Creative Capital (CC) is a non-profit organization that makes funding and resources available to artists with innovative projects. President Ruby Lerner gave a very inspiring speech and overview of what they have done as an organization at IdeaFestival 2010.
The organization was founded in 1999 and prefers to support creativity that "moves us forward". Lerner said that there are angel and venture capitalists to support innovation, and their artists come from all backgrounds, working in many different media from different fields like medical, space exploration, farmers, technologists and traditional art forms. In addition to finding funding up to $50,000, CC also provides resources such as professional development, collaborative opportunities, and networking. Venture capitalists make a long term commitment of four to seven years; make money available throughout the life of the project; surround the artist with great resources such as marketing that are needed for success; and want substantial financial return for investment.
"Our goal is to have artists leave us stronger than when they came in," said Lerner. "It takes a village to help artists succeed in a very noisy environment."
She offered three tips to being successful: "Stay alert to changes in external environment, be open to new ideas, and self correct."
Four artists came with Lerner and shared information about their work:
Brent Green shared a film project that he created that is done completely in stop motion and is about a man in Louisville who began building a bizarre house he called a healing machine in hopes of healing his wife from cancer. He said that his journey towards becoming an artist helped him to realize "You're never going to die from running out of money. You're never gonna' die from running out of energy..until you do..and then it's too late to worry about it."
Sanford Biggers creates works that fall into the category "Afro-futurism". He likes to use power symbols and put mixed metaphors together. He was inspired by his cousin John Biggers and shared a power symbol of a smile resembling the smile of Alice in Wonderland’s cheshire cat. He also displayed a film, billboard and still photograph the symbol was used in.
Matthew Moore said that his projects came from realizing he would be the last to see his family farm in operation. He spoke about a conveyor belt that can set up in an urban parking lot and create 13,000 lettuce transplants in two weeks. He also shared a project called the Digital Farm Collective. They have cameras set up on their crops and film time lapses of the crops growing. They can then share those videos in restaurants, above produce sections of grocery stores and in other areas to make people think about sustainability and how much effort goes into the food they are consuming.
Jae Rihm Lee spoke of her Infinity Burial Project. She said that our bodies are collections of energy and toxicity. Our current funeral processes emit toxins that enter our land and water systems. She says our world is in “death denial” an that even cremation creates toxins. She has created a suit from mushrooms that will break down the body and break down toxins, delivering nutrients to plant roots and leaving behind clean soil and usable clean methane gases. She is using her own hair, skin, nails to train mushrooms to consume humans instead of wood. She is breeding a certain type of fungus to create the suit.
George Legrady shared some of his interactive digital art that engages passerbys. One of the animations was a screen full of eyes looking around, blinking, remaining closed. He said it represents humans and the eyes would look at their neighbors to see what they were doing and sometimes choose to do the same thing, and others to do their own thing.
More information about CC and their artists can be found at their website.
Video: Interview with artist Brent Green Photo: Installation art by George LeGrady.