The Minted 50 (a collaborative effort organized by Minted, Van’s General Store and Andy Spade) was successful in producing 50 creative works by 50 artists over the course of 50 days, and the project reached its apex with an exhibition at 47 Orchard Street (Van’s General Store’s Yellow Chair Gallery) last Saturday. The concept itself is super cool, and the fact that the money raised from the pieces sold will go to RxArt is an added bonus. Naturally I wanted to know more about the project and how the partnership between Minted, VGS and Andy Spade came to pass, so I sent a few email questions to VGS Co-Founder (with Liev Schreiber) + Creative Director Scott Carlson, which he was kind enough to answer. Read up on all the details below, and be sure to pop in and check out the exhibition for yourself on weekdays from 9am to 6pm, and/or book a weekend viewing appointment by calling (646) 678-4031.
How did you decide to partner with Minted on this project?
We’ve worked with Minted before in the past, and greatly respect the caliber of artists they work with. The Minted 50 was a great opportunity for us to connect both of our networks of artists to create diverse, collaborative works that are now being sold to benefit a wonderful cause, RxArt.
How developed was the plan before you got involved? How much were you able to contribute to the vision?
The original idea was developed by our team (Van’s General Store). It started as the Minted 100 — 100 amazing art and design projects. The initial project ideas were big things like public sculptures, full house designs that included everything from custom wallpapers to table settings, wall murals, slumber party kits, to small things such as a wonderful card remembering a first kiss and a “first kiss holiday” to celebrate all the amazing ways to remember a first kiss.
As we began working closely with Minted, the original idea took a few transitions and became the Minted 50 — 50 days, 50 artists, 50 projects, each being done in a day and each created as a challenge for anyone to participate in. Minted is well known for their design challenges — artists from all around the world participate and the Minted community chooses the winner. It’s an awesome thing to see.
What was the selection process for participating artists?
Minted took half the challenges and chose artists and designers inside their creative community. VGS took the other half with the help of RxArt, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help children heal through the extraordinary power of visual art. Most of the biggest artists in the world support RxArt so a few of their local NY artists gladly took on a challenge. VGS is incredibly fortunate to have a community of friends and family that are extremely talented and generous. I think we could go another 50 days as so many people wanted to get involved and create for a cause.
RxArt is a great organization; how was it chosen to benefit from Minted 50?
As creatives and artists, we truly believe in the quality that art can bring to a person’s life, and we wanted to inspire children to strive to make art and feel hope through it. With this in mind, RxArt was definitely a natural partner for us.
Are there any pieces from Saturday’s display that you were especially proud of?
We’re especially proud of Daniel Arnold’s Minted 50 piece as he’s a close friend of our agency and an incredibly talented NYC street photographer. We’ve even built an Instagram account for Bigfoot to showcase Daniel’s photos, and are planning to work with other NYC photographers to generate photos of Bigfoot sightings that we’ll share on the Instagram account.
I’m assuming the exhibition is open to the public, so if that’s correct, when can people stop by?
Our Yellow Chair Gallery (47 Orchard Street) is open Monday through Friday from 9am – 6pm.
Is there anything in the immediate vicinity of Van’s General Store you’d recommend people to check out? (Restaurants, bars, shops, etc.?)
Chinatown! In my opinion, the Lower East Side (LES) is one of the last truly original areas of NYC.
Eats: Mission Chinese, Fat Radish, Dimes, Forget me not, Fung Tu, Golden Unicorn, Classic Coffee Shop, Dudley’s, An Choi, Mission Burrito, Parisi Bakery, Spicy Village, Pig & Khao, Farmhouse, Schiller’s, Yokoya Ramen
Shops: Labor Skateboard, Coming Soon, Shut Skateboards, Frank’s Chop Shop (Ask for Hiro), Top Hat, Sleepy Jones! Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
There’s little Buddhist Temples everywhere, and every other space is an art gallery or will be. Our neighborhood is a special place.
How would you say VGS has evolved since its inception?
That is a great question. I’m not so sure if VGS has evolved so much as we have evolved, or rather, have grown into our shoes. We’ve always taken a very holistic approach to solving our clients business needs and asks, which at times concludes with solves that none of us were thinking of when we started. Outside our films we hardly have two projects alike. We were asked to do the branding on a new restaurant in Times Square and ended up designing the interior as well, which has now lead to us becoming the curator for a new hotel here in NYC.
What does an average day look like for you? (If one exists, that is.) Do you have any sort of professional and/or personal routine or daily ritual(s)?
Every day is different for us at VGS as we’re fortunate to work with a wide variety of clients. For example, yesterday we were on site at an advertising campaign shoot for the restaurant we’re working with. When we were working on Daniel Arnold’s Minted 50 project, we were following him around while he followed around Bigfoot to facilitate capturing content for our own social channels. Then other days I’ll be speaking on podcasts or with trade writers about the advertising world.
What do you see in the near and/or distant future for VGS?
Hopefully much of the same. The one place we are getting much more involved is the creation of on-air shows for cable and subscription services. We have a couple of projects in development at the moment for clients. The shows are created to support and highlight the DNA and attitude of the brands we work with.