What is the Crusade for Collecting?
As a gallery owner, art lover, and photography collector, I think a lot about who buys art and who does not buy art. The younger generations – a group consisting of a wide age range from college aged through early 40s – as a collective whole do not support art and artists like we should. We do not prioritize buying art, and we do not value original work.
Culturally, we are in our prime. We have sophisticated tastes and crave unique experiences. We are on-trend, we are curious, we are seekers.
And yet, we do not buy art. We do not patronize galleries and museums, and we do not support artists. Abstractly, we think art is interesting and to be valued, but we are not collectors.
I am on a crusade for collecting. For cultivating a new crop of art collectors. For making collecting cool.
Because it is cool. Falling in love with an original piece of art and buying it. That is collecting. It does not have to cost you thousands of dollars or even make a huge dent in your paycheck. It is about the connection. It is about looking at something and having an emotional response. Feeling something. And then purchasing that piece and hanging it on your wall and living with it. Your home becomes personal. Your walls start to describe you, and everywhere you look you see something you love.
That is collecting. And that is beyond cool.
Last June I launched an online photography project called The Ten (www.thetenphoto.com) with the goal of encouraging collecting original, signed photographs at an affordable price.
The Ten is a highly curated monthly online exhibit of ten photographic images. Each image is available at a 13x19 size in an edition of 25 for $250. The uniqueness of The Ten comes from its curation and its exclusivity. Images on The Ten cannot be sold in any other size in any other location. Once an image has been included in The Ten, it must be retired from sale. The only opportunity to purchase that image is on the website for The Ten, and once 25 are sold, it is sold out forever.
I think of The Ten as the gateway drug to larger collecting.
But in order to hit the message home, I need to get out there – bring the art to the people.
In March of 2013 I begin a ten-week, ten-city tour in a 1977 VW bus. I will do pop-up shows of The Ten work in each city by partnering with like-minded retailers or coffee shops, pitching an art tent in their parking lot, inviting food trucks and local musicians. . . festival style. An art revival.
In addition to staging the pop-up show, I will be doing press in each city and giving my Crusade for Collecting talk at different venues (universities, cultural/arts centers, museums, etc.).
A different Ten photographer will be traveling with me on each leg of the trip. We will do video and audio updates to the Crusade blog daily, as well as tweeting and using other social media outlets to connect with Crusade followers.
I have already built a lot of momentum around the tour. I funded a successful Kickstarter campaign and raised $16,000 to go toward the purchase and refurbishing of the VW bus.
Local press has been very responsive to the project (click on the images below to link to the articles), and several large press outlets are interested in covering the tour once it begins.
The tour will leave from Atlanta and travel to New Orleans, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago and New York. Additional mini-stops are planned for Austin, Santa Fe and Boulder. (Click on the image below to watch the video explaining my route.)
And there you have it - a glimpse into the depths of my insanity. I'm just crazy for art. Check out recent blog posts to see a short (and hilarious) video where I drove the bus for the first time and my trip with my daughter Lila to "the license plate store". And be sure to check back in - the Crusade is only just beginning.