Jason E.C. Wright
Curator, The Vanishing Gallerie
Jason E.C. Wright
Curator, The Vanishing Gallerie
What do you do?
(n.) a person who manages, administers or organizes a collection, either independently or employed by a museum, library or archive.
From the old French 'curateur', from the source 'cure': to relieve a person of the symptoms of a condition
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I am senior curator + owner of the vanishing gallerie. I organize creative works, products, persons + environments with the intention of inspiring awe; not just in the audience, but in the creatives behind the works themselves.
My passion is to show others how incredible their talents are + create an organized, well presented platform for creatives + their works to be celebrated.
Thusly, I arrived at my core ethos: to inspire awe in + through creative persons + their works.
What steps did you take to get where you are now?
My background began in retail; I graduated with a degree in Fashion Merchandising, where I began to put my love of dioramas + art museums from my youth to work in creating expressive window displays + floor layouts for retail stores. At first, my goal was simple + singular: I just wanted to design Ralph Lauren windows for the rest of my life *laughs*. I also had aspirations of owning + operating my own boutique.
But through retail management experience, I discovered my passion for teaching + cultivating talent, developing people + giving them the tools necessary to realize their aspirations. Once I graduated to being a buyer + helping open independent retail stores, I discovered my talent for curation + visual storytelling based on desired impact, colour stories, demographic, + overall brand identity.
It was at this point that I realized my love for art museums + high esteem for gallery curators could be something that my talents could channel into supporting + exalting artistic friends, whom all had amazing talent but were disdained by the constant rejections from galleries + exhibitions, with their works simply gathering dust in their corners + digital folders.
So I decided to show them: what would You show if it was Your show? Not what you think highly regulated art snobs might accept, but what do You want to show the world? Because I believed that once they could see their works shown in an elegant, highly curated manner, they would have confidence to do much more independently. Also, these showings would give them leverage: a reference to show other galleries that they are Already a big deal. So I began doing pop-up exhibitions in various locations for these creative artisans.
And not just visual artists: fashion designers, photographers, filmmakers, illustrators, the list goes on. If I am moved by a persons creative works + vision, I do my best to connect resources + create the most accurate, genuine portrayal of their vision. Uncompromised.
It is the most terrifying fun for all involved. I love it.
For other people in your field, what do they usually lack?
For most creatives, I believe what we all lack + long for most is just that: belief.
We all want someone to genuinely Believe in us. Not to simply invest (though financial backing is important), not to simply 'say' it, but to truly, genuinely, Believe in who we are, what we are doing, what we stand for. And to Show that belief, in action, not just passively.
It's in the little things: Listening intently for understanding, not for judgement. Contributing ideas on how to make one idea even greater. Connecting resources to make things come together. Advocating on behalf of the creative. But most of all, just being there, always having something positive + uplifting to say.
This is what I strive to provide to those I present: If I am impacted by your works, it is because there is something in it that I sincerely, deeply, resonantly connect with + genuinely Believe in. Because at that point, I can see where + how these works are Important. Important to the world. Important to people, that will be impacted the same way I did.
And any time those frequencies line up? Magic happens. Pure, Magic. I just hope to be a sorcerer, a conduit to help bring it about so that others can feel it as well.
What are you working on right now?
Presently I am continuing + refining The Adult Field Trip Initiative: gathering groups of creatives from all backgrounds for outings to museums, cultural events + experiences that they may not normally make time for. I plan out the logistics, costs + itineraries, then post them to the site. Moving forward, I am crafting sponsorship packages so that we can offer regular limited-number groups opportunities to experience these outings, free of charge. So that is quite exciting.
I am also finalizing the content + products to be sold through The Vanishing Gallerie Emporium, our 'museum store' if you will. The most fun part of this is selecting what to sell, connecting with sales reps + generating an appropriate open-to-buy budget.
For 2016, we will be doing monthly virtual galleries + artists spotlights, quarterly physical exhibitions, + selling artworks year round. Lots of traveling to come. Quite excited for it all.
We are all Slashies with multiple skills, which one do you wish you could do more often?
I intend to develop my technical skills further in the design realm, specifically though digital design programs such as Illustrator + other new CAD programs.
This will not only assist in crafting works of my own, but also specifying layouts for exhibitions + assisting creatives in realizing their visions as well.
What is frustrating you right now?
The most trying part of creating exhibitions around artists is the financial element. Securing interested sponsors or patrons to fund the heavy costs of venue rentals, production, curation, lighting, fabrications, PR, staffing, + more is very key in the success of a show coming together exactly as the artist envisions. This is where for those artists that Do have backing, I am able to organize, curate + make the best, most efficient use of their budget + complete the exhibition under budget. But for those that do not have backing or connections, being connected to such financial resources is the greatest hole that I am continually seeking to fulfill.
