The internet provides a huge number of creative ways for tech-savvy audiences to communicate. Armed with their smartphones, the connected can easily share their stories, and document their worlds. Sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine promote visual sharing and creativity. As users opt for new and different ways to illustrate their lives, it could be said that in this age, we are all artists.
For the professionals of the art world these sites provide a forum for artists to share their work, and engage new audiences. Digital platforms and marketplaces showcase the works of rising talent, and can also provide a revenue source for these artists.
A growing appetite for art in the digital age can be satisfied through various mediums; writing, photography, videos, music, and much more. New York based DADA.nyc is an online platform where artists and art enthusiasts can converse with each other through drawings, fostering storytelling and creativity.
We spoke to DADA’s founder, artist and entrepreneur, Beatriz Ramos.
What is DADA, who can use it, and how does it work?
Dada is the place where people can draw together and speak visually. Anyone can make a drawing directly on our platform from anywhere in the world and post it. Other users then respond to that drawing with their own creations. This builds conversations that are based on drawings, rather than traditional text. It creates visual stories with surprising twists, or free-flowing thematic sequences.
DADA is a gamified social platform, so people accrue points the more they contribute to the community. This gives them the opportunity to improve and gain experience . It lets artists tell stories through drawings. Soon, they will also be able to license the content they create on the network.
Image: Part of a drawing sequence made by different artists.
DADA is free for artists. We have around 100,000 users, and 50,000 different drawings. People on DADA range from those who just like to doodle, to amazingly talented professional artists. In addition, on our blog we showcase works from rising stars, such as accomplished Chilean artist Susana Riveros, also known asOtro Captore, and Cromomaníaco, a true master at light and shadow, with a very powerful style.
Images: Artwork from Otro Captore & Cromonoaniaco, as seen on DADA.nyc.
On DADA, users can invite or find artists they already know, follow popular conversations, or start drawing, using any inspiration or taking initiative from our daily drawing challenges. We believe that the best way for artists to promote themselves is by creating. DADA gives them a space to do this, and connects them through their shared passion for art.
How have you seen online behaviors evolving, and how has this paved the way for DADA?
The internet is becoming increasingly visual. With emojis, gifs and memes, and apps like Instagram and Vine, people are communicating more and more through images. It’s almost as if a new, more universal visual language is evolving. Because of the enormous reach and virality of social media, people are quickly catching on to visual communication, and they are doing this in incredibly creative ways. DADA is designed to help democratize art, make it more accessible to everyone, and help artists thrive in this interconnected world.
What type of art and conversations can people explore through DADA?
There is really no limit to the different forms of expression, and the type of art we showcase. People who draw on DADA truly express themselves with their imagination, feelings and sense of humor. We have everything from magical characters, surrealist sequences, fan art, realistic drawings, cartoons, horror stories, and even cat selfies and memes. We have many stories, many styles, and many artists responding to each other, collaborating and creating friendships through art.
What was the original concept behind DADA, and how did you personal journey lead to this?
I’m both an artist and an entrepreneur. I have created illustrations for the New York Times, worked on animated series for MTV, Disney and Cartoon Network, exhibited my paintings in New York City, made comics, illustrated children’s books. I have worked as a photographer, set designer, sculptor, live action and animation director and even made puppets from scratch in Prague.
I founded Dancing Diablo Studio in 2002. As the creative director, I’m responsible for the fresh style that characterizes our work. I’ve directed over 100 animated spots including TV commercials, promos and videos for the web for clients such as Coca Cola, Macy’s, Kraft, Sesame Workshop, Hasbro and many more.
DADA was founded in 2012 and it is my third startup: it’s a creative playground where visual people can do what they love most and are best at, they can connect and collaborate with each other and, as a byproduct, get a check every month without having to sell or self-promote.
The founding team is also comprised of our CTO, Abraham Milano, who is in charge of developing our proprietary visual conversation platform, and Yehudit Mam, who is our Communications Director and has a background in writing and advertising.
Image: Artwork by Beatriz Helena Ramos.
How does your product differentiate itself from the current alternatives?
There really is nothing like DADA out there. There are many drawing apps, but no one else is attempting to foster conversations through this activity. There are sites where people share their photos or their art, but they are not truly collaborative. There are also sites where artists can showcase portfolios of their existing work, but none where potential clients can see their imaginations at work, how they express themselves as they play with others, how well they can collaborate and tell a story with images.
How are new technologies supporting artist growth?
It is a challenge for talented artists today to achieve recognition, and respect. We think that art should be encouraged in everyone. Technology today can be used to help creators find new sources of inspiration, amazing tools for creation, collaboration and even income.
What trends currently excite you in this industry?
We are excited by the proliferation of visual modes of communication online, as well as any new developments in digital drawing tools and drawing apps.
What is your for future growth and development of your product?
We have very powerful engagement levels and are currently focusing on achieving growth and virality. We will be launching our mobile app for iPad soon. We hope to grow DADA.nyc into a talent marketplace with a million users by the end of this year, where people looking for artwork can connect with artists from across the globe.