What an interesting Fair. Not what I expected. We came on a Friday where we were eager to get out of the classroom and stretch our feet. We arrived at Regents Park and were promptly checked with organized security checks. Immediate impression of the location was a bit out of my normal comfort zone. In an auction, gallery, or art fair I always seem to try to understand and connect to the pieces, usually comprehending an over all idea or the purpose of the piece. This was not the case here. There were pieces that I found intriguing but had no I idea the representation or meaning behind it.
There were simplistic piece such as in selection pieces in the selection of Lia Rumma called Carezza (2016) and another called Merriggio (2016). These two artworks were created with color impasto on panel which was tapered framed on three sides with gold leaf. I stood there with the same expressions I would have with many previous blank canvases that I have seen during my travels to museums before. I felt emotionally attached to the color but no clue why it was chosen to be that color or why there was gold plating that surrounded the edges.
There was also a sculpted creation in the selections of Glenda Leon called “Lectura Fragmentada II”(2013). This cake shaped designed was crafted with 10 different C Int Photo Magazines, surrounded by a glass cake cover and more magazines. I personally connected with this 3D creation because I am a foodie and have heard many of my friends say “Food for thought” or “Reading is food for the brain” from their own experiences. I was intrigued by the literal interpretation of literature being shown as food. But why? Why did the artist pick these magazines? Why a cake?
The only piece I could actually get a glimpse of understanding was the video and sound track in the gallery Seventeen London. I would not be able to tell you the name of the artist if it isn’t Se, even after some research and hunting for a name tag. Neither the less I listened and watched an interview by a gentlemen who sat awkwardly on the television expressing the importance of a memory wither it be through sound, smell, touch, or sight. He quickly threw in the phrase “Memory of existing in that place.” This stuck with me. It resonated the same emotions I have with moving to London.
I was mostly baffled by the lack of connection with the audience and the artists. Many of the artists were standing or sitting close to their art work, on their phones, but only a few gave you the vibe they actually wanted to talk. If you did have a chance to talk to them, they were only keen on if you had an interest to buy. Money was what was driving this art fair. The rich were obviously who the artists cared about.
There were some interesting people I cam across though that made me curious about who else came to these events.
However, in the Social Work pieces that were representative female artist expressing their concern and the economies neglect that women are still struggling to become equal to men in the workplace. I personally arrived when there was a class of children. The female artists not only had their opinions written on paper that you can collect for yourself, but was actually interested in conversing with the children and adults curious about the topic.
Overall, not sure if I would want to return to a Frieze Art gallery. However I would have never known that unless I had this great opportunity to experience it.
We Had a Lot of Fun!
With review from class of the canvas model, I followed a company that I worked with that followed my profession as a photographer.
In the USA, a few popular studios on the east coast and down south have made an impactful name in the retail photography business. JC Penny, Sears, Target all have or had a photo studio that children grew up with learning how to get their picture taken. The Picture People is one of the many brand names of family portrait studios. As an employee, I worked with the company for a few years and saw many struggles and flaws in their pivots. As a very strong cost-driven idea, things would be changed to cut down time. Time was everything to the customer and to the owners.
The picture people started out with a similar idea that Eric Ries implies about Dropbox issue with products development, “..if we can provide a superior customer experience, will people give our product a try.” Realizing the studio’s value that would differentiate with other customers would to create a value proposition that the customers would be able to take everything home on the same day. The product itself didn’t need to be anything expensive. Affordability was the key. Having everything done; photos, selecting, editing, printing and framing in one visit was key ingredient to Picture People’s model canvas.
Creating the Business Model Canvas myself as an employee who has observed the ups and downs of the company made me be able to step back to visualize the reasoning behind the actions of the business. The Picture People has failed more times the successes and I never understood why because the idea can be strong. The issues that I noticed while building and observing Picture People was the key partnerships that effect the key resources and activities. Within the company, everyone does everything. At the studios, the managers are required and needed to do everything including; IT work, construction of studio, photographing, customer service, training, etc. The difficulty is that when there is a problem with IT that cannot be fixed until someone arrived from a different state within the company, then the service with the customers is haunted. There needs to be more outsourcing with the development with the company then having everything done within the walls.
This could result in a different cost structure because there might be an a development that there will be an IT guide for each studio, out sourced by another company.
This week we came prepared with having read a couple chapters of The Lean Start Up by Eric Res. This was taken in strides since there were some important concepts that we will be using for the rest of our business careers. When reading each chapter, I felt invigorated to learn about the Build-Measure-Learn loop, Komisar’s Getting to Plan B book focusing on analogs vs antilogs, the courage of pivot and more.
