Get to Know Your Content Curator Mica England
You're familiar with stARTup's Director Ray Beldner, Co-Director Shannon Kaye, and Art Advisor and Curator Josefin Lundahl, but what about our Content Curator Mica England? Mica is an artist from the San Francisco Bay Area and a vital member of the stARTup team since 2017.
This week we asked about her role at stARTup, her artistic practice, and her favorite things about working at the only contemporary art fair created for artists, by artists.
What is your role at stARTup?
I came to stARTup as an intern in early 2017, and since then it’s grown exponentially. Now I'm stARTup's Digital Content Curator. Everything you see on our website, blog, newsletter, Instagram, and Facebook — that's me! I work directly with stARTup’s Fair Director creating an editorial calendar that promotes our fairs, artists, and programming with the best content possible.
As a Content Curator, what kinds of ideas and things are you looking to share for the stARTup audience?
No matter what platform I’m creating for, art drives the content. And across all of our feeds I’m looking to showcase emerging artists on the cutting edge of contemporary art. Because of our mission, stARTup has the opportunity and platform to show our audience artists before they’re “big” or “hot.” And it goes both ways — our audience is counting on us to discover the new. So that means I get to dip into exciting new media, installation, and mixed media works for our feeds, by more females and artists of color you wouldn’t find at most fairs.
Our blog gives me even more freedom to explore challenging subject matter and artists that fly under the radar — including artists with disabilities. I’ve also interviewed many of our artists who are part of our Artfinder partnership, two well-respected Bay Area collectors, and even another “digital curator” like myself… though “Emma” is an artificial intelligence, and the last time I checked I’m still human : )
As the lone photographer on the stARTup team, I try to represent and highlight my medium as best I can. New Ways of Seeing: A stARTup LA 2019 Photography Preview was one of the first fair previews I’ve written for stARTup, made possible by our first “themed” fair — Art and Technology. Some of my favorite stARTup artists have worked in Photography or have photo-based art. I encourage more photographers to apply for stARTup Houston!
And while I don’t frequently work in new media, I’m always trying to push for more and more of it in our fair programming, so I have more content for our social media feeds. My first toe-dip was What's new about New Media art? written last October which highlighted six of stARTup’s most experimental artists. As virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and gaming software become more available and attractive for artists, I’m excited to see their results, as well as the reactions from traditionalists who are less tech-friendly.
Tell me more about your own artistic practice. Has it been influenced or impacted by working for stARTup?
I’m primarily a digital photographer, but the past few years I’ve gotten back into analog — more specifically snapping shots with disposable cameras. I’m an incredibly impatient person, and the fact that so much is out of your control is refreshing. A recent series of disposable film features a few of my travels with stARTup — like our 2018 and 2019 Los Angeles fairs. Being a photographer gives me the ability to “multitask” on the job. : ) You can find that series on my website as well as other shots on my photo Instagram.
But before I was ever a photographer, I was a writer. Writing is vital to my artistic practice. Many of my bodies of work feature original poetry, and I’ve made quite a few hand-bound books.
Especially now that I’m with stARTup full-time, I appreciate the artist’s “hustle.” So many emerging artists are working artists — balancing day jobs with their artistic practice as best they can. I definitely don’t create as much as when I was still enrolled in art school, but if stARTup artists can set aside the time in the studio, then I can too! (Though my “studio” is Photoshop in my bedroom, and sometimes my bed itself.)
I’m also constantly inspired by our Fair Director Ray Beldner. He has even more on his plate than I do, but still manages to balance studio time, onsite installations, stARTup, and consulting. His most recent large-scale collage works definitely make me want to dive back into collage and printmaking. Luckily I have an artist residency in November so I can work on just that!
What's your favorite thing about stARTup?
Once again: the artists. It’s a privilege working alongside so many of them, and seeing all their different genres, subject matter, and career trajectories. I get the opportunity to discover them before our fair attendees, and each fair I’m more and more impressed by our younger newcomers. I’m very excited at the state of the contemporary scene.
Meeting the artists in person is also so inspiring, and something I look forward to every fair. I’ve befriended quite a few artists from the seven (7!) fairs I’ve been a part of, and that makes writing and promoting them especially easy. One of my favorite success stories I’ve written was for longtime stARTup artist Margaret Timbrell. When stARTup Success Stories: Chapter Five came out, she sung such high praises and was so thankful to be appreciated. Affirming and reaffirming the work of our artists is so rewarding, and I’m so grateful to have such a dream job highlighting great art from great artists.
stARTup would be nothing without our staff. It’s an incredibly passionate and tight-knit team that have welcomed me in as a wee intern, and helped make me the Content Curator I am today!