How did you hear about the grant, and what inspired you to propose this specific project for the Crusade for Art grant?
We are a small group of photographers and creatives that meet at each other’s house for dinner monthly to talk about art, drink wine and share details of photographic projects we are currently working on. We were having tacos and wine at Joseph Gamble’s house when he brought up the grant. All of us have struggled with the concept of getting our work seen by collectors and everyone was very interested in participating or seeing what comes out of the grant.
How did you come up with the idea for your project?
We knew we needed to have a great idea and the genesis of “Photo A Go-Go,” our subscription service, came from our discussions that evening. Jamie Jackson had mentioned the old “Record Club” services like Columbia House and BMG where you would get 10 CD’s for a penny and often one each month. At the end of dinner, he pitched the idea of signing up for a piece of photographic art to be delivered to your door monthly. The following morning Jamie shared via email his sketch of the concept and this became our grant application. He had the name of the project and had purchased the URL and we all were in favor of moving forward.
What do you think is the greatest struggle/weakness facing artists and the art community right now? What is the greatest opportunity/strength?
We think the greatest struggle is marketing. Gone are the days of photographers making appointments with John Szarkowski at the MOMA and having retrospectives within the year. There are so many talented, creative visionary artists but the gallery/museum structure can be restrictive and daunting. Connecting artists with a supportive market is critical for them to make a living that supports the creation of new work. Technology is equipping artists with the tremendous opportunity to connect directly with their audience via the Internet and social media. The Crusade for Engagement grant speaks directly to this opportunity in the art community.
How do you think artists should play a role in educating the public or their audience about their art or art in general?
Artists today must do more than just make art. They have to run a business, market themselves and then potentially share their story to educate the potential collectors on the details of their process and/or story behind the image. Technology is critical in this endeavor. Partnering with other photographers and artists to create a presence when reaching out to the public and creating events can be highly beneficial in reaching and sustaining the right audience. A single artist can get overwhelmed with the options but when you build a team and share the responsibilities, it can be an extremely successful relationship for all.
Why do you think many people find art intimidating, and how can we lower the perceptual barriers to entry for collecting art (and specifically photography)?
Galleries and museums are the main venue (and the most popular) for getting the public interacting with art but lavish events thrown for large benefactors builds the perception of exclusivity. Large catered events put the focus on the venue while smaller artist talks and casual discussion allow people to interact and build a personal story regarding the pieces of art they enjoy and hopefully (eventually) collect.
Historically art and art collecting have been a symbol of status for the wealthy. Old ideas die hard. We think people are insecure about what is "good art" and "can I afford art?" While the wealthy have always been benefactors and vehicles for art, wealth alone does make art appreciation and collection mutually exclusive. Another reason for intimidation is the perception that one needs a fine art degree, either undergraduate or higher to have an opinion, preference or understanding of art.
To lower the perceptual barriers to entry for collecting art, we believe we need to cultivate an artistic self-confidence in the potential collectors. Maybe a "build it and they will come" attitude. Our mission is to get high quality, curated photographic art into the hands of potential collectors in a fun, easy and Photo A Go-Go way. Giving our collectors information that explains the importance of the image, why we chose it... and it's potential not just as art but as an investment.