LA natives and University of Michigan alumni Chelsea Neman and Jordan Klein launched The Tappan Collective together in 2012. The Tappan Collective is an online art gallery that offers artwork from emerging artists at affordable prices. Both girls realized there was a void in the art world for up and coming artists and decided they wanted to provide a space for them. Through their website, they have created a collection of stunning artwork from the next generation of artists. The Tappan Collective is our go to for some serious wall candy. Check out our Q&A with Neman and Klein as we chat about the start of their booming business.
CollegeDormista: How did The Tappan Collective come to exist?
The Tappan Collective: After college, we both worked in the fine art and interior design industries. Our many young professional friends approached us seeking a sophisticated art collection for their new adult apartments. We simultaneously had friends who had just graduated from art school, who were struggling to exhibit and sell their artwork. So, we sought out to connect aspiring collectors and emerging artists everywhere on the internet, and thus Tappan Collective was born.
CD: How do you decide what artists to feature on your website?
TTC: We scour art blogs, visit art schools and go to local exhibitions looking for the best up-and-coming artists. We work with young artists who are in the exciting process of exploring who they are and experimenting with different ways to visually express their ideas.
CD: Do you feel that creating your own entrepreneurship requires a background in business?
TTC: Not necessarily, not having a formal background in business education allows us to approach challenges with innovative ideas and problem solving. We experiment a lot and learn from our mistakes. We are always guided by our passion to support emerging artists and encourage new collectors to live surrounded by creativity and inspiration.
CD: What advice do you have for students for decorating their dorm room?
TTC: Every dorm room has the same basic furniture filled with the standard necessities. When trying to express your true self, it is hard to find designs that fit your style and the small space, like a limited selection of bedding in twin xl. Artwork is a perfect way to put your unique personality on display to attract friends with similar interests.
CD: Do you feel that someone’s artwork is a reflection of their personal style?
TTC: Absolutely! We encourage new collectors to think about elements of their wardrobe and home decor. Look for similar colors, patterns, shapes you love when choosing artwork.
CD: If you had to categorize the Tappan Collective to a specific style of art, what would it be?
TTC: We are open to artists from all over the world, with different perspectives and mediums. We look for fresh perspectives and innovative styles.
CD: What are your favorite pieces of art on the website?
TTC: We believe in all our artists equally and take great care into carefully curating every single work of art exhibited on Tappan Collective.
CD: How do you and other artists get inspired? From music? From the street? From stories?
TTC: We are greatly inspired by art history and contemporary artists changing the way we see the world. We are inspired by every artist we work with and the way they are constantly experimenting and growing. We are also inspired by the many people we are teaching to love and live with art.
Our artists say they are inspired by a wide variety of sources. Many are inspired by their environments, exploring the cities they live in, or feeling nostalgic for the places they grew up in.
CD: What is the best advice that you have been given in moving forward with your business?
TTC: Believe in yourself and what you’re doing.
CD: What are three words that describe the Tappan Collective?
TTC: Honest, fun and inspiring!