Every month LA.COM will feature an artist or an artist website.
This month LA.COM presents, IPaintMyMind.org


Interview with founder Evan La Ruffa of IPaintMyMind, a nonprofit arts & music webmagazine.

LA.COM:: Your website celebrates the creative potential as well as help artists create a financial resource for themselves.

Which artist(s) stands out?

IPMM:: Yea, we're trying to put people in touch with emerging art & music they didn't know they liked yet, but we also look back at history to highlight creatives who we think have helped pave the way for new and inspiring art.

As far as an artist that stands out, that's tough. We really love everything we've ever put on the site.

I'll just mention some great work we've covered recently... There's this great band that plays a unique brand of electronic fuzz with lots of great melodies and rhytms, they're called Cloudeater and are from Atlanta.

We also recently covered painter Joyce Owens from Chicago and NYC-based photographer Jamel Shabazz who did the most recent The Roots album cover.

Our archives are full of great stuff.

LA.COM:: How does the website "IPAINTMYMIND" , help artists make money?

IPMM:: The thing that sets us apart from most media outlets is our funding model. We don't sell advertising space on our site.

IPMM (http://ipaintmymind.org/)

We've been known to say things like, "Media should be about dialogue, education, and community; not a space to sell you Tide." The basic idea being that media funded by ads dilutes quality while compromising editorial perspective; what we're trying to do is build a network of creative people based on collaboration, and a wide-ranging yet unique curatorial perspective.

That being said, the way we help artists is by covering their work through our daily features while providing purchase links on the respective artists sites.

We also have a Print Series in which we pay for an art print and then split the profits with the artist without them having to invest any money up front. We think it's a great new direction for art advocacy.

LA.COM:: Is one of your goals to generate revenue and how do you plan to do this?

IPMM:: As a relatively newer organization, we're not so worried about money yet, but we should be.

In the end, if we can't stay afloat, we're not going to be able to advocate on behalf of any more artists and bands, but yes, we're working on a few revenue streams such as merchandising and other projects we can't quite let out of the bag yet.

We're also in the process of incorporating and applying for 501c3 nonprofit status with the IRS. Achieving that status will open the doors for a lot of grant writing for operational funds, while we're really focusing on being inventive on the business side in a way that nonprofits haven't been for the most part.

IPMM (http://ipaintmymind.org/ )

Between our Gallery Events, Film Screenings, Concert Series, we're hoping to continue to mirror the website in 3D... in a few short years its great to see how our community is building here in Chicago.

LA.COM:: Is it easier or harder for an artist to make money now?

IPMM::   I would say it's always been fairly hard for artists' to make money.

Social networking and the internet in general has leveled the playing field as far as exposure, especially with respect to the way we as Americans engage with art abroad.

But you won't starve without art, unless you're an artist, lol... In all seriousness though, I think that between new technology and the internet, there are so many more ways to create things in the modern world, not to mention ways to make your art visible to people on the other side of the earth.

Really, I think whether you're an artist or anything else, if you get really focused about whatever you're doing and go at it with a positive attitude, I certainly like your chances of being able to make a living doing that.

It's also part of our mission to help create a social environment in which the question about the success rate of becoming an artist doesn't need be asked anymore. I think we're getting there, actually.

LA.COM :: How has the development of digital tools & development of the internet changed the face of art for artists?

IPMM::   It's changed it a lot in my mind, mostly because its done something that not even the most even-handed art historians could have ever done, which is level the playing field globally as far as what art finds itself in front of our eyes, especially in Europe and America.

It's like looking at an American History book when you were in middle school; there was other important shit happening, it's just that the dude writing the book had an obvious bias.

IPMM:: Now, we a) don't have to read those attempts at pigeonholing history, and b) we can always google "Russian illustrators" and get in touch with someone across the world who's both insanely talented, and nowhere near the front page of ArtReview, Arkitip, or even Juxtapoz.

At IPMM, we love randomly honing in on niches like that, mostly because the sheer amount of incredible art and music being created in this world today is mind boggling.

We're cultural archivists, so once we find something we like, we trace it back, and always find more great work.

