One of the more challenging aspects to being a full-time artist is essentially that: doing it full-time. The vast majority of artists trying to live out their dreams can tell you they never attempted a career at it thinking it would make them rich overnight, but many soon realize the never-ending struggle to produce work and sell it on a regular basis, and often work alone trying to succeed. However, there is an alternative in SLC that's been working out nicely for a select few, with the work coming out of PasteUp. The website features a small pool of talent posting new work and offering it at a reasonable price, with all profits going directly to the artist themselves, both promoting their work to the masses and helping them sell their works without a middle-man taking a cut. Today we chat with the founder and leading artist behind the website, Monique Gowie, to talk about her own art career and the artwork coming out of PasteUp. (All pictures courtesy of PasteUp.
Gavin: Hey Monique, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Jamaica so not really native to SLC. Over the years SLC has became my home. From the beautiful mountains to the spiral jetty. SLC has really become an important part of my artistic roots as well as the Jamaican culture.
Gavin: What first got you interested in art and what were some early influences on you?
Before I got into the drawing and painting side of art, fashion design was my strong point specifically sculpting life like human busks. Easing out of that, my “nerd side” kinda took over as an adult as I got more and more into digital works and using programs such as Z Brush, Adobe Suite and concept art programs. Today mostly I’m on my stylus creating digital paintings weather fantasy worlds, people and landscapes or band album covers. No territory is of limits for my brain.
Gavin: Did you have any formal training or college behind you or were you mainly self-taught?
For school I went to the [SLCC] Fashion Institute downtown, I spent a great deal of time studying design. I really thought I would enjoy that world. But he scene is not my place. Independent design still has a small spot in my heart.
Gavin: What was it like for you breaking into the local art scene and taking part in exhibitions?
Hell. Well, not quite, just the money. It is almost impossible to be a independent artist these days only doing art to make ends meet. Even if you have a degree in it, its almost a waste. That's the whole point of PasteUp. To help artists with a platform defying those standards.
Gavin: How did the idea for PasteUp come about?
Before PasteUp, there was BrainFungus, same idea/concept just a different name. BrainFungus really represented the backwards thinking of society throwing away all creative skills for more business minded one. I wanted to merge them both for the best possible outcome.
Gavin: What was it like for you putting the website together and formulating the plan for artists?
Putting the website together was a pain to say the least, creating a website that caters to that vision is no easy task. Planning the way artists used our services came very easy actually. Once an ideal vision was established of course.
Gavin: For those who may not understand the system, how does it work for an artist to get their work out and get paid through PasteUp?
First things first. Log into the website, when you create you account be sure to click the "I Am A Seller" button before clicking submit. Once your in, you have a fully mapped dashboard, where you can change your shop banner, upload a product, see all your ratings by other sellers, get stats on how many product views and more. PasteUp is free to log on load and share. It is not only till after you have made a sale that 10% is deducted.
Gavin: What was it like starting out and finding new talent to add to the roster?
Surprising easy, we did a few banner posters in coffee shops around the valley, Craigslist, KSL classifieds and of course word of mouth. Under the name BrainFungus, when we first started a year ago artists came pouring in.
Gavin: How did the first year of business go for you and what were some of the lessons you learned along the way?
Never, ever argue your vision. There will be critics, but what a successful company without its critics. When I say company I am speaking to more of a collective. We want pastups.org to thrive as a place where artists can get together and expand there visual knowledge of other artists and there art. Discuss others art and share.
Gavin: When you're looking for an artist to add to the lineup, what do you generally look for in their work?
Usually, how prepared they are for immediate sale. With our system now we have no choose really who loads there work. But we hope to see people that take there craft seriously. And make time to fine tune every detail ready for show and sale. There is a difference between a huge under painting and the finish oil.
Gavin: Who do you currently have producing work for PasteUp and what kind of art are they producing?
We have just released the new site. Currently we invite you, and any artist you know to set up shop and populate the site. The more artists on the website, the more the collective community grows.
Gavin: If there's an artist out there interested in joining, what do the need to do?
Visit us at our Facebook
, We are very excited to see your work!
Gavin: What can we expect from you and PasteUp over the rest of the year?
You can expect seeing me working hard, helping artist through a platform gauged for them. Defying the standard, and showing the world why creativity matters. For both mental development and economic development.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
Right now its all about getting artists on the site, it is in its beta phase so yes, there may be small quirks here and there. But the more the site is populated the more those will be resolved. Where here to aid you, art is more than just a middle school elective. Its time its taken more seriously by the public eye.