Artist Uprising Pivots to
Focus on Telling Artists’ Stories

Merrick Porcheddu originally founded Artist Uprising to be a social network for local artists, but now she's imagining a more content-driven startup centered on highlighting tales of local creatives.

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Merrick Porcheddu’s Artist Uprising magazine exceeded all expectations to the point that she’s completely changed her immediate plans for the startup.

Porcheddu initially intended the company, Artist Uprising, to be a social network for local artists in Dallas to show off their portfolio, sell their work, and promote upcoming events.

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Oil and Cotton co-owner and instructor Shannon Driscoll holds a copy of the Artist Uprising magazine. [Photo courtesy of Artist Uprising]

The magazine of the same name was intended to be the marketing arm for the app by highlighting the top 25 most influential creatives in Dallas-Fort Worth. In the inaugural edition, stories of local creatives such as artist Sergio Garcia, glassblower Carlyn Ray, and chef Junior Borges were told.

But, when the magazine hit the shelves in February, it sold out in five days and quickly became a collectors item, forcing Porcheddu to rethink her strategy.

This month, Artist Uprising suspended the app in the Apple Store while promising big things in the future. When it relaunches in the next few months, it will feature a full digital download of the Artist Uprising magazine and, eventually, weekly podcast interviews with local artists.

“We’re already starting to plug different artists who are getting big deals.” 

Merrick Porcheddu

“The publication has taken off a lot more than the technology,” Porcheddu said. “We’re really going to be going a lot more content driven. They’re looking more at us as people who are scouting talent and so we’re really trying to recreate the model of our business. We’re already starting to plug different artists who are getting big deals.”

SOCIAL NETWORK FOR CREATIVES WILL LIVE ON

It’s a major change for a company that’s just marking its first anniversary. She launched the company in May 2016 as CreateGate before changing the name to Artist Uprising.

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Artist Uprising wants to feature stories about creatives of all types from fashion merchandisers to filmmakers. [Photo courtesy of Artist Uprising]

The original dream of creating a social network that blends the features of LinkedIn with Instagram still lives, but Porcheddu wants to make it scalable so it can be replicated in other cities. The app had about 3,000 users before Porcheddu took it down so there’s pent up demand for that kind of network.

Angela Ross, COO and business partner for Artist Uprising, said they had lengthy discussions before deciding to make this change.

“It’s okay if it morphs and changes,” Ross said. “It’s really easy to hold on to one idea and not let go of it because it was the initial idea.”

DEMOCRATIZING THE ART WORLD

Artist Uprising is seeking $2 million in Series A funding so it can build the app that it wants.

“We’re seeking fundraising to do what we need to do from a technology standpoint to scale it,” Porcheddu said. “Our heart is to really be able to express the true heartbeat of the Dallas art scene. We really look forward to doing New York and other cities.”

“Our heart is to really be able to express the true heartbeat of the Dallas art scene.”

Merrick Porcheddu

Meanwhile, they are also busy curating and preparing for the 2018 edition of Artist Uprising. It will feature local creatives of all types, including culinary artists, tattoo artist, fashion merchandisers and filmmakers. They hope to release an early copy in December so it can be given as a Christmas gift, and have it on the stands by February.

Their goal is to democratize the art world and tell the stories of lesser-known artists.

“It’s very easy for creatives, specifically, to lose heart, especially in a day and age where your creativity can be ripped off so easily,” Porcheddu said.

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A copy of the inaugural magazine sits on a table at The Wild Detectives in Dallas. [Photo courtesy of Artist Uprising]


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