Christopher Glancy works as Curator of Projects for MNMNT Snowboards and BODEGA Wall Vinyl. Essentially, his task it to connect artists to these commercial ventures. Both companies share a similar interest in making art accessible and public.
Intrigued by Glancy’s work… and the range of his projects… I connected with him for a quick Q&A covering his background and his thoughts on the inherent epherality of snowboard graphics. Please find his responses after the jump.
For reference the above image is an example from BODEGA – explicitly its Mike Giant’s contribution to the vinyl art project.
CM: What is your background in art?
CG: Both my parents have a background in the arts and were very encouraging when it came to creative ideas. My father painted custom motorcycles in Detroit while he was a member of The Highwaymen MC and my mother was an abstract painter. I graduated from a progressive liberal arts college with a focus in photography and concentrated on commercial photography for the past decade in both New York and Los Angeles before moving into creative direction.
CM: How did you come to commission and select artists for commercial projects?
CG: While living and working in New York I was exposed to some amazing artists and found myself always attracted to the graphic artist over photography. I often collaborated with artists in my photography and I think it was a bit of a natural progression.
CM: Is it difficult to strike a balance between personal taste and something that will “sell”?
CG: From conception to final product I put the quality of the project and reputation of the artist first, if the outcome doesn’t appeal to the artist and myself, it doesn’t get made. I think that is a large part in earning the trust of the artists I work with. There is a combined visual aesthetic that is formed while creating something that will be placed in the marketplace, salability doesn’t play a role in that process. For every project that makes it out into the marketplace, there are plenty of attempts that didn’t come to fruition for one reason or another. I don’t think personal taste and salability are mutually exclusive nor should they affect one another.
CM: With both Monument and Bodega, you bring artists in to produce very specific things. I think this is most evident in the snowboard. There is obvious spatial concern, for example. What’s your working process like?
CG: From picking the artist to guiding them through (or not) the creation of a snowboard. There is an initial series of filters I go through before approaching an artist for a project, not every artist will work for every project. For example, I’ve found it hard to work with photographers in the snowboard collection because of the spatial restriction. Peter Beste has been the only photographer to date to be included in the project thus far. After creating my wish list of artists that is where the work begins. I’ve found it best to really give full creative control to the artists with some guidance along the way. There are limitations in printing and fabrication, however I make every effort to realize any potential idea we come up with along the way. At the end of the day it is their name on this product as well as my own.
CM: What I find most interesting about Bodega is the ephemeral nature of the vinyl. Why choose to make it a one time only application?
CG: The intrinsic character of the vinyl creates a clear divide between a Bodega vinyl edition and the artist’s original artwork. The concept of the project is to make the art of both established and emerging artists alike available to the public at an affordable price. We sacrificed reusability of the edition in order to maintain the highest degree of quality in the work. Since all colors are layered die-cut vinyl as apposed to full color printed on a transparent medium the end result is much higher quality piece. If you want something sacred, buy the original art.
CM: Similarly, a snowboard base graphic will suffer wear and tear over the course of a season? Are you generally drawn to art that has a specific lifespan?
CG: I’ve never thought of it in these terms, instead I see the artist’s contribution to the project as making the snowboard more attractive to look at and perhaps evoke more emotion then company branding or vapid graphic design. The snowboards are functional and meant to be ridden and enjoy, any wear and tear is intentional.
CM: Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?
CG: Every artist in both Bodega and Monument has been amazing to work with and I feel the final product reflects that bond. Each artist has a different process and way of reaching their final goal. It’s like going on a first date, you have an idea of what you both want but you have no idea how you will get there or when it will happen.
CM: Do you have a separate approach when it comes to selecting artists for the two brands… is there much crossover?
CG: At times there is some crossover, but I do make an attempt to keep both projects separate. There is a bit of method to my madness, but at the end of the day it comes down to working with artists that I enjoy.
CM: Accessibility to art seems an underlining theme of your work. How important is it to you that there are low barrier of entry points of exposure to the arts?
CG: Accessibility plays a large role in both projects. I’m not reinventing the wheel with either of these projects, however I do make an effort to deliver something that is better then similar concepts within the marketplace. I feel that the words ‘artist series’ and ‘collaboration’ have been beaten into the ground by large and small companies alike, at the end of the day I just want to create something that perhaps enhances your daily life and surrounds.