An interview with Sonder’s art partner: Christopher Wilcox of Natural Curiosities

At Sonder, we’ve always focused on delivering an elevated design experience to our guests. A key element of our design process is curating art collections that will both inspire Sonder travelers and take our interiors to the next level.

We’re lucky enough to partner with artist Christopher Wilcox — displaying his amazing artwork in dozens of Sonder spaces across the globe. Christopher moved to Los Angeles from England almost 20 years ago, and founded his art company Natural Curiosities shortly thereafter, in 2000. His passion for art developed when he started buying old Natural History collections from Christie’s and other Auction houses and then selling them to private collectors in the US. Natural Curiosities has become a Global Art House that has a massive following worldwide, with an ever-expanding collection of unique and inspiring artwork.

We recently sat down for a conversation with Christopher to hear more about what inspires his work, what drew him to partner with Sonder, and how he is staying motivated during the pandemic.

Natural Curiosities artwork in Sonder spaces
  • What inspired you to work with Sonder? Sonder is creating something exciting and unique to the hospitality industry — something that’s between an Airbnb and a hotel. There is so much potential and opportunity with this business. 
  • When you’re traveling, what do you look for in a hospitality accommodation? I’m a Creative, so I look for a visual experience. I need that to even think properly. More than the staff, more than other guests, more than anything else is the visual comfort of the space I’m in.
  • What inspires your artwork? Nature and color. They can generate so many different emotions and moods, which together create a very visual experience. I’ve always been a very visual person, and have always preferred to look at something instead of reading it. I’ve been drawn to art for a long time.
  • If you could create a collection that would represent Sonder’s vision for reshaping the hospitality industry, what would it look like? I would love to eventually create a collection for Sonder that is a curated global art collection. I want to create artwork that’s relevant for everybody everywhere, that covers a bit of everything, including fine art and localized art. I don’t want to make it too complicated because travelers are generally looking to relax or have fun on their trips, so intensity is something I’d want to avoid.
  • Tell us more about the pieces you’ve chosen for Sonder spaces. We’ve chosen a lot of larger pieces that have dimensionality for Sonder. Anyone can create a print these days, but what’s really unique is more dynamic dimensional pieces. I want to install pieces that are inspirational, which are big, and that have impact. 
Natural Curiosities artwork in Sonder spaces
  • How do you hope our guests respond to your art displayed in Sonder spaces? I want Sonder guests to have an emotional response when they experience my art. I want people to feel good, and like they can relax and recharge. Sonder is a brand that focuses on emphasizing the culture of the cities it’s in through design. Art is the backbone of culture — so my Natural Curiosities pieces go hand-in-hand with that vision.
  • In the past, you’ve said the best advice is to be open to reinvention. Have you felt during this time period that you/Natural Curiosities have had to reinvent yourself in any way? If so, how? Absolutely. What we are experiencing right now is very rare. I absolutely do not want to minimize or disregard the losses so many people are currently facing, but in some ways, this moment presents an opportunity. I view this as a time to be really creative and to think bigger. I’m investing my time in working on a specific project, which will be for Nature Lovers globally. I can’t share details about quite yet, but it’s something I’m very excited and passionate about!
  • How have you been staying inspired during quarantine? Quarantine has provided the opportunity for an increased amount of creativity. There’s simply more time based on the efficiencies of working from home (like no commute time). I am also lucky to live in a very inspirational place, in a home that’s immersed with nature and has a view, and where I can work in my garden. 

Rapid-fire questions

Most inspiring place you’ve ever been to?

Brazil for the spirit of the people. India for its pure colors. Thailand for the immense beauty of the country, islands, and oceans. The UK for its pubs and pints (and because it’s my home).

Must-have essential while traveling?

Chapstick, and the right bag. I only want to carry one bag that can fit everything in it. 

Designer/creative you most admire?

Kelly Wearstler and Anouska Hempel.

Favorite piece of art/favorite art museum?

LA has the most museums anywhere in the world. It’s an incredible cultural city. Many people don’t realize that. 

Sonder location you most want to stay in?

Dublin! I’ve never been to Ireland.

Best travel advice?

I always try to connect with people I meet on planes to get travel recommendations. There are hundreds of people on a plane going to the same place you are, and many probably know the best places to go.

Book or podcast – got a favorite?

I’m a Joe Rogan nut!

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