A graduate in business and a final year media and photography student at Goldsmiths, Sylvie is no regular young mind. Strongly believing that art has become too subjective nowadays, she set up Draper House – a company whose aim is to ‘filter through it and bridge the gap between good art and normal people’.
Draper House has two arms in existence: Draper House Studios and a quarterly showcase. The former is a unit of photographers specialising in different areas, who can be hired for a variety of projects – from lifestyle, advertising and fashion shoots to documentary.
But the second arm is where most of Sylvie’s passion and time is invested. She is spending her days and nights organising the launch set to take place on 6 April. A charming little gallery in Green Park has been booked and five artists from various geographic locations will showcase their work.
All the artwork will be on sale. Different art vendors, gallery managers and fans are attending with a predicted number of 200 visitors for the 4-hour showcase.
…as a showcase attending to all the senses.
“I’m trying to make it different,” Sylvie says. “I don’t want it to be this mundane evening where people come in, grab a glass of champagne, look at some art and bounce.”
Sylvie has hired a Serbian band, which will play instruments from Montenegro to complement the sensual art setting.
“Everything from food to the way we curate the show will have subtle changes. The final product should really differ from other showcases.”
The feedback will allow Sylvie to decide whether it is the right path to take. Yet she wants it to stand out and become a trend – as a showcase attending to all the senses.
“The mission of the showcase is to proliferate artists and artwork. We want to make it accessible not only to the elite, but to a normal person who is able to appreciate good art.”
“‘let’s take this blank canvas with a black dot on it, and maybe a little bit of poop on the side, and call that art.’”
Even if she has spent her last three years mingling in the corridors of Goldsmiths, Sylvie differs from her fellow students in the way she perceives art.
“I don’t think of art as subjective. I think there’s good art and bad art.
“In the 21st century there have been a lot of talented artists coming by, yet there has not been this Renaissance of art culture. Because of that it is easy to just simply say: ‘Hey, let’s take this blank canvas with a black dot on it, and maybe a little bit of poop on the side, and call that art.’”
It almost demoralises artistic expression, she thinks.
“So you need to filter through it and find a way to present it to the society so that people can understand it. That is what Draper House is aiming to do.”
The second event will probably take place in New York, as Sylvie has her eye on a potential location that would suit the mood and style of Draper House.
“The artists that we fuse together are all from different global backgrounds,” Sylvie explains. The aim is not only to put together a worldly group of artists, but also to change its location every time, to reach as many cultures as possible and create a platform for art from all over the world.
…fused together a perfect chromosome twist of a rational hippy.
Sylvie is planning to start a head office in New York within six to eight months, where most of Draper House will be based. Once the office is working fluidly, she is hoping to get a satellite office in London – the centre of the global art scene and innovative culture.
Draper House is a very personal start-up, with everything from its name to the purpose being a reflection of Sylvie’s life.
“My mum is this rational, straight-edge, business-oriented woman who is very concerned about numbers, economy and stocks. And my dad was this kind of a living, breathing tabernacle of a hippy,” Sylvie laughs.
“They fused together a perfect chromosome twist of a rational hippy. And no other combination of two words could describe me any better.
“I grew up in LA; in a house on a street called Draper. It had key pads instead of locks. My mum thought we would lose the keys too often, so it was easier just to memorise the 4-digit code than to look for our keys all the time.
“Somehow all our friends, our friends’ friends, their parents… everyone started knowing this code. So we would come into our house and find three people in the kitchen, four in the living room and a couple in the bedrooms… and it was just a house that was full of people, all the time,” she laughs.
It just brings back warm feelings, this hominess and comfort…
“It became a meeting point before and after dinners, parties and events. Everyone referred to the house as Draper House.
“If you speak to a lot of people in my life, they will know what Draper House is and what it means to me. It just brings back warm feelings, this hominess, collection of memories and comfort… It only felt natural to name the company after that.”
Sylvie says the preparation for the launch is a hectic but really exciting time. All the financing comes from her pocket, so she is hoping to at least break even in the end.
Asked how she manages it all, Sylvie laughs.
“Well, I guess you don’t sleep!”
The opening showcase is 7-11pm at Gallery 27 on Cork Street, Green Park.
Everyone is welcome to join the evening ‘attending to all the senses’.
RSVP to Sylvie at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07814 145 669.