Months ago I found myself at a restaurant in the Meatpacking District while a waiter made small talk with me. "Waiting for a old friend?" he asked. I paused before answering.Do you describe a person you only know through Instagram as an acquaintance or a good friend? Some would say I met Tracy Memoli and Laurance Rassin merely by chance, but in a small world made even smaller by social media, I don't think there are any coincidences.
My path crossed with Laurance Rassin on a beautiful summer day in Manhattan last August. I spotted an artist busy at work along the High Line and I stopped in my tracks. There is nothing better than seeing an artist standing at his easle, completely absorbed by his craft. I snapped a photo of the artist and posted it to Instagram with the hashtag "#ArtistAtWork".Before I finished my short commute from Chelsea to the East Village,my phone beeped with an Instagram notification."Great shot",the comment read."It's artist Laurance Rassin."Just hours after strolling the High Line,not only could I put a name to the face of the artist,I had a phone number and had an interview scheduled with him.The digital shift in the art world is undeniable and Rassin is riding the wave of social media.
Laurance Rassin is an artist whose talents know no limits. His works create "a sumptuous and color filled world, enveloping his audience in signature large scale impasto oil paintings, bronze sculptures,ceramics,film,tapestries,and textiles..." Beyond the canvas, he is "the first contemporary artist to preside over the closing bell at NASDAQ"and is the artistic director and founding member of The New Blue Riders (along with David Noah Burliuk).
Rassin's lastest venture has him drawing in audiences with his Youtube series "Mr.Background" and "Wine-1-1". It's this very endeavor that proves an artist's education never ends. Rassin and Memoli,an Elite Daily contributor and on-air correspondent for Dessert Professional, stood up to the challenge of mastering social media and how to use it to their advantage. The couple began taking classes at Google in Manhattan to learn the ins and outs of Youtube, how to build a channel and find the right audience.
Rassin's Wine-1-1 is a humorous spin on wine tasting. Rassin's writing and skits make the wine world less intimidating for viewers.What is even more appealing about Wine-1-1 is you don't have to be a wine drinker to enjoy this series. I can't tell a merlot from a zinfandel to save my life, and yet I found myself unable to turn this series off.
Memoli and Rassin are a modern digital couple that seek opportunity rather than waiting for it to knock on the door. They have built their audiences from scratch using social media and stand as proof that if you want it, you can do it. Gone are the days of needing a fancy studio or full (and expensive!) production team. Here is a passionate couple that took their talent and ran with it. The result is enthusiasm, humor, great material and entertainment served directly to viewers' digital fingerstips.
Oh, and a very Happy Father's Day from Wine-1-1.