Bluethumb Pop-Up Art Gallery

Freddy Grant is marketing coordinator of Bluethumb Pop-Up Art Gallery, creating opportunities for visual artists in the Melbourne Fringe, and anywhere else. Beat did a Q&A with Grant and curator Janni Fewster about their first Fringe presence, and their Bluethumb phone app.

So what is Bluethumb? “Our website is a free-to-join open platform for artists to sell their work directly to buyers. This pop-up show will be a curation of some of our favourites. We also have a first of its kind art app which is pretty cool, so people that come to the exhibition can buy the artwork using the app.”
Is this a specifically curated exhibition for Fringe? “The exhibition is specifically curated to present our broad range of artists and their broad range of styles. We will exhibit everything from large abstract paintings to small linocut prints. Artists exhibiting will be both emerging, like Sarah Gosling who does these awesome pieces that explore our relationships with animals, and established artists like Waterhouse prize winner John Graham, an expressionist with years of exhibitions and professional experience under his belt. Bluethumb is a place where all artists can sell their works.”
How has Bluethumb come to be in Fringe? “This is our first Fringe and we’re so excited to be involved and to see what happens. We are always looking for different ways to get our artists’ work out there. At last year’s Adelaide Fringe urban Indigenous artist Coby Edgar, transformed the Bluethumb ute (a 1985 Land Cruiser) into a driveable artwork. It’s actually just been listed for sale on Bluethumb to raise funds for our iPad app – in case anyone reading this is looking for a ute with a difference. Since moving to Melbourne, Fringe seemed like a natural step. Being at The Boardwalk Republic Fringe hub at Gasworks means we will be surrounded by great shows and events bringing lots of people to our artists’ work - especially as our pop-up gallery is conveniently next to the bar."
How did you choose the artists appearing at the pop-up gallery? “They were chosen from our curated featured artists’ page, talented and active artists within our community who sell well. We wanted artists with individual style, for example, local artist Annette Spinks. Her works are very popular - she’s a bestseller for sure.”
What gave you the idea for the Bluethumb app? “The trend of people spending more time on mobile devices than on laptops or PCs gave us an opportunity. Technology and innovation has always been part of the Bluethumb ethos. We knew a couple of years ago if we did something no other art gallery was doing, it would make an impact. We’ve had a great response from artists who use the app: it allows them to have a responsive portfolio of their work wherever they are and on whatever screen is available. We make it easier to be an artist, leaving our artists to focus on what they do best. We also make it easier to be an art lover: we only accept original art; we offer secure SSL credit card transactions and PayPal, a 7-day money back guarantee and we ship free to any part of Australia. It’s an art gallery on the go. All through the day, new art is uploaded by our 1200+ community of artists meaning there’s always something fresh on the home screen. You can ‘heart’ your favourite pieces, which curates your own collection of artworks on your favourites page. I use it all the time to keep up with the new art and artists on Bluethumb.”
Venue: Gasworks, 21 Graham St, Albert Park
Dates: September 22 - 26
Time: Various
Tickets: Free