Monday, November 7, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Keeping Up with Colossal’s Christopher Jobson

It has been over two years since we last chatted with Christopher Jobson, the creator and editor-in-chief of the uber-popular blog, Colossal, which exhibits a daily array of art, photography, design, animation. We thought it was high time to revisit the native Chicagoan to see what’s new at Colossal and to get Jobson’s thoughts on how art has evolved with the digital age, his favorite new artists, and more.

Photo: Joe Mazza, New City Design [Source] 
How has Colossal changed in the last two years since we interviewed you in 2014?

Colossal has grown quite a bit in the last two years. We now have two writers with an occasional third contributor in New York. We've moved offices twice and are now based in Ravenswood in a space that accommodates our online retail venture that's doing extremely well.

Since launching Colossal in 2010, how have you seen visual art evolve, especially as we move further into the digital age?

Over the last five years I've seen art evolving in both positive and negative ways. As artists, designers, and other creatives get their hands on new technologies there seems to be an impulse to use the technology for its own sake, but not to tell a story or produce anything meaningful. Sometimes this results in interesting techniques or bits of visual experimentation which are fascinating to see and mention in their own right, but often times it also produces waves of "look what I can do" projects that exist more for clicks and shares, rather than artistic merit.

Luckily, Colossal has a strong non-digital bent, so we mostly cover projects made with people's bare hands. We only dive into digital projects when we think artists are using technology in an innovative or thoughtful way. 

What is the most valuable lesson you've learned from running Colossal?

The most important lesson I've learned has less to do with art and creativity, and more to do with taking a chance on starting a business or embarking on a new career path out of nowhere. Much like myself 6-7 years ago, many people I talk to are caught up in their day-to-day lives with dreams of starting their own business or launching a new career or finding ways of being self-sufficient but are too afraid to take the first step. Perhaps they've failed in the past and are scared to try something else, or they don't know where to start.

The most valuable lesson I've learned is to not procrastinate when you're unhappy but to instead start right now. Immediately. Today. It's hard, scary, and unpredictable, but I wish I had started Colossal years earlier. I already had the skills, I was just too afraid to do anything about it.  

Paco Pomet “Adam’s Office” (2016), oil on canvas, 120 x 160 cm [Source]
Which new artists are currently inspiring you the most and that you hope more people discover?

This list could go on forever. Some artists I've been enjoying a lot lately include Chiharu Shiota, Annie Vought, Paco Pomet, Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė, and Matthew Chambers.

As a fellow Chicagoan, are there any lesser-known places and galleries in the area that you suggest art lovers check out?

These are all very well-known, but my favorite art spots around Chicago are Vertical Gallery, Carrie Secrist, Catherine Edelman, and the Hyde Park Art Center.

Do you collect any artwork?

My wife and I have definitely made the shift from buying 8-10 prints or posters every year at random art events to instead saving for 2-3 original paintings, sculptures, or commissioned works. It's been really exciting to have those kinds of pieces in our home and to establish relationships with artists we love. A single original painting in your home can be more impactful than owning a dozen prints, and I really recommend it.

What's next for Colossal? Are you currently working on any new projects?

We're currently in the middle of a complete rebrand and website redesign that should launch early 2017. Keep an eye out!

Thank you, Christopher! Click here to discover Colossal.

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