It was during the time I was working in-house at the startup in the financial district that I purchased my new domain, ArtSucks.com. I bought the name because it felt like it was very New York, and also ironic, but most importantly it would be easy for people to remember.
Over the next several years my illustration email newsletter evolved into a online art blog, and Art Sucks was its home. The startup itself died in late 2001 early 2002 after towers came down as the office was in the blast radius, but Art Sucks was here to stay.
In the beginning Art Sucks documented the projects I was working on, various events, or art openings I attended, along with my snarky observations I was having about the cartooning, illustration, design, comic book, and fine art worlds. All of which I had some professional experience in.
In the early days the blog was rather crudely described, like so:
Artsucks.com tracks the f_cked-up visual life and mind of COJO ART JUGGERNAUT (MAXIM, ROLLING STONE, VIBE), a 28-year-old artistic zeitgeist trudging the streets of Manhattan (Philly, Vegas, Bklyn, etc…), gnawing on the big rotten apple for all it’s worth, and getting drunk on the cider…Celebrity encounters, industry parties, the ins and outs of the art world, paparazzi, models, and deranged homeless people bathing in their own urine. No topic is safe, and the unusual is commonplace…Grab your sketchbook, skirt the velvet rope and take a walk with the beautiful people!
In Late August / Early September 2007 Viacom started a new blogging social networkto try to (I’m guessing) compete with
Myspace and Facebook. The platform was called FLUX, and Viacom personally invited me in. They made Art Sucks one of their first 50 blogs in the Flux Network, their first Art Blog. I guess they enjoyed the crudity.
Art Sucks, The Daily Show, and MTV were three of the initial 50 blogs, I was in pretty insane company… If only I would have had the budget at the time to throw some serious money into marketing and ramping it up, by n it could be it’s own TV network. Instead I taught myself to code in html to keep up with it, then I taught myself php.
TMZ (when it was just a website and not yet a show) put Art Sucks in their blog roll, which was bringing in huge amounts of traffic. Art Sucks grew and grew, and the Google page rankings grew.
My self imposed and unwritten rules of blogging on Art Sucks were very strictly enforced: I had to actually go to an event if I was to write about it. I had to take the pictures. If I went to an event and didn’t take pictures, it basically didn’t happen.
owI wanted to be part of the story as it wasn’t just the scene, but also how I experienced and interacted with it. I called this form of writing “Transient-Bent Journalism”. I’m sure there is an actual journalistic jargon for it that I have never learned because I didn’t go to J-School. I guess the equivalent would be like a modern, not so drug reliant form of Gonzo.
The site had been mostly about drawing, painting, and the convergence of pop culture and celebrity with the art world. I was doing so much high profile pop culture illustration, lampooning celebrities in Maxim Magazine and such, it was building a very interesting fan base.
I broke a few stories that were picked up by mainstream media over the years. When Kenny Scharf got arrested for graffiti in Brooklyn, I not only had the scoop on the story, I followed it up with an exclusive interview with Kenny on Artiholics when he got out of jail.
I was hitting gallery openings left and right. Over the years the film camera I had was replaced with a Kodak digital, which was replaced with a Canon Digital, which was replaced with a better Canon digital, which was replaced with a Canon 7D DSLR – always upping the quality.
I’ve been to the art openings, First Friday’s, art crawls, open studios, and art talks in every neighborhood. I’ve climbed the stairs, I’ve drunk the wine, I’ve eaten the cheese. I’ve schmoozed. I’ve met the artists, taken the pictures, shook the hands, judged the art battles, given and taken the advice, and written the articles.
It all came to a head in 2013. About the same time Huffington Post named Art Sucks #3 of the 5 NYC Art Blogs You Should Be Reading, I was gearing up for the big ART SUCKS 10TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY for the blog. I got Alamo Drafthouse NYC and Blackwing Pencils to sponsor the event. With live musical performances and a live nude painting demonstration by Andy Golub (the infamous naked body painter from Times Square).
Over 10,000 people were invited on the Facebook invite, and 500 people had clicked they were attending. The line wrapped around the block.
I’ve begun working on a book, tentatively titled: THE LONG ROAD TO HIGHBROWas well as several “Spalding Gray-esque” monologues, which are drawn from my experiences over the years with the blog. I have taken down 90% of the posts from the ART SUCKS ARCHIVE in preparation for these endeavors.
In 2013 the opportunity to create a global art blog with the Global Good Group came about, and I jumped at the chance. Having toiled alone with Art Sucks for so long, with Artiholics it felt good to be able to delegate stories to other writers. I knew it would also be fun to blog about projects, stories, and art happenings I could find online and delve deeper and put my own spin on it.
All of this was contrary to the way I ran Art Sucks. I felt Artiholics was something more of an aggregate of art, pop culture, and innovation. Writing, editing, art world “cool hunting” & “trend spotting” were more important than fully involving myself in a story. Not having to have had actually experienced an art event to write an Artiholics post about it was a breath of fresh air.
Artiholics Staff Global Good Group got Artiholics rated as a “Google News Source” so everything we wrote came up in the Google news feed, sometimes listed right up there with The New York Times.
Other art blogs hadn’t thought to do this, so it pulled in a lot of eyeballs to any story, especially stories that were time sensitive, or breaking.
I built the staff up to over twenty correspondents from around the world: writers, photographers, and video contributors. Most were working artists, and I loved that fact because the posts would be coming from the perspective of people whom, like myself, know what it is like to make art for a living, and aren’t just art history scholars.
Between the two art blogs, anything I wanted to do in the art world is at my fingertips. I regularly attend and write about all of the art fairs during Armory Week and Frieze Week: Scope, Volta, Pulse, Bridge, Red Dot, Fountain, Spring Break, The Art Show, Moving Image, National Art’s Club, Clio, The Affordable Art Fair, Frieze, Verge, The Unfair.
Also all the NYC Museums, Creative Week, ADAI, Society of Illustrators, Type Director’s Club, The Met, MoMa, PS1, The New Museum, Governors Island Art Fair, Whitney Biennials, The Salmagundi Club, Pictoplasma, Adobe Design Awards, The One Show, Governors Island Art Fair, Outsider Art Fair, The Artist Project, Tribeca Film Festival, as well as performance art at various venues, art openings, art crawls, artist lectures. . . etc. . .
We’ve had a few major scoops over the years that were picked up by mainstream media. We broke the story about the death of street artist and 9/11 firefighter Jef Campion “ARMY OF ONE”, and then followed it up with an exclusive story written and photographed by one of his best friends, PhotoJenInc Jennifer Jaimes – Remembering Jef Campion – Two Weeks In The Studio of Army Of One.
In another post I wrote titled: Are You With Me Hobbes? about the Calvin & Hobbes documentary: Dear Mr. Watterson, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter.
One of the proudest moments in the history of Artiholics is when I got an early screening of the Ai Weiwei documentary Ai Weiwei The Fake Case, I wrote about it in an article titled: Ai Weiwei New Documentary Picks Up Where ‘Never Sorry’ Left Off.
My article was tweeted out by the filmmakers to their followers, which then got retweeted by Ai Weiwei himself.