If you live in any large city, chances are you’ve experienced street art in a multitude of different ways from wheat pasted posters, to sticker art, spray paint and stencil graffiti to full-blown street installations and sculptures. New York city in particular is like a living, breathing gallery, that often leaves you yearning for more when it comes to learning about the artists behind the artwork. So getting the opportunity to meet with contemporary artist representation agency — FILLIN Global we jumped at the chance.
Based in NYC and founded by duo Jackie Collins and Tommy Feinstein, FILLIN Global represents some of the most talented contemporary street artists around today – which is why they’re this month’s Culture Crush. We took a studio tour and sat down for a natter that covers everything from selling out to Instagram. And we even got them to rate our emoji art!
Read on for more!
Whats the meaning behind the name, FILLIN? Fillin stems from a play on the phrases to ‘fill in’ a line or image as well as the expression ‘fills’ in the graffiti world. (Fills describe a piece of graffiti that is either filled in a rush or a solid fill. It’s also the interior base color of the piece of the graffiti.)
How did you get your start in the art world? Myself and my business partner Tommy both have varied backgrounds in the art world. Tommy is a trained artist-turned- retoucher whose passion is for graffiti and less legal art forms — my background is in dance, I danced professionally before realizing I would rather be on the other side of the stage. I have a passion for artists and facilitating opportunities for them, fostering careers and discovering new talent. Tommy basically wanted to start an agency to help his friends get cool projects!
There are so many great artists, how do you pick the best ones to represent? Personality is big for us, we want artists that are equally talented as they are easy to work with. Many of the roster stem from personal relationships or recommendations through people we trust. Now that we are more established, we get inquiries frequently, we now base our decision on style overlap and what is trending in the industry before we consider signing new artists.
What are the coolest exhibitions/pieces of work that your artists have done? The list is endless but recent projects we are proud of – Dain’s wall in Greenpoint in collaboration with Puma, two Lululemon commissions with WRDSMTH and Jason Naylor – and a very exciting secret project with a company you may have heard of out in silicon valley….
How does street art behave differently from other forms of art? Street art usually has a lot of passion behind it, it wants to leave a mark and sends a message. I believe this is why the trend of street artists translating to the gallery world and advertising is so prevalent. If you are willing to risk arrest to make a statement, usually it is a powerful one.
What are your thoughts on art vs. commerce and the concept of “selling out”- how do you find that balance? And how do your artists view the art for commerce side to the business? We all need to make money right? I think everyone has a different definition of what it means to sell out, I respect that certain artists discern what brands they want to attach themselves with, while others see it as an opportunity to be doing what they love and get paid. The ideal scenarios are when the process is collaborative and the artists feel fulfilled.
What are your thoughts on Art Basel and the economics of art that happens there? The Wynwood Walls are absolutely stunning, I think everyone should visit at least once. I think it is great that contemporary art is growing in popularity and I think Basel is helping.
Do you consider Instagram a form of or medium for art? How do you think the digital age is changing the way art presents itself Instagram is an incredible platform to share art, but I also think we find ourselves in the predicament of ‘everyone is an artist’ – it is a slippery slope. Industry standard these days is you must have a presence and following in order to be taken seriously – many creatives base their decision to use artists around their social media presence but what about that hidden gem with no account, we could be missing some great art due to the fast pace of the digital age.
Which artists do you think are ones to watch for 2018? Keep refreshing our website and I guess you’ll see!