Ahead of their 10/09/2020 launch, I speak to the founders of Darklight, “an online platform selling small edition prints … carefully curated by expert buyers for a new generation of collectors”.
Platforms claiming to be progressive are everywhere, it’s just that DarkLight actually are. Whether it’s their eco-friendly packaging, their diverse roster, or their digital-focus, DarkLight is tackling the issues of the contemporary art world head-on.
We have always shared a passion for visual culture and a curiosity about the positive impact art has on people.
Sarah and Mimi
In our interview Sarah and Mimi discuss the significance of topical curating (their artists’ work speak about “important issues, from the representation of women and body confidence, sexuality and mental health”), Instagram as a way to sell without intimidating, and their support for YoungMinds.
Q: First thing’s first, introduce yourself!
Sarah & Mimi : We’re Sarah & Mimi. We met back in 2015 at M&C Saatchi as art buyers. We have always shared a passion for visual culture and a curiosity about the positive impact art has on people. We naturally have very contrasting styles and taste; people at the agency used to refer to us ‘the light one’ and ‘the dark one.’
Duality is really in our DNA, we feel it makes us really strong as a team because there’s balance in everything we do.
Q: What is Darklight?
A: Darklight is an online platform selling small edition fine art prints by a handful of the most exciting photographers and visual artists we know. We envisioned building a platform that offered affordable works that weren’t purely decorative: having meaning and impact as well as being aesthetically beautiful. Our artists’ works speak about important issues, from the representation of women and body confidence, sexuality and mental health.
We wanted these works to be accessible, but still collectible.
Finally, we wanted to have a hand in shaping the conversation around the industry we love, so we set up the ‘stories’ page on our platform. This enables us to connect with art & photography lovers and broaden the conversation around art x mental health.
Q: When did this project begin?
A: Darklight was the silver lining to our pandemic. We had the idea around late October for a highly curated online space selling works by artists we love, but our experience of COVID shifted the vision a little.
As we emerge from lockdown, with its prolonged closure of galleries and creative spaces, access to affordable art is more important than ever. Our mission is to support artists to continue their amazing work and to bring inspiring art to the walls of people’s homes. To create uplifting, visually stimulating spaces.
Launching now has also made us acutely aware of the importance of mental health. It’s something our artists support us in and why we will be actively vocal about mental health as a company.
Q: What is Darklight’s main goal?
A: We want to empower our audience of art lovers and photography enthusiasts, who may not be comfortable in a traditional gallery or art fair -setting to start collecting. We want to break down the notion of art as an elitist interest and sell meaningful works at affordable prices. As a female-owned business with technically more female artists than male, we also want to serve and champion female art collectors, who are so often overlooked and undervalued by galleries.
Q: Talk to us about the mental health aspect? / you have both been vocal about this in the past?
Mimi: I have always been a strong believer in the power of imagery to affect mentality and a disciple of art as a positive force for mental health. For me, art is like a higher power. It nourishes and uplifts me like nothing else can.
Supposedly 60-70% of thoughts in an adult’s head are negative, so it’s a constant struggle to fight those demons and find peace inside. Art has helped me with this a lot so I really just want to share that experience with others.
Every sale on Darklight supports YoungMinds: a charity fighting for young people’s mental health in the UK [where we’re both from].
Q: What can we expect to see from Darklight?
A: Striking editions that are a little different and sometimes challenge the viewer, from artists who are not afraid to push boundaries. We want our audience to get to know the artists behind the work, so we’ll be sharing interviews and IGTV’s with each of them [among other artists] on the website.
We’ll also be looking for opportunities to bring our art into the physical realm through pop-up exhibitions and collabs. Keep an eye on the insta for updates 🙂
Q: Is social media important to you at Darklight?
A: Very. Our audience uses social media to view and connect with art. 90% of them buy art online and shop through Instagram. It’s a much less intimidating way of connecting with people. So many conversations and connections have started for us on Instagram. Even a few of our relationships with Darklight artists many years ago.
Q: What are you angry about right now?
Sarah: Personally I’m not a very angry person. I don’t believe it gets you very far. I’m more of the mindset that you attract the energy you put into the world. So being positive, calm and happy works better for me 🙂
Mimi: “My idols are dead and my enemies are in power.”