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Bradenton Man Launches NYC-based Art/Fashion Startup, FOLIOCUE

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Startups are cool—

very Out With The Old, very millennial 

The revolution of our time may be the rewiring of all circuitry; and maybe we will save the world. 

Perhaps somebody else has already said that. There’s really no way to tell—

with all of that data out there, you can find anything on the internet; 

it’s brought everything right back ‘round again and originality is back in style.—

All of these new ideas

New companies and Macklemores; 

Soylent, for kirssake— 

And it’s good to be among it all.

* * * * *

Jesus. Only a quarter of a page and I’ve already ruined this one with a bad poem about subversion. Might as well keep with it though, and dive into Art—which was the point here from the beginning; and was the initial source of this notion of hierarchy that got me all revved up— 

But now, I am calm; and am realizing that, more than Art, we must keep with the original intention of discussing a new NYC-based company called Foliocue, that was founded last summer by a Bradenton man by the name of Jamie Knowles, who with his new endeavor is working to make the inaccessible world of contemporary art available to everyone. 

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To do this, Knowles is cataloguing his knowledge into a weekly digital campaign that starts with a Mail Chimp newsletter and ends at Foliocue.com, where one leading contemporary artist is profiled every week, along with a shoppable style guide of products and clothing curated to emulate the theme and visual language of that artist’s work. 

An interesting concept, no doubt. 

For users, Foliocue is free, and simple as entering one’s email address. “Sign up for our weekly email announcement and discover one artist every Monday at noon,” promises a banner ad on Foliocue.com—And they totally deliver:

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I signed up for Foliocue early on, back in August, and the experience I’ve had with Knowles’ product has been highly enriching. I’ve always dug art, but it’s hard to know who’s worth looking into. I learned of the classics throughout school; digging a little deeper during college, but only because I took a History of Contemporary Art course that satisfied my major. But to go beyond that—getting to know What’s Really Going On in the art world—requires dedication. And many intrigued people don’t have the time, or the will to get into it. But as we know, these limitations do not overcome desire; which is where Foliocue comes in to save the day:

“I wanted to make the art world more approachable to outsiders,” Knowles said in a recent press release. “There are so many culturally curious, intellectually interested people out there that see the art world as too exclusive and intimidating to approach.” Which is true. Even for Knowles, whose life as an artist, minor collector and employee evolves around the art world, the sense of hierarchy is difficult to shake.  

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Jamie Knowles grew up in Bradenton. He graduated from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in 2006, and went on to Davidson College in North Carolina where he majored in art and minored in Spanish. For Davidson art majors, in order to graduate one must create a senior exhibition—a requirement designed to equip students with the resources and skills demanded of professional artists. And this is worth mentioning, because, part of Mr. Knowles’ senior exhibition is now featured in the Davidson College Permanent Collection. This recognition is a holy testament to the young working artist’s authentic skill—which, in turn, affirms the substance of Foliocue. Jamie Knowles is qualified to bring people in to the contemporary art world, because he has made a space for himself inside it. 

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Since relocating to New York City in 2010, Knowles has been featured in dozens of group exhibitions in Manhattan, Long Island, East Hampton and Brooklyn’s Greenpoint and Williamsburg neighborhoods. Much of his work involves the use of textiles and clothing, employed to reflect the human experience of expressing one's personal identity through fashion.

“Drawing upon known cultural associations to consumer products,” he says, “I try to link self-identity to a collective memory as a way to combine history, gender, and sexuality. In my artwork, I attempt to address the ease with which individuals pick and choose identity by examining how clothing, accessories and fabrics approximate the externalized self.”

Upon examining Jamie Knowles’ work, one will also notice an abundant use of bronze cast fingerprints, which the artist views as both an abstract and concrete-representational self-portrait. He attaches them to vintage clothing and objects, like women’s hats and antique tobacco holders, giving—in my opinion—the effect of time and history; symbolizing the marks we leave on the things that mark us.

While meeting these artistic achievements, Knowles has also found success on the business side of the art world. Until taking his current position as Senior Promotion Manager at VOGUE this past August, for three years Knowles held the title Global Brand Manager for Sotheby’s Preferred—an exclusive section of Sotheby’s worldwide fine art marketplace. 

With this in mind, it is not difficult to see how Knowles’ art and work have become intertwined with these notions of fashion and consumerism; and how his new project, Foliocue, is a perfect fit. Branding the world's most prestigious art brokerage for three years is a good prerequisite for breaking down highbrow social walls, and this time, it's being put to proper use. Which is good, I think, for all of us—because I hear the snacks are delicious.

click here to sign up for foliocue
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