We chat to the creators of Poketo, art for everyday.
What is the main objective of Poketo?
Our main object is to make "art for your everyday"- everything from what you wear, eat off of, to live with, to be beautiful and functional, to make it accessible and affordable. To make art for everyday and everyone. That's why our motto is "Art for your Everyday".
How does the collaborative relationship between you work and how did it come about?
Poketo has always been about collaboration from the very beginning. When we first started in 2003, it was the artist wallets that we made with 6 of our friends in San Francisco. We had an art show to celebrate the launch with their original works on the wall, music, and the wallets that we made with their artwork that had their artist bios and a matching pin sold out that night. People kind of went nuts over them grabbing them off the table. We knew we had to do another series with different artists, and it just went on from there, then we moved to apparel, housewares, and stationery and the rest is history as they say.
What are your main design influences?
I think everything that surrounds us in our lives influence us. The food that we eat, music, friends, family, and travels. We don't have a design hero per se but our lives inform us what we want to make because we don't make anything that we don't use ourselves. There are just too many useless items out there for the sake of design. We don't want to be that.
Would you say there is a common thread running through the poketo pieces?
As you can tell, we have a very eclectic tastes. Our aesthetics range from colorful, cute, feminine, to even bizarre. People tell us all the time that even though the design sensibilities are eclectic but there is a common thread throughout it all. It's because we curate all the collections carefully through our curatorial lens. We produce goods that we like and hope that others will like it too. So our design stays consistent. It doesn't factor in trends, forecasts of what people want. It truly is a labor of love. More than a business, Poketo is a continuous art project for us.
Do you have a current favourite piece from the collection?
Hmm... it's really hard to choose but we just launched an amazing collection wallets in collaboration with the blog, booooooom.com by 4 different Canadian artists called "Afterlife" and are doing a first ever open call submission with the theme of "Before LIfe" and people are just submitting their art on our facebook, left and right. It's awesome to see all the excitement surrounding the project.
We've really expanded our apparel to include cut and sew items like dresses and more as well as carrying a variety of housewares and living items and stationery. Our site has become quite a destination for unique, modern, and fun design items.
Why do you think 'wallet' art and the concept of artist as brand has become so popular?
I think because the uniqueness of the form and concept that you carry them everywhere. It's almost like a traveling gallery. Unlike a painting that hangs on the wall, the portability of it, the need for it to be with you everywhere and anywhere and every time you take it out, people ask you where you got them. We've always limited our production to a few hundred because there is more value in it when it's limited because we saw them as art that is functional.
How does poketo support its artists?
Besides the profit sharing, we promote our artists via our online and the products. Every wallet has an artist bio from the first day. We conduct interviews with artists in our blog and you can find every single artist we've ever worked with on our artist page. Our Target collaboration that we did last year was a great way to expose our artists in a huge way in 1600 stores nationwide. We continue to promote our artists in everything we do as Poketo is a collection of artists around the world. We've gone from 6 artists in San Francisco to over 200 artists worldwide from every corner of the world and it keeps growing!
Why are the events and' happenings' you are involved with so important for the artistic community?
We've always loved hosting dinner parties and get-togethers with friends instead of a dozen friends, it's become hundreds of people. Because Poketo really started with our first art show with our 6 friends, events have just become part of what we do.
It's not just art shows because just staring at paintings on the white walls become boring after a while, we've had more audience participated interactive shows, whether it's a sitting with artists as they're creating work in the day and having them go up on the wall that night as in Islands in LA or recreating of a flea market as in Los Angeles, I'm Yours. Fundraising for an after school writing program for 826LA and silent auction for an artist friend suffering from cancer. Not always even art related but just something that will bring people together to have a good time. Even a karaoke dance party and a free music show with the band, Portugal. The Man. We like to host these events and shows because we can't just live online. We want to make connections with our fans and artists. Because Poketo is all about a community and the community can't sustain itself when there is no real connection.
To find out more about Poketo or to buy some of their fantastic products, check out Poketo.com.