Internet-based art collective 22c was launched a couple of weeks ago. The collective is focused on breaking out of the limitations within the gallery market, as well as enabling greater accessibility for collectors and a more direct relationship with the artists. Steering clear of mass production, the 22collectiv preserves the highest standard of quality and creativity. Friends and founders Kristján and Baldvin share the same native country –Iceland–, but are currently based in two different parts of the world, Berlin and Glasgow. Curious about this fresh take on the world of art collecting, we had a talk with them on how this collective came about and what their objectives are.
Tell us about your background and the motivation behind this collective.
Well, I (Kristján Már) suppose my background is in media and marketing. I was working in advertising as a wordsmith/ideas guy when I made the rather massive change of moving to Brazil (long story). Arriving there without a “plan” as such, I sort of had to reinvent myself career-wise, and ended up focusing on the Internet as a means of income. Baldvin, in turn, has spent the last decade building a career in art. As friends do, we regularly talk about doing something together, but then never get around to it or dismiss the idea that's on the table at any given time as unviable. This one here stuck, and hopefully for a good reason!
What is the main concept you follow at 22collectiv?
Bringing artists, designers, and makers together, and have them collaborate on new pieces of art, which sometimes involve stepping out of their comfort zone. For example, you might pair up a performance artist with a graphic designer to work on a piece of sculpture, etc. Being under a collective label will allow them the freedom to do that.
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What does the name 22collectiv/22c refer to?
The work will always be limited to a total of 22 editions (20 copies and 2 artist proofs). The very limited run of each piece will keep it highly collectable, but also viable to sell at affordable prices.
Initially, the name came about from a discussion on the "catch 22", which is the difficulty many artists encounter as they are expected to stick to one chosen form, and therefore cannot produce smaller, more commercial items. Some artists are also bound by their representing galleries and have to stick to a very narrow field of work. Working together under a collective alter ego will allow them the freedom to explore new grounds.
How will the artworks be curated?
By teaming up the right artists and designers, and over time building up a database out of public response.
Is it challenging to represent artwork on the internet?
There is an obvious loss of impact when you think about taking in a piece of art through a scaled down digital photograph – as opposed to right up close, with your own eyes at a gallery. So the challenge to some extent is projecting the online representation of the work in the best way possible. But these shortcomings will never outweigh the incredible reach and many other positive aspects of the online medium.
“Working together under a collective alter ego will allow the artists the freedom to explore new grounds.”
What is the best advice you can give to someone trying to get noticed in the art world these days?
Make use of the channels of promotion available – never before have there been such opportunities to get one’s message across. Sure, the internet is congested and you have to cut through the din of all the others, but if you have something and manage to fly it up a virtual flagpole, then you will get noticed.
If there was one thing you could change about the art world, what would it be?
Probably best not to tinker with something no one fully understands – who knows what the butterfly effect might be!
What are the perks of collective production?
What we consider to be one of the major benefits is the pooling of ideas, knowledge, and skills, as well as what we refer to as the “collective filter”, essentially a more snazzy term for quality control.
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How can artists get involved? Do you have submission policies or specific characteristics that you look for?
Our website is still in development, but channels for contact will be put in place there. Plus, we're of course quite involved in social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It all starts by reaching out – then we'll take it together from there.
What can we expect from 22collectiv in the near future?
Hopefully a steady output of fresh new artwork. For the launch we've put together a broad line of selected works. If that has the desired impact, we'd like to make it so that our followers can expect to see something new roll out every couple of weeks or so. Maybe, in the future, the 22nd day of each month will be marked in red on the world‘s calendars...
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