Max’s studio in New York City, attend dinner parties at the home of Marko Mavrovich in Beverly Hills, visit Scott Jacobs in San Diego and cruise all over the world with numerous artists. I even accompanied Marcus Glenn and his wife, Yolanda, to the Grammy Nominations last year! Spending time with artists that are influential in the art world and seeing their creativity firsthand is truly rewarding.
Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?
Naomi: I love engaging guests in conversations about Yaacov Agam and Joan Mirό because their works can be interpreted depending on individual’s perspective. It’s not just about a pretty picture with these two; it’s about the way the viewer experiences the artwork. They’ve both had a big hand in changing the way the world views art.
One of my favorite artworks in my personal collection is “Girrrrl, You Gotta See This One” by Glenn. It depicts two women in an art gallery looking at a Mirό exhibition. It was the first work of art I ever collected at one of the Auctioneer Conferences, and I had to outbid quite a few other auctioneers to get it!
What is your favorite guest memory?
Naomi: Recently, I met Ellen and Rich on the NCL Star. They were walking past as we were storing the artwork away after an auction when they spotted a Max sculpture. It wasn’t intended to be shown until later that week, but I brought it out for them since the secret was already out. They collected the Max sculpture and took a picture with it at our VIP party. About a week later, they met Max and had him sign the photo! I love to see how the collecting experience doesn’t stop after the auction, or after the cruise.
What are your best travel tips?
Naomi: To travel alone at least once and make it a priority to befriend the locals. It’s empowering, easier to meet people, and you don’t have to worry about what others want to do. Some of my most exciting adventures took place while traveling alone. I’ve visited the pyramids of Egypt, climbed the Great Wall of China, gone scuba diving in Bali, skydived in Hawaii, and explored Petra in Jordan. I may have ventured out alone, but each of those experiences culminated with new friendships and a better understanding of the local culture.
As a founder of Building Botswana, how do you balance managing an international charity while working on a cruise ship, and what do you hope to accomplish through the organization?
Naomi: It’s certainly not easy to balance a nonprofit while working at sea. I spend a lot of my free time on the Internet creating fundraisers, sending out newsletters, and emailing back and forth with some of our supporters, like the AAS Ambassadors in Russia, and our advisory board in the U.S. Luckily, I get two months of vacation every year which I can use to spend time working on our projects in Africa. Our first major project is building a school in Botswana, which we expect to complete by 2016. It will be something new in this village, bringing together children of all races for the first time.