The ATIM Story!
An exclusive interview with Viviana Puello the Founder and CEO of the Award-winning Multimedia Platform helping art activists worldwide.
– Paul Simpson
Award-winning artist and activist. Feature filmmaker and director. Honored podcast and television host. Esteemed entrepreneur and business coach. Founder and CEO of ArtTour International, who has expanded the revolutionary platform to encompass print and digital publications, an award-winning TV show, international events, and so much more. A Top 10 Female Entrepreneur in 2020, as recognized by New York Weekly, whose passion now promotes artists worldwide and serves talented individuals from more than 205 countries.
With all of these successes and accolades, you may wonder how Viviana Puello has never graced the pages of the magazine that she brought to life twelve years ago. The answer is quite simple—she always refused previous requests from her artistic peers and staff, instead preferring to keep the focus on talented international artists and their innovative works.
Two years ago, we published the ATIM story, and this year we decided to share part of it with updates to celebrate Viviana and Alan’s stories of perseverance and triumph.
Viviana’s childhood in Colombia was far from idyllic. Indeed, growing up, she was set adrift in the turbulent seas of parental abandonment. In the wake of these difficulties, she developed a belief system that limited her horizons. Only at the age of 12, when she ventured upon her first joyous explorations of art, could she finally glimpse ahead the creative powers of possibility. Yet, while the vagaries of fate and the day-to-day duties would obscure this vision—sometimes for years—Viviana would always return to art.
Once she realized that abundance begins only in pursuing what you love, she was finally able to embrace art fully. Viviana ensured that art remained in her life, day in and day out, for ten years, as an independent artist, curator, and Founder of Vivid Arts Network, helping artists exhibit their work in international venues. Pursuing these passions led to a different kind of passion when Viviana met her future partner and husband, Alan Grimandi, while working on an exhibition in Ferrara, Italy, in October 2009.
When arriving from New York to Ferrara, the person who was supposed to pick up Viviana from the airport could not make it; instead asked Alan to do it for her. So the two met at the Bologna airport upon Viviana’s arrival, Alan holding Viviana’s name on a paper sheet. The love story began, and since then, these two soulmates have been together. And that’s how the story of ArtTour International begins.
During a flight between venues in 2011, the idea of creating an art magazine suddenly struck Viviana. She immediately marshaled Alan, friends, and fellow artists’ support to bring ArtTour International Magazine to life. After a year of work, in December 2011, they released the first issue and began preparations to launch the magazine at the Auditorium al Duomo in Florence.
And launch there it did—at the wrong time and in front of the right people. You see, the day that Viviana arranged to tour the prospective venue happened to coincide with a convention of approximately 500 international cultural figures from more than 30 countries. After asking the responsible, Viviana could secure three minutes to present the magazine project. Within an hour, she began to speak the words that would ensure the foundation of a budding success.
This ability to brave potential rejection and practice seasoned flexibility has allowed Viviana to ensure that ATIM is available at Barnes & Noble locations and 1,200 newsstands worldwide and grow its readership from 1,500 to 2.1 million readers in more than 180 countries.
Her collaborative spirit has found expression in creating award programs and ceremonies such as the ATIM Top 60 Masters Awards and the ARTYA Artivist of the Year Awards and original activist groups such as Create4Peace.org and Artists for a Green Planet.
Her cultivated openness to creativity has driven the foundation of ATIM Web TV and The ArtTour International TV Show, which has traveled to more than 50 cities worldwide to support artists and art organizations. Honored with the Olee Public Media Award of Excellence in 2018 and 2019, the show airs every Thursday at 5:30 PM on MNN-HD Spectrum 1993. Moreover, it propelled the stunning documentary “Kintsugi – The Line of Destiny,” which features the Berber people’s natural livelihood in the Sahara Desert, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and the Italian countryside. The film garnered numerous prizes, including “First Time Directors” (Top Shorts Film Festival), “Best Documentary” (New York Film Awards), and “Top Documentary” (Los Angeles Film Awards).
Viviana’s latest venture, Vivid Arts Elite Circle, originates from her desire to pass on her hard-earned knowledge and experiences.
We share our interview with Viviana to gain further insight into her journey.
First of all, thanks for the interview. We’ve wanted to do this for years, and we finally succeeded! Why have you kept us waiting so long?
