Cans Asia Art News｜Gin Huang_Our Ambition Is to Spot The Next Rising Star Who Will Become as Ahining as Kaws in Trend Art (Fashion/Art Crossover)
As I walked into Gin Huang Gallery, what first came into view was a huge sofa decorated with a few Kaws soft pillows and Takashi Murakami iconic flower cushions. At the same time, putting down the task at hand, Ging-Yi Huang expressed her warm welcome and cordial greetings to my arrival. As could be seen from the accessories Huang wore (e.g. a silver ring with Murakami’s icon) to the ornaments in the gallery, it was not difficult to tell that she is an enthusiast for trend art. Huang rarely socializes but rather spends most of her time and efforts on doing research with her tablet computer. As a new generation of galleries, Gin Huang Gallery does not follow the conventional practice of art galleries but uses the power of social media to promote its features. The gallery develops its marketing strategies with the focus on social media platforms; as a result, it has begun to receive commissions through O2O (Online to Offline) e-commerce. To cross a threshold from tradition towards innovation, Huang pointed out that all we need is simply a smartphone, with which we can have access to connect with fashion/art influencers on Instagram. Gin Huang Gallery has been building its online database regarding international pop culture, determined to stay on the cutting-edge of trend art.
Since 2004, the first year when Huang entered the world of the art industry, she had undergone a series of rigorous training in the galleries, including Tina Keng Gallery, Soka Art Center in Beijing and Philippe Staib Gallery. The training lasted for nearly ten years. Not until 2016 did Huang establish her own platform-Gin Huang Gallery, located in Neihu District, where has the highest density of galleries in Taiwan.
Just in May, Gin Huang Gallery held the first-ever exhibition of British trend artist George Morton-Clark in Taiwan. Beginning with contacting the artist herself, Huang curated and conducted the entire art show. Huang said joyfully:
“I am always doing research on trend artists. When I noticed George was associated with many art giants such as Takashi Murakami and Kaws, I looked into his artworks and they captivated me immediately. By sending a private message to George on Instagram, I invited him to present his solo exhibition in Taipei. At first, I didn’t expect to hear back anything from someone with nearly 40 thousand followers on Instagram. Surprisingly, George and I got in touch quickly and we decided to collaborate in about ten minutes. I felt it must be fate.”
“George’s art agency in Europe is called Opera Gallery. Thanks to his preceding experience in exhibitions, our first cooperation ended successfully. During the period of his solo exhibition in Taiwan, George and I reached a franchise agreement and Gin Huang Gallery has now become his sole agency in Asia.”
Asked why she paid attention to pop culture, Huang explained:
“Initially the growth of Kaws resonated with me; seeing his artworks reminded me of those days when I was a college student fond of collecting action/toy figures. Then, more and more young collectors came and asked me whether the gallery would be able to help order the artworks by trend artists. That’s when I started to question how come the gallery was still stuck in a rut while our clients had already moved on. Of course, the key thing is that I love pop culture. Who says there can’t be action figures in a gallery? I just want to place them in my gallery! ”
When it comes to the transformation of the art market and rapid growth of trend art in Asia, Huang studying trend art for years gave her opinion:
“Asian trend art can no longer be ignored, especially the fact that co-branding in the industry of trend art will continue boosting the recognition and reputation among artists. Take Takashi Murakami as an example. He collaborates with MADASAKI, Mr., and Off White to create crafts, supporting and carrying his apprentice artists. Besides, trend artists are skilled at working jointly with luxury brands. Again, Takashi Murakami is familiar with media and press; he has also collaborated with Louis Vuitton to produce co-branded handbags for a long time. George’s next marketing strategy will be similar to that of Murakami. When he was in Taiwan, George had a crossover project with ALLSAINTS, a British leather jacket brand with more than a hundred years of history. He did a live painting on the leather jacket of the brand. George also had the experience co-exhibiting with Basquiat as well as working together with Knots Rugs for an exclusive carpet (Knots Rugs is a hand-knotted rugs producer in the UK with more than a century of history). All of these demonstrate the practice of brand-artist collaborations.”
Huang kept on saying,
“The future of trend art in Asia is promising. And yet, people are waiting to see who is the next Kaws. Our ambition is to spot the next rising star who will become as shining as Kaws in trend art. We have faith in George. George is now discussing a new project with Disney that is yet to be released. Next, he is going to collaborate with APPortfolio, exhibiting together with Takashi Murakami, Portuguese artist Vhils well-known for his gigantic carved murals, and colorblind artist Daniel Arsham in Art Basel Hong Kong. What is unique about trend art is that anything or anyone can create brand partnerships with others, which is in line with my cooperative personality.”
Why Huang is dedicated to promoting trend art is not only because trend art is one of her hobbies but also because in some way it reflects the only principle of her Gallery: exhibitions showcasing the dark side of the mind are avoided. Huang explained the principle further:
“Because art is powerful. I would like to bring happiness to audiences, as being happy is also a kind of art. Asian collectors in George’s Taipei exhibition were particularly attached to his Pokémon series since that evoked fond memories of their childhoods. Those collectors were in their 20s and 30s. We got new connections, a group of young clients, as a result of this exhibition.”
Huang took out her phone, showing some “Instagram-worthy” photos on the Instagram account of a young client who took pictures of his collections. “As soon as George announced the news about his Taipei exhibition on Instagram, the gallery obtained a purchase order for George’s art piece from a young client based in Beijing,” Huang said.
In addition to purchase orders, collaborations between Gin Huang Gallery and artists also rely on Instagram. From providing service for online customers via social media to the interchange between online platforms and physical businesses, Gin Huang Gallery’s marketing strategy coincidently fulfills the current popular O2O e-commerce mode. Meanwhile, this strategy offers more opportunities for both young galleries and new collectors to enter the art market. Instead of fighting alone, it is wiser to team up with allies to fortify brand presence and to highlight brand personality. In the era when media and social platforms are thriving, implementing “X” (crossover strategy) is crucial. Trend art is closely related to pop culture; it disproves the myth that the art world is unapproachable and helps Huang move closer to her ideal that is to create a friendly art space.
To adapt to the boom in trend art, what is the business strategy for Gin Huang Gallery going to be in the next ten years? Huang’s reply intriguingly states: “There is nothing else for it but to follow trends!”