From Blogs to Galleries: Q&A with Supersonic Electronic's Zach Tutor
Jen Mann What is Lost
Zach Tutor's blog Supersonic Electronic, has grown immensely since its creation in 2008. What started as a personal blog with images of art, cats, and cute girls was eventually tailored down into a collection of pieces from new contemporary artists that's so refreshing and expansive it could kind of knock you out. Now, in it's sixth year, Supersonic Electronic has amassed over 325,000 followers on Tumblr and features dozens of new images per month, interviews with select artists, and an online store.
With the tremendously successful website under his belt, Tutor has added curation in a physical gallery space to his resume. San Francisco's Spoke Art hosts the 3rd annual Supersonic Electronic Invitational, a show that features a line-up of over 40 of the best new contemporary artists from around the globe. The selections, just like those shown on
Tutor's blog, celebrate a new kind of artist, those from the "electronic school of contemporary art" -- influenced heavily by the presence and accessibility of the internet through the aughts and teens.
Tutor, who lives in Mississippi was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
Tom Bagshaw Neve
You're the founder and curator of the popular art blog, Supersonic Electronic. What made you decide to start your own blog?
Zach Tutor: Ever since I had access to the Internet I've made websites. First were ones about video games I was playing in 1997 or when ever it was, then later about my own games that I would make -- a hobby in high school -- and then before Supersonic, a few blogs about music. I also spent a lot of time on art forums during all those years, where artists would gather before Facebook and Tumblr existed, because it art was such a big part of my life growing up. Any who, the tech people I was following all started using this new blogging thing called Tumblr so I joined up and started blogging on it. It was incredibly simple to use --unlike all the other blogging platforms -- and you could customize everything. So it became my main blog.
And then what really helped it take off?
ZT: After two years of using Tumblr as a personal blog I had around 700 - 1000 followers on there. I had taken a trip to San Francisco and while wandering around the city I was exposed to so much art, it seemed like it was on every corner of every street, and I thought to myself, "My god, how would people ever know all this great art is here if they don't come here and see it?" So I set about making Supersonic purely focused on art so that people had a place to go to see art they might not be able to see anywhere else. Once I made that change and focused on the art my audience grew and grew. I'm at over 325,000 Tumblr followers now.
Glenn Arthur The Groundskeeper
Congratulations on your third partnership with Spoke Art! How did your curation there start?
ZT: Thank you! Shortly after focusing Supersonic onto art and beginning to interview artists for the site I was contacted by Ken Harman, Spoke Art's owner/mastermind. He was contacting me to write for the San Francisco based art magazine Hi Fructose, which I accepted. During our working together for the magazine we realized that our visual definitions and ideals were greatly in line and Ken had just opened Spoke Art and asked me to do a show based around Supersonic, highlighting artists that I thought were doing really great work. I had never done anything like it before but Ken really believed in me and the show was a big success. The second show was even bigger. We'll see about this third one! But I think of it is luck with me, Ken is really a powerhouse and Spoke Art is doing so many amazing things... I'm so lucky to have had the opportunities that I've had.
You showcase an incredible range of visual artists. What qualities draw you in and decide which artists to feature?
ZT: That range of visual artists is what I'm trying to draw attention to -
This younger generation of artists that I'm covering come from a life full of visual media. And thanks to the Internet they've had access to anything they have ever wanted to see and other things they never wanted to see. So their influences come from such a wide range of places that genres like Fine Art and Illustration start breaking down, there's no division there anymore. Who's to say a comic isn't a work of Fine Art? But I look for art that has a certain technical ability and passion to it. I try to post work that is of a very high quality and artists who have a very defined style to their work.
Andrew Hem Momos
You're based out of Oxford, Mississippi. Can you tell us a little bit about the
differences in the art scene there versus the art scene in San
ZT: Luckily I grew up in a very artistic household, my father is the
Photorealist Glennray Tutor and my mother has always been great about letting me follow my dreams. And then there's Oxford itself, it's probably the art capital of the South as far as I'm concerned. William Faulkner called Oxford home and that draws many writers and artistic types to the town and then there's the University of Mississippi here as well. But then you get outside of Oxford and much like Mississippi itself, art becomes very rural and poor. Not to say there isn't magic in that absence, because there is. Maybe having to search for art has in fact helped my desire to share art. San Francisco is a mecca of art
and artists on a major scale and Oxford is a mecca on a minor scale. But it's exciting because the art scene here is growing and it's fun to see it develop. The future is an exciting place.
The 3rd Annual Supersonic Electronic Invitational opens on January 9 and
continues through January 25 at Spoke Art in the Tenderloin (816
Sutter). Visit spoke-art.com for more information.