Kate Hoffman wants you to invest in art. Her company, Spacey, is shaking up the art world by making it more accessible. Every season, Spacey drops a new collection of art inspired by the trends and topics at the forefront of popular culture. So, collecting with Spacey means curating an artistic diary of the world around you on your walls. We chatted to Hoffman about the genesis of her idea and her top tips for first-time collectors.
What was the original inspiration for Spacey?
KATE HOFFMAN: After moving into my new home last year, I was so excited to bring my spaces to life with art... but when it came time to start collecting I was hit with a thoroughly dated and uninspiring process. Browsing galleries was so uninviting: stark white walls, snarky desk attendants and hidden price tags. On the other hand, combing through cluttered online art markets felt overwhelming: thousands of works, ranging vastly in price with no storytelling around the art or artist. As someone who comes from a family of artists, has degrees in fine art and art history and spends my free time seeking out any and all artistic activities I can find, I felt let-down by an industry that I love.
Before founding Spacey, I had spent my career working with Fortune 500 companies (such as Target, Virgin America, Dove and more) to translate their brand goals into compelling content that would translate into the culture zeitgeist. After my art-collecting-nightmare, I knew I wanted to take my experience as a Marketing + Media Executive to the art world. I am on a mission to reimagine a new art scene - one inspired by culture, content and community. I’m lucky enough to know the beauty of living with art I love and I want the world to feel the magic of life with art too. Spacey is a brand inspired by feelings versus facts, people verses products, innovation verse industry. We’re not driven by the idea of ‘shaking up’ the art world, we’re inspired by the opportunity to build a new scene, from the ground up.
What's been the most rewarding part of building Spacey?
KH: Until now, the fine-art industry has thrived on making buyers feel like they don’t understand art. Galleries have positioned themselves as the sole experts around what does or does not count as fine-art. But I had a different thesis: solve the biggest collections frustrations in the most transparent way possible and then focus on storytelling to connect people to art as an emotional product. We saw the spark of a magnetic new art community within days of launching… the outpouring of messages from customers, artists and tastemakers was overwhelming and it has been the proudest moment for me and the ultimate motivation.
What advice would you give to new collectors?
KH: 1. Discover artists through Insta Curators. Today, Artists no longer need gallery representation to reach buyers. Instead, Artists can sell directly to collectors through social media. Instagram has become the #1 platform for art discovery and following Art Curators sourcing through this platform is a great way to get to know hot emerging artists.
Obviously, you must follow @SpaceyStudios for daily, artistic inspiration, but some of my other favorite social curators include @TheJealousCurator, @TaxCollection and @QandArt)
2. Find your style by trusting your instincts. The best way to get “into art” is to trust how art makes you feel. If you come across a piece makes you feel excited, intrigued, inspired, then follow that artist, learn more about the piece, or buy it right then and there! If you don’t understand abstract paintings or can’t get into digital drawings don’t worry, move on. There is so much art to be discovered, there is no need to torture yourself trying to appreciate it all when you first start collecting.
At Spacey, each one of our collections features one series of artwork from each artistic style/medium, so we can offer art to all different collectors, while also maintaining a high level of curation.
3. Understand your collecting priorities. There are so many things to consider when collecting! I suggest deciding on what elements of the experience matters most to you, if any. Do you care about the cost, where the artist is from, what color palette you want, etc? For Spacey, we commission artwork from Artists who will meet the following criteria:
Accolades: Artists who have accolades in fine art and pop-culture (providing our collectors with a shareable story and social capital). This collection includes artists collaborating with Chanel, Nike, Glossier, Ace Hotel, Sundance Film Festival and more.
Investment: Art is made exclusively for Spacey and offered as limited-edition prints of just 25, all from $95-$500 (quality-meets-affordability). Representation: Spacey’s artists are 70% female and 30% Male (flipping the industry standard of 70% male representation in galleries on its head).
Where is Spacey based?
KH: Having grown up in NYC and lived in LA for the past seven years, I wanted to be sure Spacey had a presence in both NYC and LA right now. NYC is filled with a never-ending buzz of art and culture, while LA flourishes with whimsy and creative thinking.... and as a team, we love pulling inspiration from both cities to create a ying-yang effect for our brand.
What are you most excited about for Summer 19?
KH: Right now, I’m commissioning our next collection which drops at the end of the summer - and I can’t wait to see what magic is created by this new crop of artists. I can’t reveal the theme of the collection just yet, but stay tuned for the reveal this August!
I’m also traveling to Atlanta, Vancouver, Rhode Island and San Fran this summer and I can’t wait to meet up with new artists in these cities (connecting to artists in person is so meaningful… and getting to see their studios IRL is such a treat)!