The second hurdle is connecting with actual Buyers of art. Because regardless how great the exhibition is, the end goal is to create commerce + revenue for the artist as well as the broker (who, more often than not, is me as well, in addition to curation + project management). So attending art talks, lectures, other high-art gallery openings, seeking out those collectors that are always looking for new artists can be a challenge as well. It's a constant search.
What task keeps landing at the bottom of the To Do list?
Making personal time to maintain a healthy work-life balance. *laughs*
I am indeed doing much better at it. I have internal 'office hours' that I respond to all correspondences within. I make time to mix play with work wherever it makes sense, responsibly. But I could stand to learn how to actually take a vacation + just... vacate.
Work in progress.
If you could hire someone for $20/hour, what would you have them do to make your day easier?
I would definitely put a good PR person to use, especially with resources in the art world + publications. Those that have good rapport with other gallery owners, art magazine editors + columnists, independent art bloggers, and most importantly, art buyers + collectors. This would all be immensely helpful for each exhibition, as well as garnering attention for any creative retail pop-up experiences.
I could also effectively utilize a solid sales/marketing person for connecting + securing corporate sponsorship dollars. This would help not only in the production of the exhibitions, but also with The Adult Field Trip Initiative + any creative retail installations as a presenting sponsor.
Let's bring out the time machine. What do you wish you could have told yourself, when, and why?
If I could set a karmic timer to pop in on myself at every moment of doubt, crushing defeat, or second guess I've had over the years since I left corporate america + began working as an independent, I would annoyingly leave myself little random, neatly placed sticky notes saying:
'You've Got This.'
'Look For The Lesson in This.'
'It All Works Out Great In The End. Trust Me.'
'Keep. Going. You Have No Idea How Close You Are.'
If you could talk to an expert to gain more insight on something, what would it be about?
I would love to talk to Simon Sinek about... Everything. Just total brain mining.
But specifically, understanding how to better understand your 'why', continually refining it down, revisiting it, + how that can be mapped + shared with others as inspiration to do the same.
What kind of opportunities/projects are you looking for?
I am looking for creative artists (photographers, painters, designers, illustrators) who have pre-existing budgets/access to resources to present their works... but are not sure How to present them, + need an organized, curated protocol + plan for presentation. (this includes curation, logistics, installation, light direction, venue booking, project + event management).
I am delighted to provide works for individual curation/creative development projects on an hourly/package rate basis.
-For Fashion Designers: creative direction + brand development for (from business registration to collection development + production advisement)
-For Artists/Photographers/Illustrators: organization of collections into clear stories, drafting of budgets for expense tracking, + resources for printing, framing.
I am also excited to discover creators of unique, artfully crafted products to potentially sell through The Vanishing Gallerie Emporium, online.
What is your ideal client?
My ideal client is genuine, honest, respectfully principled, + communicative. All I ask for is a passionate ideal, honesty about existing resources as well as grandiose visions (which are the best kind!), respectful of my time + their own, + keep open lines of consistent communication.
Give me these things, + I will go out to find out how to bring you the moon.
Do you allow yourself to say No?
Absolutely. It is quite simple really:
-any project that is simply about 'making money'. No thank you. I require a grander purpose + impact to keep us both driven.
-disrespect, non-communication, rudeness to others, lack of professionalism. Major red flags. I hold myself to a very high decorum of communication, professionalism, + warm, appreciative treatment of others; we have to match on this.
-dishonesty. I will not hesitate to walk away from any project where lies exist, be it to me, to another person... or to yourself. I respectfully appreciate my light + my talents too much to taint them.
Beyond that, bring me your disorganization, your fears, your doubts, your joys, your hopes, your dreams, + give me the honor of giving You, back to yourself, fully assembled in vision.
What is your rate?
My base, hourly rate for projects is 150 USD/hr. I offer packages at weekly, monthly + quarterly rates that competitively thin this rate out, fairly.
For projects + exhibition curations, my base begins at 1500 USD/project.
I work with any budget, + will do my absolute best quality of work within whatever rate can be afforded. The goal is to get you to a solution, not for you to go broke paying me. All about mutual benefit + higher progression.
How should someone approach you about working together?
Knowing 'what; the project is, as simply is possible (140 characters is a greatest for narrowing the 'what' down) is always helpful to begin.
[An attachment of link to a website or social media is incredibly helpful additional well.]
After that though, what really pulls me in is your 'why': Why is this important to you? Why can't you sleep until this is done? Why do you feel called to bring this to life? Feel free to bleed your heart here; should I take on the project, this is what will fuel us both.
In closing, an honest assessment of your existing budget + resources (personal or pre-existingly secured), followed any potential leads that could be secured with a solid plan.
Lastly, best form of contact for you + preferred hours (I'm very respectful of people's personal schedules). Thats it!
This member profile was originally published in October 2015.