Interview with Chris Hill
Chris Hill, a producer at Make Something Real Presents (MSRP) is coming out with a new iPhone application called Pushforward, which was created as a tool for artists and those who follow the arts to find one another and share resources, news, events and information. The Pushforward app is also going to be on Android starting this summer (2010).
Julie Andrijeski: So, tell us about the Pushforward application—how does it work?
Chris Hill: Pushforward and the Pushforward Social House publish stories about Film, Poetry, Art, Fashion, Music, Design, and Creative Projects. Our users can then comment on these stories, share them with friends using their Facebook or Twitter profiles, or send a thoughtful email to a friend who might enjoy it.
The Social House is our group of niche creative professionals and creative communities scouting for great stories. Theauteurs.com, for example, is all about enjoying film; foreign films, art films, and independent films. And we look for stories on sites like this.
JA: Why this application? What led you to want to promote an application for the arts?
Chris Hill: When I got my iPhone last summer I was amazed at how it was more like a mini laptop computer and less like a phone. I found an app called “Mashable” that published social media business news from multiple sources as a search tool for related content. I was hooked on the idea of bringing great content together into one destination.
JA: So how do you see interacting with the real world art communities, in terms of face to face stuff, galleries, etc.?
Chris Hill: For artists, musicians, designers, whatever . . . you can create a Facebook kind of world, but we’re talking artists and people who appreciate art. And you can have someone with an opening in London, in Los Angeles, in Chicago, you put a note out with some images, “Hey, there’s going to be this artist, this artist, this artist . . . and here are some screen shots of what they’re doing.” And if you’re in this neighborhood, make an announcement on your Facebook or Twitter, and tell people about it.
JA: So it connects easily to other social media?
Chris Hill: Yeah. It’s like a starting point. I see it as a starting point for self-promotion, too. I encouraged these other websites to participate in the news part of the app, what I named the “Social House,” and it’s basically a bunch of arts websites and communities in different categories. I think it’s relevant information for artists, whether it’s about film or poetry, art or music . . . it’s a creative community. I only know one site personally, out of all these groups. Everyone else I sought out and said, “Hey, I’m going to be publishing news on this app, would you be interested?” And about half the people I contacted said, “yes, tell me more.”
JA: Can you tell me more about MSRP (Make Something Real Presents)?
Chris Hill: MSRP is an idea to explain the whole point of being creative or producing art. Talk is cheap. Action has real value. Most artists, musicians, and designers know they have to make whatever is in their head into a reality. We are here to help them present it to an audience.
JA: Who do you see buying the “Pushforward” application?
Chris Hill: We are for people with a passion for art and new ideas. We are for people interested in contributing to Creative Culture and giving their opinions on the kinds of art we promote. Pushforward is a platform for them to communicate and push great talent forward.
JA: I saw that some of the money collected from app purchases will go to education and environmental non-profit groups—can you speak to the donation side, and how that fits into the overall business model?
Chris Hill: My hope is to increase awareness for these causes and encourage our community to get involved. My guess is that everyone in our community can paint good signs, make great posters, and seek out volunteer opportunities in their local neighborhood for causes they believe in.
Getting the Pushforward app should help everyone get into the mindset of their own need to contribute to society in their own way. Most starving artists have limited resources to donate money, but we do have resources for helping others in need. Our app donation is just a little push to start the motivation.
JA: I also saw it written in a few places that “All MSRP products are designed to help grow talent in the creative community.” Can you tell me more about that? How do you see this app growing and/or promoting new talent?
Chris Hill: When users have the tools and motivation to communicate their passion, ideas spread faster. We aim to provide the tools and help two-way conversations build into greater exposure for the arts in our news. We also aim to encourage study, professional advice, and teaching each other new things.
JA: How do you see the work of MSRP fitting into the overall sea changes occurring in publishing and the visual/other arts in general?
Chris Hill: Everyone has similar access to these communication tools. If we can build a system to use those tools for the arts, then maybe we can help an artist get into a gallery, a designer get in a showroom, or a musician get on a tour schedule.
JA: What are your specific visions of the future of how people consume/ experience art, given new technologies and social media?
Chris Hill: I want to help our community become a system of creative introductions, Skype video conversations, and video tours in art, craft products, and cultural destinations.
JA: Any other applications/ideas in the works?
Chris Hill: We have a video curation site and a select blog curation site in development. Both will have similar functions as Pushforward. We’ll also be on Android this summer.
JA: Last words?
Chris Hill: The more art you make, the less time you have for life outside your studio. Pushforward has the tools to link our community closer to each other through conversations and websites about the arts. I see it like having everyone in the world that thinks to read the “Arts” section of a newspaper first, in the same room.
Julie Andrijeski has published short stories in webzines based in USA and Australia, as well as nonfiction articles, including a cover story for NY Press. She’s also written a children’s story illustrated and published in a collection by bizarro fictionist Andrew Goldfarb entitled Ogner Stump’s 1,000 Sorrows. She recently completed the first installment of a graphic novel, Rook, with artist Allison McClay, as well as screenplay and novel versions of the same story and characters, and has worked on a number of short independent films. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with a disgruntled rabbit named Hazel, and a bird named Philemon who runs the joint.