Since its launch in 2012, Los Angeles-based online art gallery Tappan has been showcasing exceptional works by emerging talent, taking a fresh approach to selling and collecting contemporary art.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine art, aspiring artist and founder of the digital platform Chelsea Neman Nassib identified an all-too-common gap in the market. “I found very little resources in place that would help support me while pursuing a career in the arts,” she says. “The concept of Tappan was a clear win-win. There are a lot of physical restraints of a traditional brick and mortar, like how many artists you can show at a time, the value of the work you need to sell in order to make rent, the physical location of the gallery and how many people will come by. Online has different drawbacks, but has a much greater potential for a much greater reach. Our artists have global exposure and collectors around the world. That access to sharing your expression and practice is invaluable.”
Jonni Cheatwood. Man, That’s Times New Roman. 2019. Oil, acrylic and fabric on canvas. 43cmx43cm
Tappan serves to break down the barriers which limit artists and collectors from finding each other. “That connection happens through a multitude of mediums, whether you find us on social, learn about us from a fellow Tappan collector or come across one of our artists and want to purchase their work with the ease that online provides,” explains Nassib. “We want to reinvent the approach to discovering and collecting contemporary art while fostering and supporting the careers of exceptional emerging artists.”
Some budding artists which Tappan has shed a light on since its establishment include Evan Robarts, Amanda Charchian, Dean Levine, Jonni Cheatwood and Heather Day. “It’s exciting to be a part of the artist’s journey toward growing and selling their work,” shares Nassib. “It’s what really inspires our team to come into the office daily.”
Alyssa Krause. Ghost Bed. 2018. Oil on canvas. 60cmx60cm
While Nassib appreciates physical art spaces, she feels a digital platform fosters a greater connection with an artist and a collector. “I love both, but I love the intimacy that the online space provides,” she says. “We focus a great deal on storytelling and on Tappan, if I love a piece, I immediately get to go into that artist’s studio and read about their practice and connect with them. I definitely don’t think you need a strong knowledge of art to appreciate it, that’s like saying I need to know every Beethoven concierto to love ‘Fur Elise.’ The online space removes that red tape, a key goal in our mission.” Through Tappan, Nassib hopes to spread the message that the only art pieces that should be acquired are the ones that speak to the buyer, rather than the one that is ‘popular’ in another’s opinion.
Some of the latest works acquired by the platform include Man, That’s Times New Roman (2019) by Los Angeles-based painter Jonni Cheatwood, They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds (2017), a watercolour, gouache and collage on paper work by New York-based artist Alexandra Karamallis and Ghost Bed (2018) by Wisconsin-based artist Alyssa Krause.
Chelsea Neman Nassib
“I have met so many artists because of Tappan, most recently Umar Rashid and Helen Rebekah Garber who have joined our roster,” says Nassib. “These two LA-based artists have so much depth and life within their practice. Garber is a painter, working with a special texture technique that references her family’s cultural background. Simultaneously she is tying in her work as a neonatal nurse, commenting on the female experience through a very poignant perspective. Rashid is rewriting colonial history from the eyes of those who were disenfranchised by Western expansion, and making them the victors. The world he’s creating is vivid and rich, which someone can escape to or contemplate on for hours.”
The entrepreneur’s love for art extends to her West Hollywood home, which is filled with art work by Cheryl Humphreys, Tyler Healy, Brendan Lynch, Rives Granade, Lola Rose Thompson, Satsuki Shibuya, Kelsey Shultis, Evan Robarts, Alice Quaresma and Clara Balzary, to name a few. “Most are current or past Tappan artists, which makes the collection even more meaningful to me,” she expresses. “We love how the artworks act as statements in our home. Our space is very minimal, with lots of natural textures.”
Alexandra Karamallis. They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds. 2017. Watercolor, gouache and collage on paper. 76cmx56cm
Nassib’s passion for the art world sparked early on in her life and it was nurtured especially by her mother, who herself is an artist, and a quote which Nassib always seems to find herself coming back to: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up,” she quotes Pablo Picasso, adding, “I suppose I never stopped.”
Images courtesy of Tappan and respective artists.