Amy and I have been collecting art since we first got together in 1990. My mom, Cecelia Feld, is an artist, and I have been around contemporary art my entire life. We prefer non-representational art from living artists. While we have paintings, sculptures, and photographs from artists who live all over the world, many of the artists are from the Western United States.
We first met Julie Maren through a gallery in Boulder on the Pearl Street Mall called MacLaren Markowitz Gallery. When the Internet and telecom bubble collapsed, the gallery ran into trouble, so Amy and I invested in it to help support it and keep it open. We met many artists in the ensuing years and expanded the Colorado artists we were collecting. MacLaren Markowitz ultimately closed, but many friendships remain.
We’ve been slowly putting new art in our Aspen house. We didn’t want to fill it quickly, but rather savor the space and get comfortable with contemporary artists from the area, along with ones from the Western United States that we already collected. We have several beautiful pieces hanging from Mark Cesark (Carbondale) and Christopher Martin (Aspen). And, when you are on a Zoom call with me, you are looking at a piece by Clay Johnson (Laramie, WY).
Julie installed her piece on Leap Day 2020, just before Covid hit. We were planning to be here for the summer but stayed in Boulder instead. We saw the installation in person for the first time a week ago, and it blew our minds. I’ve been spending a few minutes with it each morning.
Given all the stress in the world right now, I’m looking for moments of beauty every day. Art has always been a source of it for me. While I don’t have any talent as an artist, I have enormous appreciation for it and for what it takes to create art. So, I thought I’d share a moment of beauty with you today before the holiday weekend in the US.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for dragging Daniel and me to endless museums when we were kids. And thanks, Amy, for loving art as much, or maybe even more, than I do.
If you are looking for something powerful, creative, provocative, and beautifully done, go look at True Blue by Eliot Peper and team.
In 2017, I wrote a post titled A Clever Short Story About Discrimination about the short story that Eliot had written. It was an idea that David Cohen had. He shared it with Eliot, who then wrote the short story. David then funded a project for Eliot to turn it into an “internet public art project.”
Eliot describes how they made True Blue. It’s a fabulous integration of story, illustration, and design on the web.
Independent of the beauty of the project, the story is a critically important one for today’s society. While a cynic will say “same as it ever was“, consider if eye color (instead of skin color, or gender, or ethnicity, or sexual orientation, or …) was a key “categorizer” in our society.
I love my mom’s art. If you aren’t familiar with it, following is a piece that will be at her exhibit starting next week at CU.
The opening reception is going to be at 6pm on 8/27 at Andrew J. Macky Gallery in the foyer of Macky Auditorium Concert Hall, University of Colorado Boulder (285 University Avenue, Boulder).
I’ll be there along with my mom, dad, Amy, and a bunch of other friends. Come join us. For a taste of what else will be there, here’s another piece from the exhibit.
Foundry Group has now been around for over seven years and I’ve been working with my partners for 14 years. We’ve started to develop some traditions.
One of my favorites is exit gifts. When a company has an exit that generates a return for us, we give a gift to the partner who served on the board. These gifts are generally tuned to what the partner loves such as musical stuff for Ryan and Jason, bike stuff for Seth, and art for me. They are modest, but very thoughtful and something the partner wouldn’t have just gone out and done for himself. They are often self referential, such as the Makerbot sculpture of me created by an artist and printed on a Makerbot after Stratasys acquired MakerBot.
A few weeks ago Seth, Jason, and Ryan corralled me in our small conference room. Whenever they do this, I’m never sure if it’s going to be a happy thing or an intervention. Ryan was holding the following 2′ x 3′ framed print.
To get a better sense of this masterpiece, let’s zoom in on the G and the N.
This is a list of every tweet I made at @bfeld from the day of our investment in Gnip to the day that Twitter acquired Gnip. This first one is from 2/29/08.
The last batch is from 4/14.
Ryan told me that Gnip was used to generate the tweet list for the poster. And Postertext was used to print it. Thanks guys – this one made me smile a huge smile. I love this tradition.
We’ve all got to start somewhere.
Over the weekend my mom gave me a CD with the recording of my first known live interview. I’ve tossed it up on SoundCloud for your listening pleasure.
This recording was done by KERA, our Dallas-based public radio and TV station when I was four. It was for a video segment on a painting I had done that showed on Channel 13 (our public TV station.) My mom hasn’t been able to find the video so the audio will have to do.
While Amy and I listened to it, we made a bunch of observations over the 15 minute segment.
- At age 4, I had my dad’s NY accent. Even though we were living in Dallas, my accent hadn’t been neutralized yet.
- My OCD tendencies were painfully apparent in how I described things, especially the lines and dots.
- I was very clear that I liked watching cartoons on Saturday – and this was on Friday. Amy was impressed that I knew the days of the week so clearly at this age.
- I didn’t like to physically fight. I still don’t like to physically fight, but I’m not afraid of battle.
