Create:Fixate Liberates Your Perception
By Dale Youngman
Michelle Berc is the Founder, Curator, Event Producer and Executive Director of the almost 10-year-old art and music phenomenon known as Create:Fixate. I caught up with her in-between shows to congratulate her on her success, find out what makes her events so special, and how, in these very difficult economic times, is she selling quite a bit of art!
Fabrik: You are coming up to your 10 year anniversary – Do you think the art scene has changed in that time – and how has Create:Fixate changed along with it?
Michelle: Absolutely! The LA art community is a beautiful thing, and I think over the years the artists themselves, and their energy, have been a major contribution to building up the LA art scene. We are living during interesting times, and creativity will lead us through this transition. After all, it is the creatives that think outside the box and this is what we need to move society forward. I believe Create:Fixate, along with other alike groups, are responsible for building up the energy around art in LA, and it’s because we make the exploration more festive. I’ve watched museums and several galleries start shifting their programming to include more festive events and I think this came from our influence and the other art events in LA. People are craving connection outside of their daily work lives as well as something beyond competitive activities such as sports or even sadly sitting in front of their televisions and computers. Bringing people together around art helps everyone relax more and opens up their minds and imagination. It is very inspirational and brings out appreciation for what others are creating.
Create:Fixate has evolved quite significantly over the years. To start, our productions have become much more professional since our grass root beginnings from my old downtown loft. We also have great structure in place with managing our large number of talent (which is huge when dealing with so many artists at once). Most importantly, we do projects and community outreach beyond our one-night exhibits. We’ve expanded over the years by hosting many educational workshops along with bringing art programming to high school kids and at-risk youth. One of my favorites is the incorporation of themes in our shows, which has become a regular in the last 5 years. I love using art and music as a catalyst to explore topics and ideas that are relevant to our times. I enjoy motivating people to think about who they are, who we are, and who we are becoming. Hence our slogan “Liberate Your Perception”.
Fabrik: You always have terrific artists- how do you find them?
M: Version: Sometimes I find them and sometimes they find me, but I think more come our way through word of mouth from our participating artists and patrons throughout the years.
Fabrik: If you could give some simple advice to an emerging artist – what would that be?
M: Produce a lot of work and then edit down your selection to your strongest pieces, as well as organize your pieces into series. I think the majority of artists out there are weak in the editing process as they are emotionally connected to each piece of art and find it hard to let go of one in order to make a stronger exhibition.
Fabrik: Who is your typical CF attendee, your clientele?
M: That’s hard to identify because we attract all walks of life to our shows. Our crowd is very eclectic and I think most have a trend-setting mind, and are curious about the creative energy in our city. A typical attendee wants to know what’s new and what’s next in the LA art scene. Our largest demographic falls between 25 and 45 year-olds.
Fabrik: Is there anyone you admire in the LA Art scene, or anyone who has been a significant help to you and your cause?
M: That’s a hard one to answer… The obvious are the leaders in the current art movement over the years, as without them nothing would happen and the art scene would not be where it is today in Los Angeles. The other obvious answer would be the Create:Fixate Board of Directors, all of whom have given a tremendous amount of support over the years. And I would love to mention art critic/writer Shana Nys Dambrot, who has supported us since the early days and now writes an ARTicle monthly series that is hosted on our website called “Urban Scrawl”.
Fabrik: Who are your key people and what do they do?
M: Andrea Graham is our music director and a bit of a co-founder as she has been by my side since day one. She curates and manages all the musical talent for each show. She is also a school teacher and helps drive our community outreach programs for teens and at-risk youth along with Janice Markham, from Vox Box Collective. As mentioned, the Create:Fixate Board of Directors are very active in decision making along with collaboration on the show themes and program development. Justin Edwards, who started off as an intern many years ago has now become my assistant producer / curator in crime and one awesome volunteer coordinator. It’s been amazing to see him grow over the years and become a driving force in helping us achieve each production. There are many more people I can mention but then we’ll have to write a book, as I have stories about how each has contributed. I may be the founder and the driving force behind Create:Fixate, but I certainly could not do this alone. I am very grateful for the amazing community around us.
Fabrik:Where do you see Create:Fixate in 5 years? What are your goals?
M: We are working hard on securing proper funding for all our programs. I would love to find us a permanent home… Perhaps a large building with a gallery, art studios, and a workshop area, where we can host classes and seminars on a consistent basis…. A place where the Create:Fixate community can interact with each other more often. I also have great ideas on redesigning our website to offer more online to the public.
Additionally, We already have quite a few gallery owners and curators that scout talent at Create:Fixate, but I would love to see more and more attend our exhibits. I still think a handful shy away from us because we combine art and music but may not realize that our format is respectful to both mediums and the environment we produce is very much a professional gallery setting that maintains an intellectual value.
Thank you Michelle Berc! I am more impressed with you than ever, and I wish you more success, more art sales, and more appreciation from the LA art scene.