The American visual artist and sculptor, Ann Scango, creates a range of texturally complex and 3D creations that have been recognized across the state of Texas. Ann’s short resume: Firestar Austin fellowship 2010-2015, stay at home mom 2015-2016, proud art curator and founder of Scango Collection 2016-2018.
Fusing together the molding and the collage techniques to explore a dynamic range of industrial materials, Ann Scango works with polyurethane foam as well as resources she finds around the city of Austin, like twigs from Zilker Park or mulch from her own garden. Not only do these materials inspire her to break out of the traditional boundaries of sculpture, they also lend a hand to Ann to put down roots in the capital city, Austin, Texas.
Growing up with the encouragement from Lady Bird Johnson to appreciate and tend for the environment, Ann Scango tries to capture her own vision of Texans’ relationship to their environment. By utilizing this range of natural and processed materials Ann invites her audience to awake again the shared consciousness of humanity- to reflect upon the role it occupies on Earth.
The experience of Ann Scango pieces is dualistic in nature: Scango questions the consumeristic culture with an unconscious but present sense of optimism. The works is intended to challenge and open to interpretation. When Scango chooses her objects to build from, the theme that runs through both her 3D and 2D works is the importance and inherent link between Human and nature.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I guess from my mother’s perspective, I’ve been making art since my youth. My childhood was equal parts time spent in the garden- dirtying every article of clothing I ever owned even my white Sunday clothes- and time spent drawing and playing with my mother’s art supplies. I established from an early age, an intense connection to my environment and an impulse to protect it. Founding the Scango Collection Austin, one of Texas’s all-female collections, was the result of all of my passions: art, motherhood, female empowerment, environmentalism, and conscious pieces of artwork.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took a long time to bet a strong financial footing, establishing a gallery of any genre is initially difficult. Luckily I had a great deal of support from family, friends, and incredible donors who shared my vision for a gallery like this. Because of the artist development and classes, the organization has a stable profit model that allows me to buy a range of artwork from more established female artists to pieces from relatively unknown artists starting out.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I had no doubt that I would be able to fulfill this dream in some shape or form, maybe not to the scale in which it exists today, but even some small version of this organization was completely achievable from the beginning. Of course, I have doubts that the project will survive long enough for me to accomplish everything I could wish for, but I am thankful for everything that my team and I have been able to achieve up until this point. I would take the worry of this profession over any other job because the benefits of this job are unparalleled.
How did you get your first customer?
Probably my father. I think I tricked him into buying one of my first pieces post-art school when I was really willing to put my work out more publically. I figured I start within my comfort zone. The first piece of art I bought for the gallery was a piece I found in a garage sale in a small garage sell halfway between Round Rock Texas and Houston. It was a beautiful landscape of Enchanted Rock outside of Fredericksburg. Enchanted Rock was where my husband proposed to me so at the time buying an unknown piece with this site; the whole thing felt commemorative and noteworthy.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
If you are trying to establish yourself in the art world you have to promote yourself on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, or build your own website. Sharing platforms that are visually oriented are more effective than the Twitter platform which prefers written rhetoric, compared to Instagram that allows for consistent and operative storytelling through pictures. Many curators and gallery owners also find raising talents on these platforms to buy new works and see what the new themes are generated among artists.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Recently, when faced with a strong desire to satisfy my own creative side and the recent success of the Scango Collection, I made the tough decision to cut back time at the gallery to spend creating. I realized that I build character and fulfillment both through the empowerment of other women, supporting their work in the canon of modern art, but also through my own self-empowerment. Creating is essential to who I am. When I confine that urge to create something new, I am faltering in my overall life balance.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think my keen eye for solid, thoughtful, and evocative pieces is what sets my practice apart from others. Where others may remain complacent in identifying and portraying themes, I am always on the look-out for the next paradigm of art the public will embrace and support the advancement of human creativity.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Certainly being stable enough to afford better tools for me to work with and invest in riskier pieces that otherwise would be outside of my price range.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
As of now, with a renewed advocacy movement, I am seeing a positive future for this business. I am most excited to see how the next generation of female artists tackle the social problems we, right now, can’t even predict. I am excited to watch artwork remain front and center in the progression of society towards peace and co-existence.
What business books have inspired you?
I haven’t read a ton of business books per se, but I can recommend the book version of the Rolling Stone review, the extended version, with Susan Sontag to think about writing, art, and life in truly innovative ways.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
Hand moisturized gloves! The clay and paint are constantly drying out my hands and my knuckles crack at least every other week.
What is your advice for new artists?
Make mistakes, take risks, and never stifle your voice.