Artmeme is pleased to introduce our monthly guest blogger, Thomas Donae. This article was written by Thomas Doane who is an amateur artist, art-lover and an art-critic on blogs and in local weelies. Really, he’s mostly a writer.
We’ve all been there. Standing alone in an art gallery, captivated by the allure of a piece. Its depth and intense intrigue pull you in. This is amazing, you whisper quietly to yourself, I must have it. You can already see it hanging above the mock fireplace in your apartment when your wandering gaze travels to the price tag, which holds a number that violently shatters any possibility of adding this piece to your collection.
Project Dispatch is a way to turn your dreams into reality, and then hang them on the wall. The experience is not uncommon. Many have fallen into despair upon learning that they cannot afford the gallery list price. Would that the pieces were more reasonably priced, say…$50. Then, perhaps, you could go home with one. Project Dispatch takes care of that problem for the art lover, connecting them with artists that they’re excited about.
The project is, by its own definition, an artwork subscription service offered by a group of artists nationwide that’s built to help those artists stay committed to producing work, while providing great artwork to art-lovers who can’t afford gallery prices. The website lists three subscription levels – three-, six- and 12-month levels at $25, $50, and $75 per month, respectively.
Project Dispatch does do some email marketing to keep in contact with their network of art-lovers and artists, but word of mouth and their occasional exhibition extravaganzas such as FLURRY and SEND OFF have thus far been their primary marketing tools.
The project lacks the appeal that it might have were it to be offering wares from A-list figures in the art world, but whatever revenue it is not generating in that field it makes up for by offering developing artists a platform to gain notoriety and sell a few pieces in the process. Early adopters can potentially collect art from bourgeoning artists before they “break”, which is added incentive for collectors planning for the future.
Some of the artists include Rachel England, one of the co-founders of Project Dispatch. She is a nationally renowned artist and recent graduate of Corcoran College of Art and Design. Her Temple series bowdlerizes well-known pieces and replaces key elements with images of various temples located around the world. The result is sometimes intentionally clever juxtaposition, and other times mystic.
The art is not restricted to a single media, though it most often manifests itself as visual without being multimedia. It may belie the purpose to send art subscribers separate DVDs that hold each component part of a multimedia installation.
Artists like Jason Wood create sculptures out of found objects and send photographs of finished (or possibly, in progress) works to subscribers. Esther Hilago deals in contemporary photography with a decidedly old-school vibe. My point is, though the current selection is small, it’s varied, oftentimes charming, and always worth looking at.
The administrator Chandi Kelley–curating the whole project along with Rachel England–has also contributed work to the growing labyrinth of styles and artifacts spilling out of the Project.
The work itself often points to developing styles, which are exciting in themselves as stepping stones to an artist’s eventual aesthetic technique. On the whole, Project Dispatch is another innovative idea to be added to a growing list of ways to distribute art in a depressed economy. Artists gain from the exposure and practice, while consumers have the chance to support art they enjoy at a reasonable price.
Now perhaps you won’t have to deal with that sinking feeling of sticker shock at the art gallery.
*Project Dispatch by Artmeme’s Monthly Guest Blogger Thomas Doane. Thomas Doane lives in Indianapolis is an amateur artist, art-lover and an art-critic on blogs and in local weelies. Really, I’m mostly a writer.