Grading the days of a sole founder

Today was a D-

October 27th 2015, Berlin, Sunny Skies

This is one of many posts, where I will document the exuberant, as well as the discouraging moments I have building my art startup Verni. Many of you may relate less with the arts, and there’s a reason for that. As with any democratic process, the less we feel our thoughts count, the less we participate in it. And often that’s exactly the status gate keepers want to keep. I want to fix this by creating a place where you can easily find the artists near you, and ask to visit them with the click of a button. By turning the artist studio into its own showroom, Verni’s goal is to become the world’s largest contemporary art museum of tomorrow. I will keep these posts short, so that I can write them often, and will remain honest, as I strongly believe the more vulnerable moments are ones others can relate to as well.

Currently I’m seeking curators for Verni. The very first step already presents a challenge: how to connect. Unlike artists, curators don’t have a strong personal presence online, so even finding listings through institutions doesn’t always mean you can contact them directly. Besides googling individual names, and guessing email addresses with chrome tools, it sometime leaves me no other option than to contact the institutions themselves. This can be a test of will.

Last week I wrote to one of America’s most well known universities for curatorial practice. A relationship with them would be a win-win situation. Recently graduated students could use Verni to easily find artists, and get a better sense of their practice by meeting them, while freeing up important time to do what they do best, bring all the content together, and contextualize it in their stories. I was even open to the idea of developing specific features exclusively for their students.

I received an email reply with the subject line reading:


The email body was empty. I replied saying that this perhaps was a misunderstanding. Moments later I received the second reply, this time with the following added to the email body:

UNSUBCRIBE (wrong spelling)

Now I was shaking my head in disbelief. Did they not read the email? I wrote one last time, and asked to schedule a call, and received the final reply:

Stop sending us your spam, please. Thank you, very much. We appreciate it.

Verni is still at an early stage, so despite wanting to reach a wider audience, I’m trying to connect with the players already in the game first. They are the one’s already interacting with artists, and I believe winning them over would set a great framework for others to follow.

So despite what seems like an unwillingness to listen, or skepticism about trying something new, I’m going to use this D- experience as motivation, and will continue my quest to make the arts less intimidating, more fun, and accessible to widest group of people possible.