PORTRAIT OF THE INSTA-ARTIST
Who needs dealers and galleries? Artist Zachary Crane has an iPhone.
Eat your art out, Schnabel, Koons, et al. In just four years, Utah-born pretty boy Zachary Crane, 28, has single-handedly built up a thriving art business with nothing more than an old iPhone and a lot of LDS chutzpah. Oh, and good art—which currently sells from between $900 to $15,000. Half choir boy, half unabashed provocateur, Crane counts wealthy collectors from Cape Town and Chamonix to Hollywood and Atlanta (“they love me there”)—as well as a growing group of young, millennial fans for whom the artist gives big discounts. “I set up payment plans for them,” Crane says. “I love that young people invest in my art.” And he met them all on Instagram. zachary crane.com; @zacharycrane
You’ve built your business largely through social media. What’s the advantage? Before Instagram, I was showing in coffee shops. Galleries didn’t take me seriously then. When I went online, it opened up a world to me and now I have people buying from Switzerland, Norway, France. One of my collectors in Paris has 20 Harings, several Warhols… And he’s been collecting me now for three years. What’s the disadvantage? Giving people lots of my time with no consultation fee! What do you think is the future of the gallery and An art star is born: “I have a lot of clients who frame my paintings beautifully in their homes—including some celebrities. I make sure I post a lot of that and, just like [a dealer showcasing work], it adds value to my art,” says go-it-yourself LA artist-about-town Zachary Crane. dealer institutions? People know they can get work cheaper going straight to the source, and they want a real connection with the artist. Galleries are going to have to embrace Instagram and really unite with the artist or lose a lot of business. You do a lot of celebrity portraits. I started with a painting of Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom, and I painted her way bigger than him— holding him like he’s her dainty, little baby, even though he’s this great athlete. It got a big reaction. Describe your perfect LA day. Shipping art! I love buying the tubes and writing a note. I’m always in a great mood when I go to the post office. What do you want to be doing at 40? I want to sell out really, really hard… Something corporate, like being on a Starbucks cup. And then I want to knife-fight my way back to authenticity and start all over.