At Fine Art Shippers, we value art and human relationships, and this philosophy has been at the heart of everything we do since the establishment of the company in 1995. We are often asked to share our story, experience, and the secret of our success. Oleg Kushnirsky, the founder of Fine Art Shippers, believes that there is no secret at all: it’s all about loving and caring about what you do. In this blog post, he talks about the origins of the company, its driving force, and its commitment to giving back to the art community.
Origins: Building the Art Community
“A native of Russia, I moved to New York City with my wife and son in 1992. I was passionate about photography and antique Russian icons and wanted to turn my hobby into a business. That gave me the idea of opening an art gallery specializing in Art Deco items and authentic antiques. Very quickly, we became actively engaged in the art life of New York, participating in exhibitions, auctions, and all kinds of events.
We met a lot of collectors, gallerists, and auctioneers and gained a lot of experience in all aspects of the gallery business, from art management to shipment and installation. Over time, we started to offer shipment and installation services to our customers. The positive feedback we received encouraged us to start a new business in art logistics. That happened in 1995, and since we had an impeccable reputation as a gallery, the announcement immediately brought us a large number of clients, many of whom came through referrals.”
How We Work: Our Values
“As art and antiques dealers, we often experienced problems associated with shipping, be it packaging and crating or getting artworks delivered on time. That, however, turned out to be our competitive advantage when we launched an art shipping business. We understand the needs of our clients very well and know what might go wrong. So our job is to prevent all possible issues within our control. We make a point of sticking to our commitments and never breaking them. If, for instance, we say that our art shuttle will make delivery by a specific date, we do it. Even if the truck is not fully loaded, we do not delay the shipment. This is our concern, and the client should never suffer. Besides, we are very flexible and can work seven days a week, and even at night if required. This is one of the benefits our clients appreciate.
Another important thing for us is keeping up with the latest industry packaging standards. We use the best certified art plastic, tape, cardboard, etc. Custom art crates are our pride. We make crates for the needs of specific works of art, from small paintings and drawings to large sculptures.”
“Since the establishment of the company, we’ve had the same, very close-knit team that has become our extended family, so to speak. All of them appreciate the work they do, as well as that emotional connection we have. This is another distinction of our company. For us, it’s not just work and business, it’s our lifestyle and our world. I manage operations, control the final stages of packaging and shipping, and advise the team on the choice of packaging materials. Ilya, my son and partner, takes care of marketing, route planning, and customer service. My wife Jane Kushnirsky is in charge of accounting and all financial matters. Besides, she has a lot of experience in handling and packaging delicate items such as porcelain and glass; this is her specialty. So all of our family is in the business.”
We Are in Love with Art
“What I and all of us love most about our work is being part of the art world. It’s not only the glamorous side like art fairs and exhibitions. We believe our mission is to give back to the art community; that’s why we support young artists, as well as culturally and socially important initiatives.”