Buying art over the internet has never been so easy -- or so overwhelming. So the recent launch of crowd source-chosen art and photography prints on Minted.com came with some winnowing by well-known tastemakers: supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, Google's Marissa Mayer, and photographer/MTV personality Tabitha Soren Lewis, among others. For the art launch party, CEO Miriam Naficy turned over the walls in her Pacific Heights home into mini-installations which could be discussed with the celebrity curators standing nearby. The diversity of each grouping revealed as much about the chooser as the choice: serene and inspirational for Turlington Burns, graphic and punchy for Mayer, surprisingly whimsical for Stoppelman, Asian-influenced for Soren. One King's Lane founder Alison Pincus and SFGirlbyBay blogger Victoria Smith's were also on hand to discuss their Minted pic picks.
Minted.com is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Nacify, who first applied the crowdsource model to the stationery business and has now expanded to include archival-quality prints. Customers found they liked the site's particular visual sensibility, and kept clamoring for more products with the same elan. Artists submit original designs and photographs to the Minted site, where the most popular designs are community selected, printed on high quality stock, and offered for sale. Artists are compensated by commissions for sales of their designs.
For the first year, sales from the site's children's and nursery collections benefit Every Mother Counts, a maternal health and advocacy organization founded by Christy Turlington Burns to address the preventable 90 percent of deaths from complications of pregnancy.
Turlington Burns graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her artistic image selections, raising her two children aged six and eight, and her world view. We asked about her choice of a calligraphic image proclaiming Gandhi's message, "Be the change you want to see in the world."
SFWire: Tell us why you chose a piece of art that is comprised of words.
Christy Turlington Burns: If I am choosing to live with a piece of art, I want to look at something that I find endlessly inspirational, like that quotation. My children always find ways to teach that lesson to me, even as I am hoping to teach them, too. My daughter reminded me the other day that I don't have to agree to every request, and I taught her about the choices we make to honor our obligations. It's a good give-and-take.
SFW: Children have a way of doing that, don't they?
CTB: I envy the way children begin their lives knowing so much, and being so incredibly wise. As we grow older, we become more constrained by society, so it's important that we continue to listen to the children who still carry that spirit within them.
SFW: Is this piece like the art you collect in your home?
CTB: I have an eclectic photograph collection which I have amassed over the years: classical nudes from Larry Clark and Irving Penn, flower prints from Mapplethorpe, and some amazing Sugimoto pieces, including one of the Castro Theater which I consider a touchstone of my Bay Area roots. (Turlington Burns was raised in the East Bay and now lives in New York.) I like to display my art on walls and not stack it on the floor, so I've had to slow down because I am running out of display space.
SFW: Do you miss anything about living in the west?
CTB: Oh, my yes! I just saw a little tuft of California poppies peeking out on a green hillside, and I realized how much I miss their bright orange color. I miss that distinctive smell of eucalyptus that permeates the air, especially in the spring. I miss hiking up in the hills of Los Trancos. I love New York, but I'm definitely from California.
To view more images from this event, click here