Pattern Pulp

Interview: Kate Singleton of Art Hound

So many of us are at a stage of our lives where we’re ready to embrace art. Not the printed-poster kind of art from college, but truly unique pieces that individualize a home and make it special. That being said, everyone’s got a budget in mind. Whether you’re replacing an old piece, filling a blank slate, or compromising with a loved one, there are times when outside resources get the job done faster/better/cheaper. That’s where Kate Singleton of the recently launched, Art Hound comes along. Singleton went live four months ago, after leaving the corporate strategy world behind to merge two passions: discovering new art and exposing people to creativity. Follow along as Singleton talks about the biz, shares trend insights and explains where the online art market is headed over the next few years.

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PP: First off, congrats on launching the new biz! What inspired you to take the leap and what advice can you impart being a new business owner?

KS: Thank you! I’d been passionate about independent art for a number of years before starting Art Hound, but it wasn’t until last summer when I got married and had some time off that I officially switched careers. I realized it had been a long time since I’d let myself be creative, and I felt it was high time for a change. More than anything I was inspired by the art and art markets I discovered online including Nahcotta’s Enormous Tiny Art, Little Paper Planes and Etsy.

My advice for new business owners is that you must always be looking forward not backwards. Successful businesses anticipate big changes before they happen and steer their businesses accordingly.

PP: Typically we interview the artists, we’re flipping things a bit here. What’s your most important interview question when working with a new client and deciding what art best suits them? Are there any disputes when it comes to couples and roommates?

KS: My two favorite questions when working with clients are  “What kind of art drives you crazy?” and “What do you want your art to say about you and your home?” Sometimes what people don’t like tells you way more than what they do like. And as for the second question, if you’re planning to buy art you need to consider how the art will add to your home and the message it will send.

Art is very personal and emotional. If you’re buying art with a partner it’s important to take each others opinions seriously and maintain boundaries. You might not agree on every piece, but that shouldn’t stop you from collecting. Maybe you enjoy certain pieces a bit more than the other and that’s OK.

PP: What creative sources do you tap for inspiration and how hard is it to physically get your recommended art solutions into someone’s home? Do you oversee framing and installation as well?

KS: A good portion of my time is spent perusing art via artist portfolio sites and blogs, gallery websites, art blogs, design blogs, fashion blogs and decorating blogs. I consider it my job to be in the know about under-the-radar artists, projects and events. I also receive submissions from artists and gallerists which is always much appreciated! Most of the art I work with is small to medium-scale so standard insured shipping is normally fine. I don’t typically oversee framing and installation but am happy to do so when clients request it.

PP: Who are some of your favorite pattern designers at the moment? Anything off the commercial radar?

KS: Some artists whose work comes to mind are Kirra Jamison, Arpie Gennetian Najarian, Mary Judge(in particular her Oculus series), Amanda Knowles and Joe Kievitt. Two artists I recently discovered are Becca Stadtlander and Louise Despont.

PP: How do sites like 20×200 and Etsy affect your industry and where do you see things moving over the next few years?

KS: I am a fan of both sites, particularly Etsy because of the diversity of product and also because I’m partial to original art. The success of both sites clearly marks a turning point in our relationship with art and in the business of art. In the next decade I think the role of the gallery will continue to evolve from gatekeeper to cultural center and promoter of art. We are seeing thousands of talented artists turn to online communities and marketplaces to promote and sell their work independently. It’s a massive, game-changing shift that will continue to unfold for a while.

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