Art consultant Chrissy Crawford, who’s also an independent curator with an M.A. from London’s Sotheby’s Institute of Art, is targeting a whole new audience: the kiddie set.
On December 13, Crawford will launch LittleCollector.com, an online gallery that showcases and sells contemporary art for children. “I work privately for a lot of families who wanted art for their kids’ rooms,” Crawford says of the project’s inspiration. “I was completely underwhelmed by the options out there. So I started talking to artist friends of mine, and a lot of them are young parents. It developed from there.” The debut roster includes 27 participating artists — from Kenny Scharf, Bo Bartlett and Inka Essenhigh to designer Cynthia Rowley, whose drawings Crawford included in the 2008 “Belle du Jour” exhibit at Collette Blanchard Gallery. While some will present pieces from their archives (e.g. David Levinthal and his Coney Island images), others created works exclusively for LittleCollector.com. To wit: Photographer Matthew Carden shot a new series called “Fast Cars and Fast Food,” which features close-ups of toy cars set against a backdrop of fast-food franchises.
“We’ll have a rotating list of [talent] to keep things fresh,” says Crawford, noting that she’s looking to include more fashion figures in the future.
Key to LittleCollector.com is the accessibility factor, which is why the Manhattan-based Florida native decided against the bricks-and-mortar route. She’s also selling limited edition prints (not the original artwork) to keep the costs down. Prices start at $40 for an 8-by-10-inch print and go up to $375 for a framed 20-by-24-inch version. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a New York charity. “The front of our frames are Plexiglas,” Crawford adds, “so the art can be hung at the child’s eye level. And if the work falls, it’s not glass, so it’s not going to break or hurt anyone. It’s important to me that parents aren’t hanging the pieces at high levels so the children can’t touch them.” Also included on LittleCollector.com is an educational “Art 101” section for kids that covers a full range of artists from Paul Cézanne to Damien Hirst, a listing of children-friendly art activities and exhibits in the U.S. and a blog where parents are encouraged to submit their own decorating ideas. On Saturday, LittleCollector.com celebrates with a preview party — open to youngsters, naturally — at New York’s Salon 94 gallery. There will be artists’ talks, “Airigami” balloon sculptures by Larry Moss and an arts-and-crafts jewelry session led by Dana Lorenz of Fenton/Fallon.
“Anything that is curated for a specific purpose makes your life easier,” says Rowley, who submitted two drawings from her “Slim: A Fantasy Memoir” series. “The fact that Chrissy curated this collection just for kids is so smart. There’s only so much an [art] institution can do. This is a way to reach an even broader audience and educate them.”