You are the curator behind the trendy Instagram account The Kash Collection – how did you start it?
It was about 4 years ago now. I’d just gotten onto Instagram (quite late to the party) and was delighted to see so much great art. I’d send my close friends and family works that I really liked, and after a while, it just seemed easier to post to my own page than to hit “share” each time.
Initially, the goal was simply to create a single place. I could find all the work I loved. I don’t think I even told most of my friends about it for like a year.
What are your inspirations? Do you have a theme?
I was fortunate enough to briefly work at The Mattress Factory, one of the preeminent installation art museums in America, as a teenager. I helped install works and did the kind of miscellaneous tasks organizations assign to teenage interns. But it was a formative experience for me – working daily with artists, pestering them with questions about creativity and courage, and getting an introduction to art history all at once. Before that experience, I didn’t even know installation art as a genre existed.
I remember clearly one artist told me he got all of his ideas from a yogic technique called “Fire Breathing.” I thought that was the coolest thing! So, of course, I tried it when I got home and nearly passed out from hyperventilating.
I guess my “theme” is to focus on work that gives me that same feeling – a rush of discovery, a dizzying elation, and perhaps a bit of a fright.
How do you decide what gets feature? Do you have a list of criteria or it is merely what gets your eye?
I have only one simple criterion: if this was the only work posted on my page, would I still be proud of The Kash Collection? If the answer is yes, I post the artwork. If not, then I don’t.
All the photos are amazing – how do you find them? Do you contact the artist?
I’m lucky that at this point, a lot of artists reach out to me. But I also find artwork in the usual ways – art magazines, galleries, and Instagram.
I don’t contact the artist before posting, but I do make sure to tag them in the photo and give them credit for the work.
Your top 3 discovery of 2020 in the arts?
1. The Bangkok Street Art scene. When I visited in February, I was super impressed by the energy and quality of the work.
2. Rob Woodcox’s work, who makes “sculptures” out of dancers in beautiful locations.
3. Lorenzo Quinn, an installation artist I can’t get enough of (again, I’m late to the party, admittedly!)
Any art you never showcase on The Kash Collection and would like to feature in the future?
I’d love to learn more about contemporary Asian art – any gallerists or artists in that space should message me! I respond to every DM.
You seem to go by phases of colour, all red, then all blue – how do you plan your social media presence?
I figured out long ago that I’m not an artist. But the way for me to use my feed as an artistic endeavour is to think deeply about the sequencing. So yes, I colour-code the page and try to create chains of thematically similar works. Most of the time, no one besides me notices, but it gives me a bit of joy at least.
Logistically, I use Later.com to schedule everything in advance. They are amazing, and I highly recommend their platform!
Do you have any anecdotes about The Kash Collection?
Beyond getting to interact with a number of my favourite artists, I think the coolest thing to happen so far is hearing that art professors recommend that their students follow my page.
What do you hope to see in 2021 in the art world?
More ways for artists to monetize their art and more government sponsorship of the arts.
How can an artist create a bigger impact with their Instagram account? What piece of advice would you want to give to the artists about their social media presence?
Think strategically about the layout of your Instagram feed. Your first nine posts are like the entryway to your home. If a visitor doesn’t immediately see something that resonates, they are going to leave. I think artists can and should post personal images on their feed, but it must always be balanced by images of their work (ideally, showing the cycle from ideation->creation).
- The most significant influence in your life
Post-Modern Political Philosophy as a field has been quite integral to how I see the world.
- An object you can’t live without
It’s cliche, but I love my Airpods and have them in my ears 75% of my waking hours.
- Favourite book
Ulysses by James Joyce, which I was lucky enough to spend 12 weeks studying at Oxford.
- When I say “art”, what if your first thought?
James Turrell, the first artist whose work made me think differently about what art could be.
- What’s your idea of happiness?
A nap in a hammock with my wife and dog, without an alarm to wake us up.
- Your favourite art moment?
The 2013 Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
- A myth you would like to debunk?
Art has to “mean” something. It doesn’t! Some works just permanently heighten your sensitivity to beauty.
- What should the art world be more of and less of?
More: practical explanations of works to help the uninitiated connect the work to their own lives.
Less: theoretical jargon that puts the average viewer off.
About Kash Danda
By day, Kash is an innovation consultant, helping enterprises create customer-centric experiences and products. By night he is an art fanatic, running The Kash Collection, a virtual gallery for contemporary art.