“My work keeps me busy. . . (laughs)…The truth is that I have a very clear idea about my role in this publication, and that is to promote the art and artists that we bring in each issue; we’re here to help them have a voice to share their message. So, I preferred to focus my energy on fulfilling that vision.”
How do you define yourself?
“I’m an artist, writer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and unstoppable manifester dedicated to helping creative entrepreneurs advance their careers, grow their businesses, and scale the ever-competitive international art scene so they can thrive doing what they love.”
How have these twelve years of ArtTour International been?
“It has been quite a joyful ride, and every issue has been a new opportunity for co-creation with an excellent team of collaborators, artists, and readers. It has given me great excitement and pleasure to meet incredible people, from emerging artists to internationally recognized legends. Some have left a strong mark on my heart.”
Tell us about Alan Grimandi
“Alan is the most genuine, transparent, generous, and honest person I know. As a professional, he’s committed, goal-oriented, and a super achiever. He is a great filmmaker and storyteller and has the gift to transform video into marvelous imagery that captures your heart. I love his cinematographic work. As a business partner, very supportive. On a personal level, he’s my soulmate, and I enjoy every second of this journey with him. We enjoy working together; it’s always fun.”
What is Inspiration to you?
“Inspiration is the essence of creation. Inspiration is within us all the time. We can choose to be inspired because Inspiration is being attuned to our divine self in the present moment. We can always make that choice; no external influence has the power to take Inspiration away from us. It is a part of us that is immutable”.
When did you discover that you wanted to dedicate yourself to art?
“I’ve always been artistic. I started painting at the age of twelve, playing my guitar, and singing around the same time. But I do remember the moment I fell in love with painting. During a visit to the convention center in Cartagena, I was sixteen years old and walking in the “Obregon Hall” when I saw a painting by Alejandro Obregon for the first time. The painting. ‘Galerna’ measures over twenty feet. I remember walking down the hall next to that painting. I could feel my heart racing with each step I took. I felt warmth, magic, and butterflies in my stomach—something I had never experienced. I didn’t want the painting to end. I didn’t want that feeling to stop. I knew then that I wanted to reproduce and live with that feeling. So art became my drug of choice at that moment.”
One of the most common questions we hear is this one, so I asked for our readers’ curiosity. Where are you from?
“I was born and raised in Colombia. Then, at 17, I emigrated to New York, where I grew into adulthood and became a professional. My children were born here, so I have strong roots in the USA. I married my Italian partner twelve years ago, and since then, I have lived in Italy. We have our home in Ferrara. So a piece of my heart is in each of these three countries. We live and work now here in the USA most of the time.”
What personal challenges have you overcome, and what have you learned from them?
“I’ve experienced my parents’ abandonment, which taught me to be resilient. I went through a divorce when was only twenty-two years old. I faced the world alone with my two children. Right after that divorce, I lost everything and experienced being homeless. I learned to practice gratitude every day for what life offers me and you are never alone, the universe has your back.”
Why do you do what you do?
“Because I enjoy it, it makes me happy, and I’m contributing to humanity by amplifying the artists’ message. Art unites us in a single truth: that we are all part of a whole. I get up daily thinking whatever I do will contribute to a world where equality, inclusion, love, and peace are the new normal.”
What’s new with ArtTour International this year?
“New is our Vivid Arts Network TV Channel which will launch next Spring. We’re expanding our reach to bring more exposure to artists worldwide. We plan to include all forms of artistic expression in our programming, including story-telling, cinematography, and visual and performing arts.
The Art Titans Documentaries is an original series that we will broadcast on Apple TV. Amazon Fire and Roku. Featuring top international artists, incredible art, outstanding masters, and the most inspiring stories.
We’re planning the ATIM Masters Awards Ceremony. We also continue our partnership with Create4Peace and Artists For A Green Planet to celebrate the ARTYA (Artivist of the Year Awards) next Fall and honor Mother Earth. There is much more to reveal, but you must stay tuned to discover it.”
Any message for our readers?
“Be creative, stay inspired. We are not only entitled to live an inspired life – but we are also called upon for the betterment of all humanity, to live a life filled with Inspiration and unleash our full creative potential, to make a difference in the world. Think of yourself as that light that shines in the dark. We are called upon to shine, to feel the urgency to move forward, to accept our gifts and be grateful, and to offer them back to the universe with unconditional love.”