“A great artwork tells a story, makes a statement or can make you think. It can move you.”
UP & COMING ART is a new digital gallery dedicated to unique and contemporary pieces from emerging names. With a focus on visual storytelling, it aims to make art accessible whilst championing the next generation of creative talent. Aesthetica speaks to the platform about launching in lockdown and curating in the digital space, highlighting dreamlike images by Helsinki-based photographer Dasha Pears.
A: UP & COMING ART launched during the first lockdown. Why did you choose to open online in April 2020?
The simple answer is, the time was right. UP & COMING ART was already in the making and, because we work with a close knit and remote team, the lockdown didn’t affect us directly. It actually speeded things up, because we also saw an opportunity. Now that most people are working from home, they want to decorate their new “home office”. If you work at home, you don’t want to look at an empty wall, and a work of art can be a well needed distraction from that spreadsheet you’ve been looking at for the last hour or so. That’s why we wanted to go live as soon as possible. We managed to get everything ready ahead of schedule and launched April 2020.
A: What types of artwork do you feature on UP & COMING ART?
Everything, really. Our collection currently includes paintings, prints, mixed media, photography and sculptures. Photography is really booming at the moment thanks to artists such as Dasha Pears, Ugne Pouwell and David Degelin.
We’re also proud of the fact that we can offer artworks at a wide range of prices. We feel that you shouldn’t need a six-figure income to start collecting art. Our collection currently ranges from €200 to €10,000 and up, allowing collectors – no matter the size of their wallet – to add great pieces to their private collection.
A: How do you select the creatives we see on the platform?
Selecting the artworks comes second, actually. We first look at the artist. We get dozens of applications from up and coming talent, allowing us to really look for the “cherries on top.” What’s most important when selecting new artists is not only their professionalism or the quality or style of their work, but the message or story of their creations. Art is more than just something pretty you hang on the wall. A great artwork tells a story, makes a statement or can make you think. It can move you: make you sad, happy, angry or warm. That is what we look for.
A: Featured here are images by Dasha Pears. Can you tell us a bit about the artist and her work?
Of course! Dasha Pears is one of the fine art photographers that we represent on UP & COMING ART. We’re happy we’re able to do so. Her work is simply extraordinary. Dasha is a self-taught photographer, originally from Russia, who now lives in Helsinki, Finland. She is capable of telling a whole story with a single shot. When you first look at her work you will see great attention to detail, lighting and composition. But when you look deeper, you start to understand that there is a lot more to her photographs than meets the eye.
Envy is one of her photographs currently displayed on UP & COMING. At first glance, you see a beautiful and intriguing image of women surrounded by clouds. But when you start to look deeper, you understand Dasha’s intentions. The photograph is about one of the seven deadly sins, envy. It’s not just about the negative part of it – how it can cloud your judgment and close your eyes. It’s also about how envy can be a motivating force, something that helps you to strive for new goals and accomplishments. In other words, how it can open your eyes. When you learn that story and take another look, it creates a whole new experience.
A: How does UP & COMING ART tap into key contemporary conversations, and the issues facing society today?
We do so via our Stories department. It’s our way of sharing what goes on in the art world. We cover a wide range of topics, from explaining the basics of collecting art to in-depth interviews with artists and others active in the art world and how their work is making an impact. To give some examples, we recently did an interview with Dasha Pears, learning more about the time, energy and thought that goes into her amazing photography. We’ve also done an interview with Julita Malinowska, one of our painters, on how art was making an impact during the women’s rights protest in Poland last year. Another recent story we published, and one of my personal favourites, is about Sara Barackzay, the first female illustrator from Afghanistan.
A: What are your plans for the future?
To continue to build on the experience our collectors are getting. We’re already really pleased with the way we are exhibiting our collection. The next step will be towards making it even more interactive. We currently offer a feature that allows collectors to upload a photograph of their room in which to digitally place the artwork. We want to take this concept and keep improving it, with the goal to make it even easier to experience a work of art before a collector purchases it.
We’re currently researching dynamic art. Wouldn’t it be amazing if your painting of the Empire State Building actually changes based on the weather in NYC? Or the sun setting over your landscape based on the time of day? This might sound like an idea from Harry Potter, but thanks to modern technology it could become a reality in the near future.
Find out more here.
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All images by Dasha Pears.
2. Head in the Clouds