Stephanie Cotela Tanner: freelance journalist focus

Stephanie Cotela Tanner is a freelance journalist who specialises in art, but also writes for lifestyle titles. Her work has appeared in Flavourpill, Art Review, House Magazine and Dazed & Confused.

This week, FeaturesExec caught up with Stephanie to discuss her work, find out who she’d love to interview and her PR pet peeve.

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
Mostly, I write about contemporary art; exhibition reviews, artist interviews, features. I tend to focus on the art market. I also write for entertainment and lifestyle publications about anything from hotel spas for dogs and latest consumer trends to preview listings of events happening in the UK and US.

Where are we likely to see your work?
I am contributing editor for the online publication, Flavorpill, I also write for their sister site, Flavorwire, Art Review, House Magazine, Saatchi Online TV & Magazine, Canvas8, Dazed & Confused Digital, The Art Book, and Art Rabbit.

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
I’ve only been freelance for a little over a year, so at this point, my first publication, for Art Rabbit is most memorable. It was thrilling to be published and for friends and family to see my work online.

Other than that, my MA dissertation was the most challenging and rewarding piece of writing that I’ve ever done. My paper involved post-World War II films by Roberto Rossellini and paintings by Renato Guttuso, which combined art history and film studies, it was really fun to research.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I would love to do an interview with Charles Saatchi.

About you and PRs:

Where do you source ideas for articles?
I read tons of art publications, The Guardian, and I attend loads of exhibitions.

How can PRs be useful to you?
I welcome the influx of press releases that I receive every day from PRs, I think they are extremely useful. Invites to upcoming events are also welcome.

How and when do you like them to get in touch?
Email is perfect because then I can pick and choose which events interest me and reply at my leisure.

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
I think press events are a great way to network, find inspiration and maintain contacts. I try to attend at least two events a month.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
My biggest pet peeve is when someone contacts me, I reply to them and then never hear from them again. Follow up is hugely important – when I don’t receive a timely response, I am less likely to deal with that person again.

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I would probably be working in a museum or gallery – in either case, it would be a struggle to pay the bills, but at least I would be doing something that I enjoy.

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
I would treat my husband to a weekend getaway, maybe Venice; he’s been so supportive of my career in journalism and edits all of my work.

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
It’s never too late to start something new.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
At the moment, I’m reading Gregor Muir’s, ‘Lucky Kunst, which is about the contemporary art scene in London in the early 90s featuring the Young British Artists. I subscribe to Artnews, which is a great resource that I use to keep on top of the art market and Art Review, which is fun to read and a brilliant guide to the contemporary art scene in London. My favourite art blogs are FAD, Art Fag City and of course, my own blog, VisualBites (
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[img|jpg|Stephanie Cotela Tanner]

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