Art Today were delighted – as always – to chat to the CEO of our Endorsement Partner this week. Rachel Verghis is the Founder of art tech company goo.ey, who specialise in producing innovative gadget cases with a particular feature – they stick to glass surfaces. This enables the perfect selfie or group shot for social media. Furthermore, the gadget cases feature collaborative artwork undertaken with the cream of contemporary arts. From Ai Weiwei to Kelly Hoppen, Henry Holland to Mary Benson, there seems to be no shortage of names who wish to contribute.
Rachel herself comes from a banking background, but transferred her business acumen to the arts when she was inspired by an artistic sabbatical 15 years ago. In 2008, goo.ey was born by chance when several of her business ideas merged together. She is also an Art Collector and Charity Fundraiser.
- How did goo.ey come about?
I was in NY a few years ago and saw this material. I remember thinking this would be great on an iPad so I could stick it on a window high up above my 2 year old Louis! Goo.ey was born!
- What drew you to the gadget business?
Almost by chance – see above – but I love the design process and was curious if it would translate onto cases.
- What inspired you to add art to gadget cases?
It seemed like a natural progression.
- How did you decide who you would collaborate with?
Ai Weiwei and Sophia Webster from the art and fashion worlds came by chance to us initially. It really set the scene for all the wonderful collaborations to follow. We are very fortunate to still get these opportunities.
- Who was the most fun to collaborate with?
Ai Weiwei and Amnesty – we really felt we were changing the world, no matter how small the act seemed at the time.
- Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
We try to do a charity a year now – Women for Women International, Great Ormond Street, Global Gift Gala. We are in talks with BCBN now (https://www.instagram.com/becoolbenice/?hl=en) to counter all this Trump vitriol.
- Can you tell us more about goo.ey’s work with Women for Women International?
My early years were spent in a small town in Malaysia – poverty and hardship was rife for so many – with the class divide very noticeable back then.
- Great Ormond Street Hospital holds a special place in Art Today’s heart – can you tell us more about your work with them?
We were very lucky to have done some cases for the brilliant designer Mira Mikati (www.miramikati.com). With her introduction we did a collaboration design for the charity – which by the way is still on sale… (http://www.gooeyhq.com/uk/collections/other/mira-mikati.html).
- Which is your favourite goo.ey case?
A collaboration we did for Denise De La Rue – an artist from the Gagosian stable (http://www.gooeyhq.com/uk/collections/art/denise-de-la-rue-traje-de-luces.html). It was a series of matador costumes, photographed straight after fights. Bloody and poignant – all beautiful images captured by her.
- Who thought of ‘grippy not sticky’?
One of my brilliant staff!
- Why ‘personal billboards’?
You choose a case because you connect with the message, the aesthetic, the design – a personal statement of sorts.
- Where would you like goo.ey to go next?
India – and I am slowly working my way there!
- You are described as an ‘art collector’ – What art do you collect?
Contemporary Australian mainly – I just bought a beautiful series from M Bozzec , a transgender artist based in Sydney (http://www.marinkabozzec.com/Marinka_Bozzec_Art.html).
- What is your art background/training?
None. I took a sabbatical from my day job in 2003 and worked for Gene Sherman – a formidable art gallerist and patron in Sydney. She changed the way I saw art. In fact on 17th September, I will launch a show for the brilliant artist Caroline Rothwell at the Shapero Modern space. The Chelsea Arts Club will also be showing her simultaneously.
- Who is your favourite artist?
Very difficult – though incredibly back in Love with James Turrell after seeing his show at MONA (https://mona.net.au).
- Do you have a favourite art medium?
I have a lot of photographic art.
- If you could invite any artist/s to dinner, who would that be?
- What would you like your legacy to be?
I have just been asked to project manage the building of a private museum in Iceland. We are in the initial planning stages.
- How do you think gadgets could embrace art in the future?
I see art in a lot of the design of gadgets already (the iPhone X is a work of art).
- How do you think art could embrace gadgets?
I funded a project called Self Portrait with Random International a few years ago. A mirror which engages the viewer, producing an ephemeral temporary artwork of themselves. I think the process has begun…
Art Today have had a fascinating time once again learning about Rachel’s unique arts philosophy and innovative ideas. We wish her luck with the Icelandic private museum and the Caroline Rothwell launch – although we’re sure she won’t need it. The Self Portrait mirror sounds genius.
[Credits: Feature Image – Rachel Verghis; gooeyhq.com; Twitter: @rachelverghis, @gooeyhq]
See our original goo.ey case review article here:-