- My brain was racing. I described it as being like a motorboat. I have no idea where the motorboat metaphor came from.
- Even at age four, numbers had personalities for me. They still do – I love numbers. Especially prime ones.
- All the dark colors were my favorite colors, which is still true today.
Thanks mom for digging this up. And for being a great mom.
My mom (Cecelia Feld) is having an opening in Denver on Friday 11/1 at Artwork Network Gallery from 5pm – 9pm. I’m heading down to Denver at the end of the day on Friday and will be there from 5pm – 7pm before I head out for dinner (a good son has to eat, right?)
I love my mom’s art and if you’ve ever been in my office you’ve seen some of it around. If you aren’t familiar with it, a piece from the show is below or go check out her website at Studio 7310.
Artwork Network Gallery is located at 878 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204 (303-388-7420). I hope to see you Friday night!
I recently decided to back three graduates on Upstart. In this new model of crowd-funding, accredited investors back entrepreneurs and have the option of signing on as mentors. In exchange, the “upstart” gives up a percentage of their future income over the next 10 years. FYI – I’m not an investor in Upstart, but I am a big fan.
The common thread with the upstarts I’ve backed is their passion to cross art with technology. Chris Mathews, Bennett Lin and Shefali Kumar Friesen are all highly-focused on their interdisciplinary efforts, applying art and music to technology to solve today’s problems.
Shefali asked me if I knew anyone interested in art and technology who might want to help her reach her funding goal. I asked her to make the case, and she came back to me with the following video (posted on her Upstart profile).
I think Shefali is awesome and I’m proud to be backing her. Join me if you can!
As investors, are we the modern-day patrons of the arts?
A few months ago Suzy Kendrick of CanvasPop reached out to me after I wrote a blog post titled What’s Your Product Cadence. She had some comments relevant to her business and offered to put together a Twitter word cloud print for @FoundryGroup.
It came out great and is now hanging in our office. The CanvasPop team was super to deal with – they offered us the first print for free. It was nice but after staring at it we wanted to tweak it a little. I offered to pay for this one (they didn’t ask – but it was the right thing for us to do) and they did an excellent job of making the changes we wanted.
Even though Amy and I are huge art collectors, this is the first time I’ve ever done a piece of personalized corporate art. CanvasPop totally nailed it for us and gave us something that we could finally use as our entry way sign.
If you are interested in something like this, drop an email to Chris – the Corporate Art Guru at CanvasPop. Suzy – thanks for reaching out!
We’ve been friends with Jessica for a decade. Her family lives next door to us in Homer, Alaska and we’ve known Jessica since she was 12. We’ve watched, with much joy, as she’s grown into an amazingly talented young women.
One of those talents is art. Every year she gives us a drawing as a gift. It’s been amazingly fun to watch her get better at drawing, as she turns it from a childhood hobby to a profession. She’s currently experimenting with of realistic portions of a face that blend into “unfinished” sketch-like outlines.
The piece in this post is called James and is 16 1/2″ x 20″, graphite on Bristol board. Jessica is looking for a gallery to work with along with people that are interested in her work. If you are interested, please email me and I’ll put y’all in touch.
If you walk in my office, you’ll notice a lot of art on the walls. Amy and I are huge art collectors and are always on a quest for new and beautiful things. Over the years we’ve tried to collect photographs and sculpture in addition to contemporary art – I view us as complete novices as collectors in these two domains.
However, Amy has always been a great photographer. She carries a Nikon D-100 around and captures amazing pictures. I don’t have the eye she has so when I snap things on my cell phone they always feel ordinary to me. But I love to scroll through the endless stream of photos Amy has taken.
Recently, I got an email from Abhi Lokesh, the CEO of Fracture. He reached out in response to a post I had written (What’s Your Product Cadence). We went back and forth a few times on email, I answered a few questions, and he offered me a free Fracture. The awesome Alaska Brown Bear above is the photo I used (from an Alaska trip in 2004) and it’s now hanging on the wall in my office next to my couch.
Fracture’s goal is to inspire a renaissance in photo products and printing, replacing cheap frames and overpriced services with a practical alternative that helps you tell your life’s story visually . When I asked Abhi how he came up with the idea, he said:
“We actually came up with the idea while doing field work in Africa during the summer of 2008 for a non-profit that we created in college. It was a life-changing experience in innumerable ways. I was on my way to med school, and my partner was heading to PhD engineering school. But hey, we’ll never have less to lose and more to gain than right now, and we decided to go for it.”
Fracture is tackling the retro challenge of manufacturing and shipping a real product along with creating a digital experience and platform that makes it dead-simple for anyone to Fracture an image. My experience with the service was great, and when the Fracture arrived the packaging was well thought out, minimal, and included everything I needed to hang the Fracture on the wall.
I encourage any of you who have a favorite digital photo to give Fracture a shot.