The focus of our class was to practice Business Models. In Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur’s book Business Model Generation it states that, “A business Model Describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value”(pg 14). Each of us individually watched The Founder movie, seeing a the well known international business start up. During the movie, I became hooked on the idea when Ray released the idea of finding people that wanted to invest their time and passion into the business as investors instead of just getting money from the rich. This made me think about my home town’s cafe. A very popular cafe called Atomic Cafe that always seems overcrowded. Such curiosity drove me to create and bring to class my first model canvas on this cafe.
I wanted to see the plans of the Atomic Cafe of what their model plan is to create value in their services before I put my thought of how can we improve it and is it worth it.
To alter a change in the model, I focused on the customer issue that the cafe is overcrowded. Many customer, including myself, realized it is because people bring lots of work and hang out at the cafe for hours. Sometimes only ordering a cup of coffee.
I would attempt to limit wifi access. Such as airports limit your time before paying for wifi services, I would recommend implementing Free Wifi limited to either 30minutes or 45minutes before customers have to pay. The company already invests a const structure into the service to get Wifi and it wouldn’t subtract too much from the Value proposition because it does still offer free wifi. This action might take a little bit out of the accessibility because it is not limitless wifi, but does not change the value driven relationship that the company aspires to be. This would also be assumed that it would add to the Revenue Streams because if a customer is willing to pay the extra buck for longer wifi service, then Atomic Cafe would get a profit.
This week started a bit rough. I came into the week with a stuffy nose, sore throat, and a fever. I even attempted to come in on Monday for an Academic Writing course. I barely was able to hold it together without coughing up a storm. I had to stay home for my first course in Managing a Creative Business. I was heart broken.
Luckily all my classmates contributed to helping me catch up with the course work. I truly realized how amazing everyone is. We were not just classmates, but colleagues. I can rely on them and I hope they know they can rely on me.
When I came to Mapping the Creative Economy, I was thrilled to be back in the classroom. We went over the year’s schedule and our mapping skills with creativity.
A visual introduction to the question of creativity came from a TED talk by Ken Robinson.
“My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status” (Robinson TED, 2006).
Robinson sparked an interest to me when saying this. The world of education has been structures that academics such as history, math, and science were at a higher power to creativity in art. I grew up in this environment at school, but at home I was introduced to the acceptance to creativity as a child. Even with my family all careered in the medical fields, they supported me. With the confidence in my creativity at home, I was able to bring that to the educational system. However, without it I don’t know if I would be as confident.
DESIGN THINKING MODULE
We continued the afternoon with Design Thinking. Once we discussed the year to come, we partnered up to create a One-Hour Business Model. Our challenge was to get to know each other with the question, “What was the last gift you gave.”
Step 1: Empathize… We interviewed each other to find goals and wishes that could have been changed with a gift we gave to someone. We were a bit restricted with time, but that may have been a good thing. My partner and I bonded very quickly in this class. I loved chatting with her and with limits we can stay focused on the one question.
Step 2: Define Problem… Once we had the information, now it was time to find a solution to the issue at hand. During my talk, I learned about my partners gift of hosting a party for her parents but there is always a difficulty of getting family members to contribute. There was a need for an activity or influences to interact with each other at the party.
Step 3: Ideate… I was nervous when we were timed for 5 minutes to generate 5 sketches. Once I started drawing, I started getting innovative. I just drew the first things that came to mind. NO IDEA WAS A BAD IDEA, especially in drafts.
Step 4: Prototype… This is still a work in progress. We were given simple ingredients of paper and string materials to create our most prominent idea in a prototype for about 10 minutes. I created a game board that can be customized with interactive questions and facts that link with a photo slide show.
Step 5: Test… Next week we will be presenting our ideas to the class. I am eager to have some feedback to my little idea of a game board.
At the Beginning
The first week made me feel like a lost puppy. I was eager and excited to get back to being a student after two years of working, but I was a bit clumsy and felt uncomfortable with the new environment. I always felt like I was asking too many questions like where is this and where is that. That was okay though.
I flew from the Unites States to Kingston University, leaving everything that made me comfortable behind. There was a need in me to grow and understand what happens in a business as a photographer. Kingston was my chance to change my pace and learn in a more hands on style. Upon arrival the uncomfortable feeling was welcomed with a sense of adventure.
Orientation was filled with enrollment and introductions to what we would be doing throughout the year. My favorite experiences were the London Design Festival and the workshop.
The London Design Festival was an amazing opportunity to go to the Sumerset House as MACE Students. It w