Founder of ArtDrunk and Young Collector
You are only 26 years old and already a proactive consumer of art, both with collecting and entrepreneurial activities. Pre-covid, were you traveling frequently for the purpose of following the art world or did you focus more on attending shows locally?
I’ve always loved traveling, and as soon as I quit my full-time, corporate job to pursue growing ArtDrunk, I had the freedom to travel anywhere the art world took me. That included going to most of the global art fairs, the Venice Biennale, spending many months in Asia, and even visiting South Africa for the first time for an artist studio visit. I can’t say it was good for my health — my body rarely knew what time zone it was in! But it was one of the most rewarding years of my life to let art lead the way while I experienced cultures from all over the world.
Tell us a bit about your initiative ArtDrunk. Further, why the name?
ArtDrunk started as an Instagram account when I was still in college. The name came about because I thought it was rather cheeky to be “drunk on art” rather than drunk in the more standard sense as a student. Since then, ArtDrunk has taken on a broader identity as a media company with the mission of sharing the cultural and emotional power of art with all, with a specific focus on millennials. Art has had such a profound impact on my life, I want to share what it has to offer with my peers.
ArtDrunk works towards that goal by creating content on platforms where millennials are already consuming media — such as Instagram, YouTube, and email newsletters. I’m also keen on presenting art with a more friendly, approachable tone, which is also a play on ArtDrunk — providing an unfiltered voice on art.
Navigating the fast-paced art world as a young entrepreneur, do you believe that you can well react and ensure that ArtDrunk stays contemporary and current, influenced by the art market?
It’s actually important for ArtDrunk to stay independent from the art market. Of course, some of my content involves attending art fairs, but I believe strongly in a mission around “art for art’s sake.” I’d love to build a reputation of working with today’s top contemporary artists while having the platform to support younger, more emerging artists who have yet to hit the mainstream. In that sense, ArtDrunk isn’t just following what is current but playing an active role in supporting what will be “current” in the future.
Your university studies were in Art History and Economics. What was the most recent fair you visited before Covid-19 lockdowns? In your opinion, what did the presented artworks reveal about the trends and market?
The most recent fair I visited before lockdowns was Independent New York. To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember that much from the fair. Most fairs had started to blend together for me, seeing the same artists and galleries regardless of the city. What I’m more interested in now is what the fairs will be like post-Covid. I miss the socializing aspect. The parties and dinners can be draining, but there's nothing like a fair to bring all of your friends together from around the world. The first major fair to reopen might also offer trends as to how artists have responded to this pandemic in their work.
You bought your first artwork during your sophomore year in college in 2015, how does Instagram apply (a) to you as a collector and (b) as a company founder?
The first artwork I bought was off of Instagram. It was a 2-meter painting that I found scrolling through the hashtag #contemporaryart. Instagram still applies to me today as a collector in that I use it to see what shows are on view or to see which artists my other collector friends are actively looking at. While I have yet to buy anything else on a whim off of Instagram, it is certainly a resource for me to discover new artists.
As for being a company founder, I use Instagram to stay in touch with and meet new people. It’s incredible how easy it is to feel part of a community through the use of direct messages.
Are you doing anything specifically now with your online presence to respond to our crisis?
At the start of the pandemic, I needed to take a step back and slow down. Most galleries and media companies were pumping out content like never before, but I felt it was oversaturating the online space. It was much more a focus on quantity rather than quality of content.
Part of stepping back was also taking a much needed break after jumping into the art world deep end last year. I had experienced so much in such a short period, I sort of lost hold of why I quit my job to pursue ArtDrunk in the first place. There was a lot of pressure earlier this year to support the art world through my platform, but it was necessary for me to think longer term as to what role ArtDrunk will play in this industry.
In your opinion/experience, is the decision to buy a piece of art intertwined with the context it is presented in?
Collecting art is an immensely personal experience for me. So when I collect, it’s more about the stories I can share about each piece, such as a personal relationship with the artist. For example, with that first painting I bought off of Instagram, I’m always reminded of getting to meet the artist in Oslo, staying at his home for one night, and venturing throughout the city for the best fish and chips and bread I had ever had. Or with another artist, I was gifted a small drawing after filming at his studio in Korea. The day started off by having BBQ at a local restaurant, then visiting three of his four studios, learning about his process and background along the way. I still haven’t gotten it framed, but it’s absolutely a piece I will cherish for years to come, knowing that those wonderful memories will rush back everytime I look at the piece.
Have you bought any/many works through online viewing rooms?
What advice do you have to share with fellow young collectors or anyone interested to start collecting?
Take your time! There’s really no rush to jump into collecting until you’ve started to develop your own tastes. And that’s really only possible once you’ve seen a ton of art. While I won’t go so far as to say I’ve regretted any purchases, I often think about what I could’ve added to my collection instead a year, or even a few months, later. Even now, my tastes still change. It has taken five years to really start to see themes emerge in what I like and what I don’t. It’s part of the collecting fun to make mistakes, but at the same time I’d much rather just live with things I love forever.
Who are some of the collectors or which collections have most inspired you thus far on your journey?
One of my dreams is to open an art space. Hard to say what form exactly that will take, but I’m constantly inspired by Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales of Glenstone. Their attention to detail in both collecting masterworks and creating an architectural marvel for experiencing art is everything I aspire to in the future. There’s a certain meditative quality to Glenstone that aligns perfectly with how I approach art as a way to slow down and disconnect from the digital world.