As we launch our new series of curated collabs under the name ‘Darklight&’, we talk to our first guest curator: The Art Hang’s, Samantha Picard. Samantha has selected a handful of exclusive works by a selection of incredible female artists in celebration of Women’s History Month that will be available to buy on Darklight Art from 08.03.21
TELL US ABOUT THE ART HANG & HOW IT BEGAN.
Launched in 2020, The Art Hang is a female-led platform focusing on art collaborations, curations, and partnerships. Working with women artists and creators like Jess Cochrane, Kate Dunn, and POLLENET, The Art Hang aims is to champion the power of the female creator in a patriarchal art world. The beginning of The Art Hangs journey starts a year ago after leaving my last Arts Communications job. I was incredibly restless – I did all the banana bread making, obsessive news scrolling, and Animal Crossing playing a gal could take.
I spoke with recruiters who said that my earliest shot of getting an interview was early July, and as someone who has to constantly keep busy that was just a dreadful thought. I needed a new project to keep me sane. A few girls and I launched a Covid relief initiative on Instagram which was met with resounding success and fuelled my drive to pursue my dream of a female-led Instagram-based art platform, which has evolved into this beautiful little community of women supporting women in the arts, and helping promote female creativity through incredible collaborations and curations like this one!
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF FEMALE-RUN ART SPACES?
It’s as simple as this – why are 51% of visual artists female, and 65-75% of students in MFA programs female, yet only 31% of artists displayed in London’s commercial galleries female? It’s underrepresentation, and galleries sticking to the tropes of the outdated art history canon for far too long.
On one end of the spectrum, we desperately need more female-led art platforms to showcase really amazing female artists who are getting overlooked by more established [and male-led] spaces. On the flip side it’s also so important to foster this dope female community of art lovers who become women collectors, because at the heart of it, people collect art that speaks to them on a visceral level. It truly is an entire ecosystem that needs support in order to balance out centuries-old patriarchal standards.
It’s important to foster this dope female community of art lovers
WHAT MAKES A GOOD ARTIST COLLAB TO YOU?
Honestly what I look for in a good collaboration is what I look for in a boyfriend [ha!] – good communication, mutual respect, complimentary skillsets, HAVING FUN, and most importantly having the same vision to build something beautiful together! If any of these are out of sync, it’s impossible to reach the full potential.
TELL US ABOUT THE PIECES YOU SELECTED FOR DARKLIGHT&
It’s been a really intense year full of contradictions happening simultaneously – extreme change and banality, collective perseverance and isolation, rediscovering oneself and losing a sense of identity. We can’t talk about one aspect of the pandemic without the other, and I really wanted these six works to reflect that. I wanted them to be both inspiring and uplifting during these very anxiety-inducing times.
For instance, the way Natalie Christensen’s prints transform banal scenes of life into visceral geometrical colourscapes really resonates with me, especially after a year [wow] of going on the same walks, experiencing the same sites and smells, and spending so much more time in my local surroundings with such little change. Denisse Ariana Pérez’s prints exude tenderness and intimacy, two feelings very much yearned for during the pandemic, when social distancing prohibits many of us from creating deeper connections with new people, and maintaining the tenderness we have with friends far away. Iggy Small’s prints provide both escapism and reflection, making reality appear as something from a grown-up version of one’s fairytale fantasy. While ‘Salt’ and ‘House in Torås’ are both very different in composition and nature, they both invoke this childlike imagination within me.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PROJECT YOU HAVE WORKED ON TO-DATE?
Definitely when we worked with Kanrik Gallery to showcase works by emerging female artists Jess Cochrane and Kate Dunn as part of their curation for business members club 12 Hay Hill, which will hopefully be re-opened soon again post lockdown. It really showed me how important art is in non-gallery spaces, and highlights our mission of championing female creativity through strategic collaborations, and overall was such a blast to work with all of the above. I definitely want to do more curations of members clubs, coworking spaces, and hospitality ventures in the future.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST RIGHT NOW?
My favorite artist right now has to be Jess Cochrane, who we both have the pleasure of working with [and have already mentioned like a million times in this interview]. Basically, every interview I do is an ode to Jess! JK. But first and foremost: I love her work from an aesthetic point of view. She is an incredible photographer in her own right, and then she transforms her images by painting over them and creating utter masterpieces of these empowering female figures. I’ve struggled with body image and self-esteem for as long as I can remember and am fully aware that probably stems from societal consumerism and pop culture [I was obsessed with Barbie Dolls until I was 12 HELLO], and the way Jess understand this, and then articulates this insecurity through her work and flips it on its ugly head to convey female empowerment, is something that speaks volumes to me. She’s also super fun to work with and such a ray of sunshine, which also helps!
DARK SIDE OR LIGHT SIDE?
As I’m from New York, dark Side 100% in wardrobe, but light side with mentality!