Art Blogger Behind 'Colossal' Branches Out
by elle eichinger
Christopher Jobson posts on his blog, Colossal, from a Yvonne Domenge sculpture at Millennium Park.
Christopher Jobson calls himself an “art outsider,” but there are at least two million people who would disagree: the readers of his runaway hit art-centric blog, thisiscolossal.com (known simply as “Colossal”). A Web designer for a Loop financial firm, Uptown resident Jobson jumped on the blogging bandwagon two years ago and joined countless other late-night, speak-their-mind techies with websites. The difference is that Colossal struck a real chord.
“I started by blogging about little design things: a really great font, a cool logo,” Jobson explains. He would occasionally post about a painting, photo, or sculpture that was especially striking; some posts provoked his dozen or so followers to repost and retweet until Jobson’s original post was bouncing around cyberspace. Then on January 1, 2012, Colossal hit the jackpot. Jobson, 31, blogged about The Obliteration Room, an interactive art installation by Yayoi Kusama in an Australian gallery. His blog post received millions of hits (and still remains the most popular post on the site). Since then, Jobson has written other multimillion-hit posts on art topics such as a kinetic sculpture of San Francisco made of 100,000 toothpicks by artist Scott Weaver and a series of carved book landscapes by Guy Laramee. Today, each of the 15 to 20 posts uploaded weekly are seen by hundreds of thousands of Web-surfers, and this month the blogger is set to open a Colossal-based retail store in Chicago.
It’s clear that with his tightly curated selection of posts focused almost exclusively on art, Jobson has found a niche in the blogosphere. Now attracting more than three million hits per month as well as Twitter mentions from celebrities such as Neil Patrick Harris, “the name has fulfilled itself over time,” says Jobson. When his post about The Obliteration Room went viral, the Queensland Art Gallery, where the exhibition was housed, credited Colossal for the influx of gallery traffic. NYC’s famous Art House Co-Op also approached him about curating a mobile version of its Sketchbook Project, for which he will select 1,000 filled sketchbooks from the tens of thousands housed in Co-Op’s library space. Called “A Landmark and a Mission,” the mobile tour launches in November and will make stops in Ann Arbor, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.
Back at home, the blogger’s retail concept for Colossal is set to launch this month. For the Colossal retail space, Jobson envisions a museum gift shop of sorts, stocked with design-centric objects such as toys, jewelry, and items for the home; he has a plan with a designer to create custom-designed Lego kits. The catch: Since Jobson will run the shop from his home, “everything’s going to be very tiny,” he says, laughing at the irony. “The Colossal-ness is going to be that it’s amazing.”
As for the future, says Jobson, “My dream scenario would be to one day get a gallery space that would run in conjunction with the blog. There’s so much room for growth.” Indeed, Jobson’s blog may be huge now, but it seems it’s only getting bigger.
photography by jimmy fishbein
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