There isn’t enough funding for the arts. Fact. Conventional methods are incredibly difficult to get hold of, with certain conditions to be satisfied, so some have turned to crowdfunding methods to fund art projects. One such funding is Art Map, a website that maps the art openings and exhibitions across London to encourage people – especially young people who don’t have a lot to spend – to explore the arts for free and visit small independent galleries. I sat down with Jenny Judova, founder of Art Map, to discuss why she’s turned to Kickstarter for her latest campaign and the event she’s running next week to launch her project.
You’ve organised a panel about art projects on Kickstarter – what can art projects benefit from crowdfunding initiatives like Kickstarter, as opposed to more conventional means of funding?
I don’t think crowdfunding should be seen as a replacement to conventional funding opportunity. It should be seen as one of many funding opportunities. There are projects that will be funded by Art Council but that will get no attention on Kicktarter, and there are loads of projects that will do great on Kickstarter but fail when asking for governmental funding. So if you do want to ask for crowdfunding first think if that is really the path for you, and why you are doing this because let me assure you crowdfunding is NOT a lazy way out.
Having said this crowdfunding does have some qualities that trump the conventional bursaries or government funding. The first is that you don’t have to wait around for the result, you can track your progress and if you notice you are failing you can intervene or start thinking of an exit strategy. Either way I love the immediacy. Another benefit of crowdfunding is that it gives you the whole sum you asked for bursaries and Art Council will only give a portion of the money (you have to provide at least 10% of the necessary funds).
Crowdfunding is a great addition to conventional funding but should not be seen as a replacement, neither should it be viewed as an ‘easy’ or ‘fast’ way to funding rather a different one. So many fail by making trivial mistakes.
What do you think overall about funding in art – is there enough, and what can we all do to support art more?
God no, there is not nearly enough funding and it’s felt on all levels – from art students all the way up to massive institutions. There is only one thing that can be done to support art – to buy it. Buy more art.
People have this really weird prejudice that art costs millions which is bollocks! So next time you feel that you want to buy a tacky Monet or Van Gogh reproduction why not check with Art Map if you can buy an art work instead. For example during the Kickstarter campaign Gary Russell’s print ‘Bjork is a Cat’ will be available £20, and it’s more likely to be an investment than a cheesy reproduction. A good example of this is Miriam Elia’s ‘We Go to the Gallery’, which sold for £20 on Kickstarter and now it resells for £1000 on Ebay.
Why did you invite these particular artists to speak at your panel? What are you hoping to discuss?
The panellists are a mixture of artists and creative businesses. Miriam Elia and Lucy Sparrow are artists, Ziferblat is a wildly successful hang out spot, and Art I Curate is an online social platform where anyone can curate a collection. All of these projects have experienced Kickstarter, because they have done it I see them as qualified to talk about making a Kickstarter campaign. Lucy, Miriam, and Art I Curate had successful campaigns; Ziferblat, on the other hand, failed to raise the money. I wanted to have at least one unsuccessful project because I strongly believe that failure gives a brilliant learning opportunity. More importantly Ziferblat is doing very well and its important to see that even if you do not get the funding life still goes on.
As this will be the first panel discussion (that I know of) that looks at art projects and crowdfunding I want it to be very broad and discuss everything from ‘what projects can benefit from crowdfunding’ to ‘how long did it take to put together the project’, to ‘what did you learn, and what would you do differently’
Tell us a bit about Monster – what drew you to connect your event with this exhibition?
Monster is an exhibition that will feature four of the six artists involved in the Art Map London Kickstarter: Cassandra Yap, Gary Russell, Lara Thomson and Adam Slatter; it will be curated by Gary Russell.
The idea for it came when we started planning the panel discussion. Gary was playing around with an idea of an exhibition to coincide with the Kickstarter campaign and when we started planning the launch, we found out Ziferblat does not allow alcohol, so we thought it would be nice to celebrate the launch and the panel discussion in a local bar Full Stop. Full Stop is known for holding exhibitions and they had a gap in June so we seized the opportunity.
As for the name ‘Monster’ the reason is twofold. The first is that the four artists play around with monsters, and signifiers of monstrosity in their images. Gary’s work can be very creepy, Lara’s monsters are always happy, Cassandra’s imagery can be dark and erotically charged, Adam’s can be as bizarre as children’s rhymes. The second reason is that the word ‘monster’ originally translated as ‘to show’ and ‘to demonstrate’ and this exhibition at Full Stop demonstrates what Art Map is about. It’s about showing great art can be found anywhere – in a museum, in a gallery in a railway arch and in a bar.
Why did you choose Kickstarter to fund Art Map’s new website?
I choose crowdfunding because I wanted to engage with the community and see how people react to Art Map and what they think, to hear the feedback and to know if I need to change something or am on the right track. Out of all the platforms I chose Kickstarter because I have been a fan for four years, I have seen many projects, I have even backed some of them, and I thought that this experience as a user would help me with the campaign.
What’s the aim of the Kickstarter?
It’s a broadening of the site. Art Map outgrew the current website, so the new website will keep the map and the event list and it will also have added features such as a photo dairy – with private view photographs that galleries will be able to send in. A list of galleries in London with information about the artists they represent, and the average cost of the works they sell, making it easier to buy art. I also want to have an accessibility map that will show places with wheelchair access.