Jordan Watson’s Love Watts: Revolutionizing Art in the Digital Age

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The era of mass and social media has significantly impacted what is considered art, influencing access to the esteemed art world. However, in this era of digital platforms, free speech, and an abundance of images, it has become an echo chamber of noise, a battle for influence and attention. Yet, one individual who has managed to break through the digital chamber is curator and tastemaker Jordan Watson, known as Love Watts.

Jordan Watson's Love Watts: Revolutionizing Art in the Digital Age
Love Watts

I see art that grabs me, and I share it. No overthinking, no red tape. Just straight-up, see-it-like-it, share-it

Jordan Watson aka Love Watts

Watson has developed Love Watts into the go-to Instagram account for all things related to art and culture. He has harnessed the power of Instagram to revolutionize the art world. By breaking traditional barriers, he has brought lesser-known artists to prominence and created a vibrant, interactive community of art enthusiasts. Love Watts began as a platform to share images that caught Watson’s eye, ranging from experimental to traditional art and mass media culture. It has since become a cultural phenomenon, reshaping our appreciation and engagement with art in the digital age. This approach has led to staggering growth, amassing millions of followers, including celebrities like Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, and Dua Lipa.

Love Watts held its first physical showcase last week at London‘s Woodbury House, partnering with legendary graffiti artist KEO-XMEN, an artist ingrained in the fabric of the New York City graffiti scene of the 1980s and celebrated for his work with ‘your rapper’s favourite rapper’ MF DOOM. The exhibition at Woodbury House showcased a curated selection of 46 new works by KEO.

Watson’s pioneering approach underscores a crucial evolution in the art world, where digital platforms are no longer mere supplements but essential channels for promoting and experiencing art. We managed to catch up with Watson to learn more about the next phase of Love Watts.

Hi Jordan, please introduce yourself to those who may not know you. How did you first become involved in art, what drew you to it, and why did you start Love Watts?

Jordan Watson: I grew up in South Side, Jamaica Queens, New York. You know, the kind of place where art isn’t just something you find in galleries. It’s on the streets, in the alleyways, splashed across walls. That’s where my love for art started – with the bold, in-your-face graffiti and the vibrant street art of New York City. It was raw, real, and it spoke to me in a way nothing else did.

Skateboarding was another big part of my life. And it wasn’t just about the sport. The boards themselves were like moving canvases, each with its own unique artwork. I was captivated. This was my first real taste of collecting and curating – not just art, but pieces of a culture that resonated with my soul.

Now, when Instagram rolled out, I didn’t jump on the bandwagon like everyone else. I’m a private guy by nature, so blasting my life on social media? Not my thing. Instead, I used it as a kind of digital scrapbook. A place to collect and share images that caught my eye, art that meant something to me. This was the beginning of Love Watts. It started as a personal project, a way to catalog the creativity that inspired me, not just from the streets of New York but from all over. It was less about me and more about shining a light on the artists, the creators, the unseen masters of the craft.

So yeah, that’s how it all started. Just a guy from Queens, drawn to the raw beauty of street art and the visual storytelling of skateboarding, trying to capture a piece of that world and share it with others.

Could you share more about your personal journey as a curator and collector? How has your own taste and approach to art influenced the direction of Love Watts?

Jordan Watson: You know, I never really thought of myself as someone with ‘taste’. It wasn’t something I was conscious of; it just came naturally. I always had an eye for the finer things, sure, but in my mind, that was just normal. Everyone sees shapes and colors, right? Turns out, not quite the way I do. Curating, for me, was as natural as breathing. I’d curate everything – from the clothes I wore to the stickers I slapped on my locker at school. It wasn’t a job; it was just how I saw the world.

Collecting, now that’s a different beast. It needs resources, money. In the early days, when my pockets were light, I used what I had – my platform. I’d trade exposure for art. It felt like pulling off a heist, like I was gaming the system. But as I started to make a bit of cash, I began actually buying art. That’s when I really dove deep into building a meaningful collection.

