If you’re an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch user and a lover of contemporary graphic art, you may already be aware of Poolga. If not, you’ve definitely been missing out. You’ve been missing out on the hundreds of free downloadable wallpapers they’ve amassed over the five years since setting up in 2007.
The work is mainly focused on illustration, graphic and typography but, with a huge array of regularly contributing artists, there’s a varied and broad range of styles that’ll cater to anyone’s tastes.
© Muxxi, 2012
Apart from being an obviously great source of sparkly, new art for you to carry around in your pocket, Poolga is also a useful resource for discovering new artists in general. The images featured are a mix of existing work and designs made specifically for Poolga, so rummaging through their immense back catalogue of artists will surely uncover some new treasures for you.
Considering that not only a large numer of AOTM featured artists are Poolga contributors, but both Alex and myself have had work on their site, we thought it was about time that we found out a bit more. We sat down with Poolga’s founder and curator, Juan Carlos Cammaert to find out where Poolga came from. He tells us about its origins as well as his thoughts on the relationship between illustration and technology today.
© Dan Stafford, 2012
Can you tell us a little about yourself and what Poolga is?
I’m a graphic designer and run a small editorial design studio with my wife in Barcelona. Poolga is a platform which curates and collects art for mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad. We focus mostly on illustration.
© Eirian Chapman, 2012
Where did the idea for Poolga come from?
Poolga is a bit of a humble side-project that has grown over the years. The origin is very simple: When I got an iPhone back in 2007, it came with a few ugly default wallpaper images so I went online to look for better ones, and couldn’t find much. Wallpaper sites were at the time (and mostly still are) plagued with photos of ‘babes’, muscle cars and boring sunflower fields. So, I called a few designer and illustrator friends and asked them if they wanted to create something and share it. They did, I set up a quick website, and before I knew it people were sending me submissions.
© Julianna Brion, 2012
What kind of response have you had since starting the site?
It’s been exponential. Some artists were a bit sceptic at first, but soon enough they understood the value of showing their work to a huge public who normally would not visit illustration sites and blogs. Most of our audience are normal people that want something nice on their phone and suddenly start discovering illustrators, becoming fans and buying prints from them. After a while we started getting more submissions that we could post. Our audience also grew pretty fast after we got featured on a few popular blogs.
© Haruko Mori, 2012
What do you look for in contributing artists?
I look for a strong, consistent portfolio. They don’t necessarily need to be well known, just need to show that they have a distinct style and that are passionate about their work. I don’t pay much attention to people who create ‘one-offs’ or whose style is all over the place.
Poolga is a great platform for artists to be publicised. Do you think that the way in which artists promote themselves is changing?
Yes, and the younger generations of illustrators understand this very well. They know they need to put their work out there for the world to see, and the rest will come. It used to be that illustrators would just let their agent do all the promotion for them, that doesn’t work any more as many art directors and art buyers are bypassing agencies and galleries and going straight to the source using sites like Poolga.
© Naomi Wilkinson, 2012
How do you think technology such as smartphones is changing the way we think about and interact with art?
It’s just one more outlet, but it’s the newest and fastest growing outlet. Right now, there are millions (billions?) of these devices in people’s pockets. Each one of those has a good screen capable of displaying art in a gorgeous shiny backlit way. People are crazy about collecting art in their pocket, showing it off, sharing it with others…
© Alex Mathers, 2012
What kind of effect do you think the growing amount of digital publication will have on image makers?
I think it’s good for everyone but as the amount of content grows, curation will become more and more important.
Do you have any plans for Poolga in the future?
Lots! Collaborations with other sites, we’ll be releasing more Apps, and more secret world domination plans!
© Philip Dennis, 2012