InLiquid’s Art for the Cash Poor 15 celebrates Philadelphia as the City of Makers. This week, we’ll be featuring AFTCP15 participants who ‘brand it’ – artists who invest their work, and the people who wear it or own it, with unforgettable personality and style.
New this year, we’ve invited some of the top Philadelphia Influencers to curate a group of promising artists and designers. We’ve asked a few of these Curators to share their advice on how to brand it: everything from how to present yourself at your next networking opportunity, to the best ways of seeking out gallery representation.
As a contestant on Project Runway, what were some of the challenges you faced in crafting your on-camera persona?
I made sure that if I was going to be on the show, that I would 100% be my self. I decided not to create any type of personality. After the show, one of the most common remarks I get from fans its that they loved how genuine I was on the show. I tell them because it was true!
Fashion is such an important part of branding personal identity. If you could give advice to someone approaching an important networking opportunity, what would it be?
I would say be the best version of yourself that you can be. And to BE there and BE interested. One thing I noticed that people tend to do is to only talk to someone because they want something from them. It pays more to be genuinely interested in another person, than pretending to be, just so they can help you.
What do you look for when approaching a new artist for a show – what makes someone’s work stand out?
As a member of Gravy, I am always looking for new artists to show at our space. We have had a wide variety of photographers show at Gravy because we try not to limit the scope of how photography is supposed to be viewed. We look for artists who mix digital, traditional, installation work, and video. An artist who can bring a personal connection in their work is something that we look for. In this digital age where almost everyone can be a photographer with their phone, we look for artists who have strong ideas behind their images and a strong body of work.
What’s the best advice you can give an artist looking for gallery representation?
I think being a part of the artist community is the best way to figure out what gallery fits with your aesthetic and how you want to portray yourself and your work. By attending gallery openings, First Fridays, artist talks, and other events you can become familiar with which galleries draw the kind of buzz in the community that you want to be part of. I think working collaboratively with your gallery is an important element to selling work and coming up with new ideas on how to get your work out there. It is also important for the gallery to have connections outside Philadelphia. If your gallery makes the effort to bring your work to other cities, art fairs, and has a good online presence, you will have more success and other opportunities will open up for you.
What about looking at work as a collector – what advice would you give to someone new to buying art?
Collecting art in Philadelphia is so fun! Everywhere you look, people are making and selling artwork. Trading with friends is always the best because you don’t have to shell out any money. And your friends will get to show off your artwork to their friends. For someone just starting to collect, I would start small and figure out what you like and fits in your house. Then when you come across a larger piece that you love, you will be more aware of the buying process and how you can incorporate it in your collection.