On the Red Couch With Colossal’s Christopher Jobson
Inside Flipboard / August 28, 2012
While waiting around for jury duty in 2009, Christopher Jobson made use of his time by creating a list of 100 things he wanted to do—ranging from learning to kayak to running a 5k race. It took about a year for Jobson to make his way towards the bottom of the list and hit number 83, â€œstart a blog.â€ That’s when Jobson started Colossal, a blog where he posts interesting pieces of art, photography, design and craft that he finds online. Now, two years later, Jobson’s blog Colossal was included in Technorati’s â€œTop 100 Blogs on the Internet,â€ nominated for a 2012 Webby Award in Art and has attracted nearly 30 million page views. We invited Jobson to sit on our virtual red couch to answer a few questions on what it means to be a curator.
What got into you curation?
Colossal started in the fall of 2010 as part of a personal project where I was trying a lot of new things during the course of the year (running in my first race, taking a number of art classes, learning to cook). As a designer I was always encountering interesting projects online and wanted a way to easily catalog and share them. The blog seemed like the best format and from the beginning I took things pretty seriously, focusing on quality, regularity and overall presentation. After a few months, things really started to take off.
What thought processes take place when sharing content to your blog?
I view Colossal mostly as an online art gallery. I want to provide imagery and some basic backstory, but the blog is generally devoid of criticism or personal opinions. I want people to experience or be inspired by the work and then provide them with all the resources necessary to do their own research and reach their own conclusions. Although, I think it goes without saying, just about everything I post is something I personally find to be incredible.
Where does community fit in?
I’m not particularly interested in fostering or moderating a community on the site itself through comments, if only because I know how time consuming it would be and I’m not sure if it would actually bring anything extra to the blog. However, I follow comments on Facebook and especially Twitter very closely and then there’s always email. Too much email. I try my best.
What are your favorite sources to curate from?
I read a couple hundred blogs each day, but my favorite places to curate are often where artwork and projects are just emerging. This means checking places like Behance, Cargo Collective, Reddit, Stellar, and often surfing dozens if not hundreds of art gallery websites looking for newly posted work. It can be extremely time consuming but the rewards are often worth it.
How do you gauge success?
Every few days I get an email from an artist, photographer or designer who has appeared on Colossal, sharing a story about what happened after the flurry of attention. I know of two photographers who landed work in TIME just a few days after a blog post, another in Discover magazine and a few artists who have had to find official representation or sold a number of pieces after a sudden spike of interest. As long as I keep hearing anecdotes of the direct impact of this humble blog on the lives of artists, I’ll know that I’ve been successful.
You are a creator AND curator. Which do you prefer?
Hm. This is an interesting question. I supposed I’m creating content to a limited degree, really it’s only my brief commentary and information supportive of the artists who appear on the blog. There’s only a handful of longer form articles and interviews on Colossal — generally I want 99% of what you encounter on the blog to send you elsewhere to discover more art. I am much more interested in discovering artwork and sharing it than I am in analyzing or discussing it. If I could do this full time I absolutely would.
What are some specific art gallery sites that thrill you?
I read a couple hundred art blogs each day, so there are quite a few. The top of my list would include: