DEBUTING, CREATIVE DEBUTS. CO-FOUNDER CALUM ON PUTTING ARTISTS FIRST.

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Under the watchful eye of one Maggie Thatcher the Arts were subject to massive cuts and instrumentalism in the arts was pioneered, piggybacking on the capitalist trade and economic gains for the government. The balance of power was given to the consumer over the artist. This instrumentalism devalued the purpose of arts for many creators, but slowly over the last 20 years we’ve seen a rebalancing of the power. Returning once more to where it belongs, firmly with the producer! 

 

One such duo who are determined to continue giving the power to the artists is Alex and Calum at Creative Debuts. Providing a free platform for artists to showcase their art and let the consumers come to them,  breaking down the barriers and allowing more creators to spend their time doing the thing they should be, making damn good art. It’s the sort of idea that most artists once they hear about it, wonder how on earth it wasn’t already a thing. We had a chat with them to find out more about how the idea was born and what they’ve got up their sleeves. 


(CALUM + ALEX)

 

Creative Debuts. Tell us about the idea and how it was born? 

As emerging artists and curators ourselves, Alex and I were frustrated with the lack of opportunities and the constant brick walls that faced us when navigating our way through life as young creatives. Born out of this frustration, Creative Debuts seeks to tackle these hurdles by providing a free platform for artists and designers and shining a light on all the amazingly talented creatives that may otherwise go under the radar. With any online business it’s super important to have a strong physical presence, so exhibitions and events have always been a cornerstone of what we are about.


 

As artists ourselves at Art Week we’re big fans, but what has the response been like from the rest of art community? 

Thank you! You know what, we don’t really hear much. I’m not sure whether it’s because we are so focused on what we are doing that we kind of have our blinkers on. There is also the issue that as we are so embryonic ourselves we haven’t quite made big enough waves yet. However just wait for 2017, it’s going to be a big year for us. I do think that when people hear our story and what we are trying to achieve people will wonder why something like Creative Debuts doesn’t already exist. It’s so important that there is a company that puts artists first.

 

Can you talk us through the how it works for any artists out there thinking ‘hmm, this sounds like a dandy idea’?

It’s super simple and completely free to get involved. We are hell bent on making art more accessible so there are no barriers for artists. We then use the portfolios to curate all of our shows and shout about the artist across our social media.

 

So this kind of openness and inclusiveness must mean you’ve got a varied catalogue of artists making an incredible selection of works! How does one go about getting some it?

It’s all about the artist’s portfolio. This is where they can list work as for sale, for rent or for their portfolio. Once the artwork is exhibited in a space, it is accompanied with a label with all their information and how to find the artist and the artwork on Creative Debuts.

 

A big part of what you’re about is physical exhibitions, tell us more about how that works and where your favourite exhibit to date has been? 

We host regular exhibitions as part of Whitechapel Gallery’s First Thursday. We have hosted 23 in a row now which is quite crazy. Each exhibition is totally different and promotes a wide range of mediums and styles from our platform. Some of these exhibitions are collaborations with art collectives or specific to universities. It’s really important to us to champion as many different artists from as many different  backgrounds as possible. The First Thursday exhibitions are a little unconventional, we have DJs, our famous ‘Doodle Table’ and have collaborated with Porters Gin so our bar offering is second to none. We also celebrate the artwork involved in our unique rotating rental scheme with launch events. Every 3 months the artwork changes so we collaborate with the space to host a private view for their guests and ours.

 

We’re nearing the end of 2016 (although I’m sure most are probably glad to see it go by now) but what have you guys got lined up for next year? Anything we should be watching out for? 

We are super excited for 2017. As Alex and I only became full time in April 2016 after 2 years of being professional plate spinners. The thought of having a full year being only focused on Creative Debuts is what we used to dream of. Arguably the biggest and most exciting thing to keep an eye out for is our brand new website which we are currently developing. We have learnt a lot of lessons from our current one, which was launched when we had 30 artists, we now have over 2,500 from all over the world so it’s now time to take Creative Debuts to the next level. Following on from the amazing success of #ArtForTheUnderground where we exhibited artwork on the London Underground, we are looking to launch an even more exciting competition for our artists. 2016 we were cutting our teeth and getting the foundations in place. 2017 is going to be special.

FOR MORE INFO OR TO SIGN UP VISIT www.creativedebuts.co.uk

INTERVIEW by HANNAH SMITH

Comments

This is great to hear! Need more young people mixing the stuffy old art world up a bit. Well done chaps
- Dean Parker (not verified) - 1 year ago.