Chrom-Art is a 100% volunteer run, London based social enterprise. Their mission is to support the development of emerging artists by enabling their work to reach broader audiences. Under the umbrella of 'urban art', and across all artistic forms, Chrom-Art work with artists who are conscious of the important role of art in society, and who want to change the world for the better through their work.
Chrom-Art first collaborated with RB12 founders, Dean Louw and Rafael Borrego, in 2015 on a development at Ransome's Dock in Battersea, London. Following the project's success, the teams have continued their collaboration at the RB12 Design Space in Shoreditch, with a rotating programme of exhibitions throughout the venue's two storeys.
"Both teams are extremely passionate about what we do and want people to feel moved emotionally when they enter our spaces," Chrom-Art Director Javier Melian explains. "Rafa and Dean have a daring vision and strong curatorial eye, and are committed to supporting undiscovered artists. From the very beginning it has always been a joy working together."
Shoreditch is at the epicentre of street art and urban art in London, and is an area of international reputation, which offers a fantastic platform and exposure for Chrom-Art's artists, but it's the interior environment of RB12 that is particularly exciting for Melian. From a curatorial perspective, it's Melian's belief that "art is a manifestation of the human spirit". Likening the practice of exhibiting art in traditional 'white cube' gallery spaces to taxidermists pinning the wings of butterflies to a board, Melian wants art to be alive.
"Art should be where people are, as part of our daily lives and part of our story. Where better to show art than in a non-alien, domestic environment like RB12."
Melian is passionate about creativity, and grew up in a generation that suffered 'educastration', (a term coined by a friend of his,) whereby education gradually kills creativity, and was steered by well meaning teachers and family members towards other career choices.
"You cannot teach creativity. Creativity is contagious. But you cannot truly kill creativity either. For me it fell asleep for 30 years, and it was only when I starting mentoring young artists, and I saw how art was their refuge and their dream, that I woke up. I went there wanting to help young people and I was the one that needed help to recover what I almost lost."
The issue of creativity being dampened and discouraged by society is a problem Melian believes endures today, despite it being tipped to become one of the top three most required skills for any job in the world by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum.
"Creativity means lateral thinking, emotional intelligence and the empathy that the world today is in so much need of."
Championing creativity is fundamental to the work of Melian and the Chrom-Art team. As well as exhibitions at RB12, the team organise the yearly TRIBE International Art Festival in Bermondsey, at Ugly Duck's unique Tanner Street warehouse, as well as publish CHROM Magazine that covers the London and Berlin art scenes with features and artist interviews. Right now is an especially exciting time for the team as they look to buy their own gallery space in central London.
The next exhibition at RB12 curated by Chrom-Art is Illusion by Italian artist Ireneo Frizzarin, which is on show from 12th July to 20th August 2018.