By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
If you describe an artist as a sellout, it's usually be meant as an insult. A sellout is often depicted as someone who failed to stay true to their art and sold out in favor of (gasp!) commercialism.
But an intriguing new exhibition opening Jan. 9 in Williamsburg seeks to take that old idea and stand it on its head.
The show, called #SELLOUT, features 16 artists who are proud to admit that they want to brand themselves and market their work.
Curated by landscape painter Steve Wasterval, the five-day exhibition takes place at Reverse Gallery, at 28 Frost St.
The show’s sponsors are Perrier, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Zico and Worstofall Design.
The show will be interactive with artists present onsite to share their vision and display their work including: paintings, sculpture, scarves and performance art.
Perrier will be served throughout the five-day event. A specialty #SELLOUT cocktail made with all three sponsors featuring Tito’s Handmade Vodka, will be served Friday, Jan. 10 from 8-11 p.m. Complimentary mimosas will be provided Saturday and Sunday between 2 and 4 p.m.
Wasterval, whose work will also be represented in the exhibition, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that the show is titled #SELLOUT “because we knew that the title would be provocative.” Wasterval added that he enjoys the idea that “the name of the show ruffles people’s feathers.”
The idea of an artist branding his or her work and applying marketing principles to try to sell art isn’t popular in the art world, Wasterval admits. But 21st Century art requires 21st Century techniques, he said. “In art school, they don’t teach you how to sell your work or how to market yourself. They teach you how to put together a portfolio. You can try to reach out to art galleries to see if they will exhibit your work. But there are long lines of artists outside those galleries,” he said. “You’re not selling your soul if you work in advertising. As long as you stay true to your art, you’ll be fine."
Wasterval, who was born in Houston, studied art in Colorado, where he painted landscapes. He moved to Brooklyn five years ago. “I still paint landscapes, except that now, they’re urban landscapes,” he said. He has also lived in Amsterdam, where he painted pictures of canals, and in Miami, where he worked in advertising.
Other artists in #SELLOUT include Nicaso Fernandez, Chisum “Cain” Pierce, Joey Kilrain, Rachel Cohen, Giovanna Diamente, Mike Wolf, Julie Van Such, Erica Sellers, Hanniel Levenson, Fernando Eguchi, Rodrigo Vallez, Lee Delgado, Jeremy Silberberg and James Rivas.
Wasterval, who personally selected the artists, said he wanted a “good mix” of art works represented. “The artists are all different. But the common thread they all had to have is that they have to buy into our idea for the show,” he said.
The show will give the participating artists the opportunity to showcase and sell their art by partnering with well known brands and utilizing branding and marketing in creative ways, according to Wasterval, who is also the co-Founder and creative director of Worstofall Design.
The show seeks to brings together local artists and brand sponsorships. The show’s concept is based on the mutual need for exposure that is shared by both brands and artists alike. For more information on the show and the participating artists, visit: http://www.hashtagsellout.com/.