Creative Debuts, is the innovative start-up company that strives to showcase artists and talent who may lack the means to do so alone. Founded in 2014, the website boasts more than 2,000 individual pieces of artwork from new and emerging artists. The online platform also has access to rental studios, gallery space and the connections needed to ensure their artists’ potential is expressed and expanded to the full in equal measures offline too.
Founders, Alex Rollings and Calum Hall are both familiar with the industry - Hall curated exhibitions during his time at university, and both Hall and Rollings used their roles as Student Brand Managers for Red Bull at their respective universities to engage art students in their key projects for the popular brand.
Their vibrant love of the industry fuelled the fire in which Creative Debuts was born. Another unconventional drive behind this venture, however, as Hall mentions was the fact that he was sick of seeing IKEA-produced landscape art in people’s homes: “Why everyone insists on having New York cityscapes in their houses when they could have an original from an emerging artist is beyond me,” Hall exclaims. “Good art needed to be made more accessible,” - a sentence to which artists the world over will no doubt shout “Amen!”
The physical showcases that Creative Debuts enable their artists’ to participate in offer the exact kind of lengthy exposure required for them to get their work off the ground. One artist, Oly Durcan, showcased his work at the Black and White building in Shoreditch a couple of months ago. The nature of the showcase, which lasted over the course of a few weeks, meant any potential buyers could come and go as they pleased before deciding to make an investment.
Thus far, the first of each month has seen the website produce a ‘featured artist’ segment, where one artist has the platform and opportunity to talk about his work and promote his art - the most recent being Nottingham-born graffiti artist and illustrator, Usamah Kise. In the interview, Kise was asked what Creative Debuts means to him and his answer proves exactly how important companies such as this are for new artists and how much their support shapes their professional career.
As he explains, “Creative Debuts have done a lot for me… They’ve given me many opportunities to promote myself and allow myself to become successful in what is an extremely tough field of work. They show me a lot of support and encouragement with what I do and I hope I will get the chance to show them the support they have shown me.”
Artists from all over the world are guided by this free platform that not only enables art lovers to view and appreciate their work, but also allows fellow artists to communicate with each other and gain vital knowledge for future encounters. It is a space not only for selling artwork and gaining recognition commercially for artists’ but also for showcasing the beauty of the work they can produce. As Hall explains, the purpose of Creative Debuts is to “bridge the gap between the educational and commercial worlds.”
When asked where they would like to see the website 10 years from now, Hall and Rollings respond with a solid plan: “From what we have already seen with artists from all over the world seeing value in what we are doing, the dream would be to have global exhibitions where we are helping as many emerging artists as possible. This, and operating our rotational rental scheme but on a global scale, so providing artists in Rio with an exhibition in Tokyo and vice versa. Another key focus of ours is to keep building key relationships and partnerships with the leading arts universities and colleges. We want to be able to help the students from as early as possible and help complement the art departments through exhibitions and insight into the professional art world.”
“One of the main hurdles emerging artists face is simply knowledge.” the co-founders continue, “With so few artists making a living out of their beloved craft, there is so little guidance for the next wave of creatives. Technical skills and professional commercial skills both need to be taught. With creative universities taking a pounding from the cuts and the disillusionment of a lot of young people and especially young creatives, our key focus is to protect and nurture the future of British art.”
For artists such as Durcan and Kise, who have started with little resources, they really can benefit from the support from companies such as Creative Debuts. This website has the power to exponentially grow the exposure of these brilliant emerging new artists to triumph their best potential and creativity and also become a notable space in which the future of the art world can be found. Watch this space.
Check out the website for more information: www.creativedebuts.co.uk
Words: Megan Plenderleith