Bri Austen began Emerging Artists of California in Cooperation with Artist Hutch Dano in an effort to bring a simplicity to emerging artists who are struggling to find time to create art, work and find the necessary resources to take their craft from passionate hobby into full time art career.
In 2015, I began attempting to help my best friend find avenues to promote and sell his artwork. What seemed like a simple task of contacting businesses who showcase art and submitting work, turned out to be a much more difficult task than I first imaged. There was no database of galleries with open submissions, no list of cafe's and coffeeshops showcasing art, no online submission site to aid in the process. I had to search each individual business, and then contact them individually. Established galleries all had their own individual requires, which meant customizing each submission. And some even required a fee to have your artwork reviewed. And even worse, most don't ever respond to your submission. I must have sent hundreds of emails those first few months.
I found the same frustration with the "Alcohol and desserts" crowd of independent art shows. We were thrilled to be accepted to our first show. We told friends and family, and it was a really big deal to have my friends art showing for the first time. We were so disappointed to arrive to a show that seemed to not only accept everyone regardless of skill, but who's only goal seemed to be about creating a club atmosphere with art on the walls instead of the focusing on the art itself. Each artist was responsible for their own sales, but the art was hung wall to wall, floor to ceiling. There was no way to tell which artist belonged to which art. To add insult to injury while trying standing near your art without blocking the artist next to or below you, people were more interested in taking selfies while they ooo'd and awe'd over a painted bottle of "Drake's Tears". The band was too loud, people were more interested in dancing, it was fun but not the environment to promote artists. We felt ripped off and honestly embarrassed to showcase art there.
Established Galleries weren't much better. The few that contacted us back made us wait months to view and consider our work. I remember my frustration when we met with a gallery that sowed interest in the artwork. We viewed this as adding a legitimacy to the work, and we were eager to show. The morning of our meeting, we were contacted by a potential buyer for one of the pieces we were showing the gallery. They have showed interest specifically in the piece thru our email submission so we delayed a sale in order to potentially show the piece in the gallery. Imagine our disappointment when the gallery wanted to show the piece...18 months later. We lost a sale and the gallery never actually showed the piece.
Needless to say we decided that things could be better and it was time to find a better way. And thus... Emerging Artists of California was born.