Here’s the thing – I collect what I love. I’m not in it for the flip. Every piece I share, it’s because it speaks to me on some level. But there’s a catch – I don’t own Instagram. So, I play by their rules, which means the raw, unfiltered version of my artistic passions gets a bit watered down. It’s the price you pay for using someone else’s playground. But even with those constraints, I try to keep it as real as possible.”

Jordan Watson aka Love Watts opening night at Woodbury House
Love Watts began as a digital platform in 2011 and has since grown into a global phenomenon. Can you describe the initial vision you had for Love Watts and how it has evolved over the past 12 years?

Jordan Watson: The whole idea behind Love Watts initially was to dip my toes into this burgeoning social media craze without spilling my guts out to the world. Think of it like those fleeting street-corner chats with strangers. You know, people seem to have this urge to bare their souls to anyone who’ll listen. But that’s not me. I wanted Love Watts to be different – a place where I could spotlight others’ art, their stories, without turning the lens on my own life.

It’s a bit like being a collector of secrets, sharing these incredible pieces without giving away too much of myself. That was the game plan from day one. Fast forward to now, and the core of that idea remains, but there’s been an evolution. I’ve learned how to make a living out of this passion for sharing what I find. I’m not hoarding these ‘secrets’ anymore. Instead, I’m using them to fuel a business.

Love Watts has grown into something bigger – it’s not just a personal project anymore. It’s a full-blown media company, with brand collaborations and all. But at its heart, it’s still about that initial spark – showcasing the amazing work of others while keeping my own story just that, mine.

Continuing on, what is the meaning behind the name ‘Love Watts’ and the block colours in its logo?

Jordan Watson: Since my high school days, I’ve been known as Watts. It’s a nickname my bros gave me, a spin-off from my last name, Watson. I’ve had all sorts of variations thrown at me – Wattso, Wattsy, you name it. But ‘Watts’ was the one that really stuck. And ‘Love’? Well, that’s inked right across my stomach. Love is such a powerful, multifaceted word, isn’t it? It means different things to different people. So, I just slammed these two together – Love and Watts. It just clicked.

Now, about that logo. I’ve always had a thing for shapes and colors. Classic designs, timeless logos – that’s my jam. When I was brainstorming for the Love Watts logo, I had something iconic in mind, like NBC’s peacock. I wanted a logo that pops, something that looks slick on anything it’s slapped on. A brand that feels familiar, even if it’s your first time laying eyes on it. That’s the vibe I was going for. And I gotta say, I love how it turned out. It’s not just a logo; it’s a statement – one that speaks of timelessness and instant recognition.”

Your platform has been credited with disrupting and democratizing the art world. What were the key strategies or decisions that enabled Love Watts to achieve this?

Jordan Watson: The secret sauce to shaking up the art world with Love Watts? It’s all about consistency. It’s a relentless, almost stubborn commitment to not giving a damn about what others think of the art I post. It’s about trusting my gut, my own taste, day in and day out. And it’s about flooding the platform with as much art as humanly possible, every single day. You know what’s funny? My ignorance about the traditional art world was actually my ace in the hole. I came in as an outsider, with no preconceived notions, no rules to follow. That’s why I could disrupt it – because I had absolutely no clue about the status quo I was upending. There’s a certain freedom in not knowing; it lets you break rules you didn’t even know existed.

How does Love Watts engage with established and emerging artists, and what criteria do you use to select artists and works to feature on your platform?

Jordan Watson: My approach to engaging with creators? It’s pretty much after the fact. There’s that old saying, ‘It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission’, right? That’s pretty much my playbook. I see art that grabs me, and I share it. No overthinking, no red tape. Just straight-up, see-it-like-it, share-it-like-it action. It’s direct, it’s simple, and it works.

In your view, what are the biggest challenges currently facing the world of contemporary art and culture, and how does Love Watts aim to address these challenges?

Jordan Watson: I’m on this relentless mission, you know, to drag art into every corner of life, to make it accessible to everyone. I look around – some of my friends don’t have two dimes to rub together, and their walls are empty. Then I look at my billionaire buddies, and guess what? Their walls are just as barren. Two totally different worlds, same dull, lifeless walls. It’s a simple problem, but it’s symbolic of a bigger challenge.

So, what’s the plan with Love Watts? I’m cooking up a marketplace. A place where you don’t need to be an art snob or have an eye for the avant-garde. The price will be fair, and the art? It’ll be mind-blowing. And why? Because I said so. It’s about trust. Trusting that when I say something’s good, it’s not just good – it’s going to light up your world. That’s the Love Watts promise.

Jordan Watson's Love Watts: Revolutionizing Art in the Digital Age
Your exhibition at London’s Woodbury House with legendary graffiti artist KEO-Xmen is highly anticipated. Can you share how the collaboration came about, the essence of the exhibition, and what we can expect to experience?

Jordan Watson: KEO isn’t just some run-of-the-mill graffiti artist. He’s a master, a true legend of the streets. And more than that, he’s a historian. Just take a dive into his Instagram page; it’s like a living, breathing archive of New York City’s streets. The average Joe thinks graffiti, they picture vandalism, gangs. But Keo, he’s the Rembrandt of the urban jungle. His work isn’t just rebellious scrawls on subway cars; it’s modern history, captured in vibrant colors and bold lines.

And now, these aren’t just fleeting masterpieces on the sides of trains – they’re tangible, living pieces of history you can hang in your living room. You know, graffiti was my gateway into the art world. It’s where my love for this whole scene ignited. With Keo, I want to offer that same eye-opening experience to everyone else. But we’re doing it clean, no vandalism involved. We’re bringing the raw, unfiltered energy of the streets to the poshest corners of London. That’s what Love Watts is all about – it’s street art, elevated and refined, without losing its edge. It’s the brand in its purest, most authentic form.

Jordan Watson's Love Watts: Revolutionizing Art in the Digital Age
How do you think the rise of digital platforms, like Love Watts, is affecting traditional gallery spaces and the way art is consumed?

Jordan Watson: We’re riding this massive digital wave, right? Amazon has replaced the mall, and soon, something like the new Apple Vision Pro will be where you catch a Taylor Swift concert or tour a museum. People are exploring the world without leaving their sofas.

Now, I’m the first to say that nothing beats seeing art in person. But let’s be real – not everyone can jet off to Paris for an exhibition or drop by an artist’s studio in Ghana. That’s where Love Watts steps in. We’re about bringing those experiences to you, in the comfort of your home. It’s about accessibility. Can’t make it to that gallery? No problem. We’ll bring the gallery to you. It’s a new way of experiencing art, a way that fits into our increasingly digital world. Love Watts is about opening those doors, breaking down those barriers, no passport or plane ticket needed.

Jordan Watson aka Love Watts
at Woodbury House
You’ve mentioned plans for significant expansion, including establishing international presences and pioneering immersive digital experiences. Can you elaborate on these plans and how they will shape the future of Love Watts?

Jordan Watson: I’m on the brink of something big – Watts World. Think of it as a digital emporium, a one-stop shop for every kind of artistic brilliance you can imagine. We’re talking paintings, fashion, culinary arts, sports, gaming, education – the whole spectrum, all filtered through the unique lens of Love Watts. It’s not just another brand; it’s set to be the greatest lifestyle phenomenon in the digital realm.

But here’s the kicker – it’s not just about the digital experience. We’re pairing this with real-life, in-the-flesh experiences all around the globe. It’s a bold, ambitious mission, sure. But the vision? Crystal clear. And my team? They’re the best in the business. We’re not just building a platform; we’re crafting a world – Watts World – where the digital and the physical converge in a symphony of artistic expression.

What is your philosophy on the role of art and culture in society, and how does this philosophy guide the curation and activities of Love Watts?

Jordan Watson: Let’s keep it plain and simple. Art? It’s everywhere. It’s in the design of those sneakers you lace up every day, in the splashy artwork on your cereal box each morning. Art’s stitched into the fabric of life, in every little thing we see and touch – the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. And Love Watts? We’re all about showcasing this. We share it all – the refined, the rough, the beautiful, the jarring. It’s the whole spectrum, the entire dance of art in everyday life.”

Lastly, what does art mean to you?

Jordan Watson: Everything

Love Watts Presents KEO-XMEN is on view until 20th December by appointment only at London’s Woodbury House.

©2023 Jordan Waston “Love Watts”