Cultured Magazine

Spring 2014

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86 CULTURED Fashion and art are inseparable these days. This sea- son alone has seen art-inspired runway collections (Prada), art-print accessories (Alexander McQueen) and collaborative labels (Raf Simons/Sterling Ruby). FolioCue.com, a new website from artist (and Vogue staffer) Jamie Knowles, uses fashion to make the art world more approachable by offering up looks inspired by works of art. Here, we talk to Knowles about his latest endeavor, the studio experience and style ast personal statement. Why and when did you start FolioCue? I started working on FolioCue in January 2013, although the idea had been bouncing around my head for a few years. At the time we launched, I was still working at Sotheby's as their global brand manager for their VIP loyalty program, which afforded me amazing opportunities to learn about the challenges and pitfalls of the art world going digital. Tell us more about the platform. Our platform provides the public an easily digestible overview—what I like to call "a catalogue raisonné-light"— of leading artists' careers alongside a few interesting facts. We then created a curated, shoppable style guide based on the themes and visual language of the artist's work. Every Monday at noon, an email announces a new featured artist, plus an inspired style guide of products and clothing. This concentrated art content is meant to be a workday reprieve and enjoyed within a few minutes during a lunch break. How did you come up with this new concept? It's actually based on my university experience at Davidson College. Studio art majors had an oral review, where they had to describe the evolution of a few hundred artists' careers. It was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and connect with other majors in the library stacks. There is no online resource—as far as I am aware—that gives an overview of an artist's career, showcasing key moments in the early, middle and late stages. So we had to do all of our research from old folios. When I started thinking about business ideas, I went back to this experience and wanted to address both the lack of art information online and the shared experience of discovering art with others. Tell me about the play on words of the name. Apparently, the pronunciation confuses people, so I love this question. The name is a combination of portfolio, queue, and cue. The name FolioCue is a play on the words to sug- gest there is a line of upcoming artists to discover. How do you balance your focus between art and fashion, the industry you're working in? I moved to New York to make art, so that's what keeps me going day-to-day. I suppose you can say art is my main calling. Right now, I'm more jazzed about the idea of helping other artists, though via FolioCue. Fashion plays a big role in my life, personally and pro- fessionally. Whereas some people get blinded by Fashion (with a capital F), I'm more interested in style and what you can do with particular pieces from a designer's collection to make a look or personal statement. This is so much more captivating and powerful. What motivates you most about art and fashion? At the end of the day, both industries are chock-full of in- credibly talented free-spirits who keep pushing our culture forward. Fashion and art are designed to get people thinking about themselves, where the world has been and where we are going. What attracts you to an artist to feature on FolioCue? We have a basic criteria. In general, though, we are looking for someone who has been showing and has completed a few artist residencies as a minimum. We're looking to fea- ture someone who has been collected by a few institu- tions—Sue de Beer, for example—or someone who is about to break onto the scene, such as the amazing German photographer Bastian Gehbauer. Do you focus on a certain kind of art? We're fairly egalitarian. We have not featured video or per- formance art yet. But that's in the pipeline. How do you envision the growth of FolioCue? We're rolling out a number of partnerships in the next few weeks and months that will extend our reach among our tar- get audience, including the American Friends of the Louvre, some art fairs and retailers. We'll also start rolling out new features that make the site more engagement-friendly, where visitors will have the opportunity to contribute to the conver- sation we're creating. So every week you profile an artist, and you do a style edit. Which part of the process do you like most? I love being reminded of the artist's work, so it's always a pleasure to see and experience artwork, even if it's some- one I know quite well. The style guide is a nice addition to take the artist experience in a different direction. We've received such incredible feedback from the artists, regarding the style guide section, which really goes to show that we're doing something integrated and in-line with the artists' vision for how their work is interpreted. That's the real reward. What are some of FolioCue's upcoming projects? We will be partnering with Soludos—the espadrilles com- pany—in April around Paris Photo Los Angeles; Tesla Motors during Frieze Art Fair New York; American Friends of the Lou- vre in early May; as well as some other institutional and art fair projects, such as Amanda Hearst and Hassan Pierre's Maison de Mode/Ethical Pop-Up during Art Dubai. What's your ultimate goal for FolioCue this year? That we become a household name—for major metro re- gions, at least.

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