Creating Popular Content: Interview with Fools Do Art
On November of 2014, two photographers in New York City were hanging out and being goofy during their lunch break at work, when someone snapped a photo of them. The photo resembled the famous painting called "The Creation of Adam" by Michelangelo. Instantly, friends and family shared the photo and told them of the resemblance to the painting and how great the photo was. This gave the two friends an idea: create an Instagram account and then a website where they would recreate famous paintings using only objects found in their office work environment. Brilliant!
As it turns out, Chris Limbrick and Francesco Fragomeni's website went viral overnight. At first, it attracted the attention of notable blogs such as Bored Panda, Mashable, Time.com, and CNN. From there, popular television news stations across the country ran the story and even international publications took interst. It got to the point where even teachers across the country were writing in to let them know they were using Fools Do Art as a supplement in their classrooms to teach art history. Can you say mind blown?!
I had the chance to talk to Francesco and Chris about their strategy for creating this site, and get a few tips on creating popular content. Essentially, their main advice is to use "simple humor", as Francesco says, and create something you enjoy and that you feel others around you would too. Then decide on the specific platform where you'd like to share your content and have fun. Instagram was their chosen tool and it has certainly worked well so far.
Finally, I had the opportunity to talk to both artists about their background. Chris comes from a family of artists, and began his career in the arts learning to play the drums and later becoming a DJ. While he still loves the music, he decided to explore photography and discovered his interest in busy, monochromatic, street photography. You can find more of his work of the streets of Chinatown, New York on his website: climbrick.com.
Francesco, on the other hand, began photographing at an early age using an 8 x 10 view camera. A "very contemplative medium and discipline", as Francesco describes, photography with this type of camera taught him the value of thinking ahead and planning his objective for photo shoots. Along with this skill, he also became very interested in traditional photographic processes which continue to have a very heavy influence in his work. One of his current projects, that I personally find fascinating, The Blood Portrait, consists of using human blood as the printing medium.
I feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to interview both Chris and Francesco, and look forward to seeing their future projects.