Forget the bohemian artist cliché, from today’s world of social media and self-entrepreneurship comes the artist as a businessman or in this case, businesswoman. For seven years Sue Tsai has practiced as a professional artist and as she opens her fifth successful pop-up exhibition, she’s proud of her freedom.
“I’ve gone independent, so I have full control over the art and space” she states, “artists should have more control over how their work is sold.”
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Tsai’s aspiration grew with the support of her parents who are also practicing artists. However, rather than attending art school Tsai went on to study business and marketing at Hofstra University instead. “It helped me grow as an artist” Tsai explains, “it helped me understand and push my own brand.”
Tsai offers visitors options of purchasing not only her latest paintings, but also small prints, t-shirts, books, stickers, and other goodies at a minimal price in the back of the gallery. “This way, anyone can afford to own a piece of art,” she says, “but not necessarily a large painting.” Before her, artists such as Kaws and André have paved the way towards similar business models, making the artist’s growth towards a business of branded products more and more common.
Along with becoming an accomplished practicing artist, Sue Tsai has also acquired a large following on Instagram and boasts over 150K followers. She explains, “it helps me connect with my fans, I love to hear feedback on my work.” In this context, social media serves as an insight into her customer’s interests. Through doing so, it also highlights Tsai’s superior understanding of her own brand.
As for the content of her art, some might compare her work to a pop song, telling the story of her own heartbreaks and personal events. Tsai explains that “this collection is inspired on where I was emotionally in the last year.” The bright colors of her acrylic paintings are unmistakably inspired by artists such as Takashi Murakami, Banksy, and Brazilian painter Nina Pandolfo.
Her show: “You Deserve a Beautiful Life” is open until August 26th.
208 Bowery / August 9, 2018 | 12 pm – 8 pm