Leonardo Valencia and his crew are part of the world’s unsung heroes, the patrons and protectors of cultural property working magic behind the scenes. His organization is a powerful example of the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” I sat down with him and was enlightened by his knowledge and foresight when it comes to maintaining, moving, storing and safeguarding one’s collection.
An ample amount of public art in Miami, and elsewhere have been quietly put in place with the resourcefulness, hard work, and precise execution of Leonardo’s team. Whether it is transporting, safely installing, and maintaining art or sculpture, (such as Colossal Botero sculptures.) They stealthily construct art fairs for Basel and other events and work with major museums, hotels and private residences, planning, executing and breaking down or replacing what had been rendered.
Logic Art are on the ground, in the air, both domestically, and internationally, with staff advertent to the works, ensuring safe arrival at their destination or viewing. They make it all come together. If you have ever attempted this yourself, even the scheduling, you know it is not an easy undertaking. The team handles it so well, they have earned the business and trust of some of the most significant institutions and private collectors, not only in Miami but globally. Leonardo has, over the last ten years, built a reliable, dependable, company that people know they can trust.
Let’s rewind a decade. At times, life can move you in directions you cannot appreciate until the big picture arrives. In this case, literally. Leonardo was living in Paris, working in the prints and drawings department of the Musée du Louvre. Having prior experience with handling and logistics and an education in art, he had landed a dream job and moved to France. His daily commute was a stroll through the Palais Galliera, Galeri Lafayette, watching people in the park read their books. He was carefree, young, and employed in one of the most influential arenas for art on the planet. More importantly, Leonardo was doing what he loved. Talking with him, I sense a whistful undernote, as he recalls this time in his life. One day, near the holiday’s, he received notification that his work visa would be expiring soon and he returned to the states to renew it. Reckoning a quick visit home to see his parents, he couldn’t have fathomed the ad nauseam and palaver of documents being “ping ponged” back and forth, resulting in sustained months living out of a suitcase. Ultimately, six or seven months later, realizing his life was on pause, his savings being whittling down, and then needing to say,” Au revoir” to his apartment and dream job. His friends in France had to put his belongings in storage for him. He had to go back to work at his previous job and his Parisian stroll to work was replaced by gridlock on I-95 in two hours of traffic, back and forth to Davie, Florida. Not exactly what he had planned.
What he does next, I admire. Now, sitting on I-95 in rush hour can make people want to do a lot of things, and in the best case scenario, such as in this story, hastened Mr. Valencia’s decision to create his own logistics company. Acutely aware of how small the art world is, he departed reverentially, on a good note with the company he was working for at the time. He knew that the company, did the bulk of their work as far south down as Palm Beach, not as much in Miami. He decided to target Miami, as he noticed the Miami market was picking up, and opened shop. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, and he relied on his ability to play the bass guitar to subsist while he began securing his own, new clients. In spite of it being a tad daunting starting from scratch, Leonardo, (like many heroes) did the best thing and showed up. He started freelancing and people realized he knew what he was doing. He showed up to every opening, vernissage, every show, talk and art fair he could. To the point where he had to hire a person. His friends would help him in the beginning. He created new connections, eventually scoring jobs with museums in the area, aiding them to construct and deconstruct some grand openings. Anything from Basel, museum openings, merry go rounds to some well-known mammoth displays. The work speaks for itself. He now has 28 employees recently moved the company to a bigger space, with a higher elevation for storing art, sculpture, documents, artifacts and rare books as well.
I asked him about any moment he could remember when he knew he had arrived. He recalls the first art truck he had purchased at an auction. It just so happened to be the truck he used to work when he was handling art in his previous job. He knew the meticulous care they took of the truck. If a little light went out, it went into the shop. He used it every single day brand new. He knew this truck was built explicitly for the transport of art, it was temperature-controlled and was custom made. and he finally felt like he had an organization. It was a proud moment. It symbolizes the transformation from an employee to being a business owner.
I think the most impressive part of my day with him was the fact he built his business with no loans or outside partners, but plenty of hard work. Also, I appreciated his open mind, and his drive to continually expand his business and service. He is quick to give credit to his experiences, and his sincerity is evident in his heartfelt gratitude and the praise he gives his team. Having been an art handler himself, he has empathy and respect for what they do.
Education is at the core of his mission; his entire staff must have at least a BA or an AA in art, some even have a Masters, and some are artists themselves. With an educational background and a passion for art. Any one of them can guide clients in making decisions and finding solutions much faster. Every handler has an understanding of not only the artist, but the materials, and how to wrap them and safeguard the work as much as possible. When they did the opening show at the Bass Museum, he sat his staff down and familiarized his team about all of the art and the artists work they would be handling.
Luck Favors the Prepared
One of the things I didn’t know about that his company does, is something called hurricane contingency. He and his team prepare and have a system in place, ready to transport the large sculptures and collections to safety should bad weather strike. Collectors can retain them, and when they hear of a big storm coming, they call and ask if you want the art transported to safety. This service and dedication is just the kind of thing that makes what he does so helpful not only to his clients but to the public as well. They can also do condition reports on works annually with a conservator. They will then measure and pre-build crates for all of the works, store the empties, and in the event of an emergency, the collection is secure.
When I got in my car after our time together, I had a lucid thought, reminding me that there are layers to everything. Like when you flip a switch on a wall and just expect it to turn on. But if you had to understand everything that went into that light functioning, you would begin to see the complexities of it all and appreciate the fact you have light. Since meeting with Leo, I have found myself admiring a sculpture, or piece of art for a second longer because the way it is presented prompts me to believe that, that it is a work of art itself.
To reach Logic Art you can call: 305.463.7376
or visit www.logicartmiami.com