Based in ultra-hip Williamsburg, NYC, Cinders Gallery is an artist-run space focussing on the development of culture that is both accessible and inclusive. Cinders’ space shies away from white-cube pretension and embraces DIY culture. They showcase live music, ‘zines and readings alongside their regular exhibition schedule in an effort to break down the stereotypes that plague galleries. You’re far more likely to find the guys at the gallery behind a barbecue than glaring at you from behind a desk. Cinders co-founder, Sto, chats to Acclaim mag about the gallery, the art scene in NYC and around the globe and his life in the Big Apple.
How did you find your way into New York’s art world?
We live in New York and so by default we are in NY’s art world, but really we just created our own world instead of trying to get into the established one here.
How would you describe your ethos?
To create the kind of art environments we want to see and be involved in and to inspire others to know that they have the power to create their own.
New York has always been the premiere destination for art and culture, how do you stand out in a city full of galleries?
By being ourselves and not worrying about fitting in with other galleries. But also knowing that what we do is not really done by too many others out there. When we started we felt there was definitely a void we saw fit to fill and we still feel the same way.
Do you think New York City has a distinct artistic identity?
It has many identities because artists come from all over the world to live here and they all bring something different with them. But certainly New York’s art history is very strong and present in the minds of the masses so our identity is certainly defined by the artists who came before. It is constantly changing and evolving however – in another twenty years its general public identity will probably be more reflective of what we are all doing now.
How do you guys try and deviate from the traditional gallery model?
We just do things the way we think they should be done and sometimes that’s very different from the way others do them but sometimes it’s not. Like a typical difference is that we are friendly and approachable whereas many gallerists out there will hardly look at you when you are in their gallery. We want everyone to feel welcome to come in and look if they are interested in what we are doing and even talk to us.
Also we have a section of artist-made books, zines and prints for sale, which makes sense for us because so many artists we work with are making these things. It’s nice to go to a show and be able to have a keepsake from it if you can’t afford an actual piece from the exhibition. We also have a lot of events, probably more than most galleries – a lot of live music, readings, and performances – we like keeping the space very active which brings in new folks and keeps the energy up during an exhibition.
How has the internet changed the way you do business?
Well, it has certainly tightened our network of artists (who live all over the world) and at the same time broadened our audience internationally. It’s still amazing to me that people in Japan, Australia, China, and Brazil are paying attention to what we are doing. People are actually buying a lot of work online too which is great. It’s made the world smaller, but there’s still nothing like seeing art in person when you can.
How has the city changed in the past decade?
It has definitely gotten more expensive and a bit harder to find a place to live without knowing a bunch of people. More people moving here all the time, for good and bad. Obviously it’s not great for artists to have high rents, this city is a beast and I don’t know if you can do anything about that kind of change. Eventually we will all be pushed out to the sea and have to live on boats.
But in a lot of ways things are better than ever. There’s an endless amount of stuff going on, perhaps more than ever before. More DIY music venues to go to, more galleries in more neighbourhoods, and lots of good bands. The sense of community is pretty strong, the artists are just spread out all through Brooklyn now but Cinders really has a great posse of amazing people, we feel lucky to be here with them all.
To check out Cinders new online gallery, hit up their blog here.