Plate of Love by Hanna Santhi
Hilary Sedgwick and Kenny Kim, two (recently engaged!) local creative types with a penchant for photography and design are the founders and creators of the Masterpieces Made Simple Gallery. The MMS Gallery is a showcase for everyday folks who capture great pictures with their mobile phones, with each showing focused on a particular theme. I caught up with Hilary and asked some questions about the project while she prepared for the next gallery opening… which focuses on food!
Tell me about the MMS Gallery! Where’d the idea come from? How did you get it started? How does it work?
The gallery idea came to life one night over beers. Kenny and I were sitting in Prohibition Taproom and we had been talking about technology and the iPhone; nerding out basically. I am not sure what the exact cause of the idea was but I know by the end of the night Kenny and I were trying to figure out what the next steps were to make this idea a reality. From working at O3 World, I knew there was an empty space in front of the office that was perfect to hold the gallery shows. All we needed to do was develop the brand, get the website up and try to generate some public interest to get the shows going.
MMS stands for Masterpieces Made Simple, but it was also a play on words. MMS was a nod to photos being taken with a mobile phone but reworked to honor the concept behind the gallery, the idea that everyone is an artist. As mobile technology continues to evolve, so does the medium’s relevance in the art world. Some would consider it a travesty to think of the mobile phone as a means to create art. We celebrate it. Moments that were once overlooked or bypassed because a person didn’t have a camera can now be captured and shared because of emergence of phone technology. It’s these moments that nurture relevance regardless of whether the person who captured it considers themselves to be an artist or not.
Sour Patch Jelly Beans by Leslie Grace
Our gallery allows the public to take a photo and submit it using their mobile phone or computer. Once the photo is submitted, it is displayed in our online gallery for the web to see and share. At the end of a submission period, all images submitted are reviewed by Kenny and me. We select 248 photos based on subject matter and quality of image to be displayed for 3 months in the gallery space. It’s an opportunity for people to share images they’re proud of, that make them laugh, that are significant to them and have others appreciate them too.
What’s been the best part about putting together/hosting MMS?
Seeing all the submissions really. You begin to see how different peoples lives are, what they relate to and what they are passionate about. Receiving images from all over the world has allowed us to be a part of someone’s life for a moment that they have chosen to share. What I may eat for lunch will be different than someone in China or Israel.
I have also really enjoyed the fact it is open to anyone. Deep down I think everyone has a creative side; everyone has the desire to express themselves. The MMS Gallery really wanted to honor that and allow anyone to participate. No matter how old or where you live, you can capture a moment and share it. I think that’s pretty powerful.
This is the last gallery for now, right? Any themes you still want to cover? Do you have any future plans?
Yes, this is our last gallery show. When we launched the MMS Gallery we were unsure what was going to happen with it; how the general public was going to respond. We planned on it being a one year experiment and then seeing how we wanted to handle it from there on out. But the response was overwhelming, people were really excited about the gallery. Without the help of O3 World, Tiger Printing and other past sponsors, it would not have been able to fully grow. We are very thankful for their contributions because they helped our vision come to life.
Elmo Eggs by Abigail Ee
We are not ready to say the MMS Gallery is finished for good but we are just unsure of the exact future of it. There has been talk of pop-up galleries in the future or possible partnerships but nothing has been finalized. We do know we would like to keep it alive to some degree.
Ok, since this particular gallery focuses on food, let’s get to the important stuff. What’s your favorite restaurant in town? Favorite dish?
Oh wow… favorite restaurant in town? I wish I could pick based on food categories really. If I had to narrow it down though, I think it would have to be Modo Mio. I have never been disappointed by the food there and in many cases, because the food is so well done and I trust the chef, I have eaten foods outside my comfort zone. I swore I would never eat tongue again but I have had it there… twice in fact.
Favorite dish would come from somewhere else. I have developed a major love for Korean food in the past two years. To the point I call it my comfort food. So I would have to say the Bibimbap from Giwa is my fan favorite.
The third and final MMS Gallery opens Thursday, July 14th at 7pm. Beer and wine will be served, along with light snacks. The gallery is located at 1000 N. Hancock St, in the Piazza at Northern Liberties. Stop by and say hello to Hilary and Kenny, enjoy and drink, and check out some great pictures! See the MMS Gallery website for more details.