It's this weird intuitive curatorial spider web, we have fun with it.

LA.COM:: Your views on Artist using IPADS to create art?

IPMM::   While I'm sure there are plenty of purists ready to poo poo the latest innovation, you won't ever find any of them writing for, or representing IPaintMyMind. Labels and divisions within various art scenes is something we have no interest in participating in.

In fact, as much as we can do to draw various people into various creative spheres, including our own, we will.

Resources or innovation mean more ways to create. We don't put a value judgment on any of it, nor find those cliques useful.

Bjork did part of Biophilia on an Ipad, and with the exponentially growing world of Apps, it's hard to even imagine the thousands of ways people will be able to create original artwork or music on an Ipad in the next 6 months much less few years.

LA.COM:: How important is the artist relationship with art collectors?

IPMM::   As a collector myself, and as we develop IPMM's permanent collection, we can say we truly relish the chances to get to know the people behind the work.

They're more interesting than the work itself often times. I mean, you're talking to a guy who has some of his favorite artists' work tattooed on his body, but I know from talking to artists about those relationships, and from being on the collector side of that equation, that it's a great thing overall. Both for artists, in that they have people who buy their work regularly, thus buy art, feed an artist. I also think there's an immeasurable positive aspect to it for the artist, which is having the feeling that someone relates to their experience and creativity.

But it's also a rich experience for the collector, in that it gives the work they already loved a new energy, as new perspectives are often retained talking to the artist directly.

LA.COM:: Is your site helping foster the relationship?

IPMM::   I'd like to think so, lol! IPMMis really all about encouraging that rich interaction with art, which is why we've done gallery events that puts new work at accessible price points in front of new eyes. Any time we can help facilitate a sale or another one of those rich relationships, we feel accomplished.

I mentioned our Print Series which removes the burden of overhead costs for the artist while earning income for them, and supporting IPMM's role as an advocate.

We think new revenue sharing models like that are hugely important for IPMM moving forward.

LA.COM :: How is the art scene and art movement different from how it was five years ago?

IPMM:: Honestly, you might have to talk to someone who was more engaged in it locally 5 years ago.

IPMM:: is made up of a pretty eclectic group of people, not necessarily inculcated in the art-world, but trying to encourage what we see as a gap in the landscape, both as a curator and a media outlet. I can say however, that I think its obvious that modern artists have found a niche in popular culture that didn't necessarily exist in the same way, or at least in the same volume 2 years ago, much less 5 years ago.

Some people say it's the erosion of the news organization, and bloggers taking over, basically muddying the waters.

We couldn't disagree more. The reason we were inspired to create an arts media group & advocacy organization is precisely because the unbiased advertising based model for media is total bullshit. As a writer, pretending to not have a bias is just asinine. If I didn't have an opinion I'd do math or something.

Technology has enabled curation, and we think we're doing a decent job of it, especially since you can be sure we're not selling your eyeballs to Coca Cola.

LA.COM:: Should art be funded?

IPMM::   We should fund art by purchasing art & music, and as far as arts getting government funding in schools, of course we think it should! Tons of it!

If it were up to us we'd cut the budget for one 100m fighter jet to fund a ton of arts programming, but thats just us. Unfortunately, the trend is in the opposite direction.

LA.COM:: Do you have anything you would like to add? New projects, etc?

IPMM::  We have a lot going on in addition to regular Interviews, DJ Mixes, and Features on Art, Music, Photography, and Film.

We just unveiled our brand new logo which was commissioned with this incredible illustrator out of the UK by the name of Iain Macarthur.

So we'll have a few product releases surrounding that, and a few other things I gotta keep under wraps!

We also recently kicked off the Print Series last month with an incredible digital collage from IPMM Artist Liaison and Rodriguez Lopez Productions Creative Director, Sonny Kay .

That print, entitled "Animal Pharm" can be purchased on the IPMM Store. I think that's it!

Evan La Ruffa - Founder / Creative Director / Editor / Writer

IPMM Store link :ipaintmymind.bigcartel.com

Facebook: :facebook.com/IPaintMyMind.org