This week, Izabela Depczyk debuted her new online art platform Her Clique, launching a collaboration with the artist Zoë Buckman. Conceived around three main pillars—promoting female artists, offering art at a more accessible price point, and supporting nonprofit organizations—the site will feature a new artist monthly, whose work has been commissioned especially for the platform.
Depczyk, who previously held the role of CEO of Paddle8 and ARTnews, chose to reappropriate the word “clique” in the hopes that Her Clique will become an all-inclusive hub for artists and arts patrons. Along with opening up the collecting market to a wider audience with lower pricing, each collaboration will give a portion of the proceeds to a not-for-profit organization, to be chosen by the artists.
Buckman’s commission, which will donate a percentage of sales to United Way NYC, includes two types of textile works—a series of small vintage handkerchiefs and a larger set of table runners, both bearing the artist’s signature embroidered poetry. To learn more about the debut collaboration and what to expect from the platform, we spoke to Depczyk and Buckman.
WHITEWALL: What led you to the conception of Her Clique? Did the COVID-19 pandemic have any effect or influence the process or launch of the platform?
IZABELA DEPCZYK: I started conceptualizing Her Clique in early 2019, so definitely in pre-pandemic times. Her Clique is really the confluence of my passions—building a hub that showcases and celebrates the work of women artists; helping to fundraise for vital nonprofits while creating an editorially forward platform to tell the stories of those artists.
The idea was always to offer great artworks at accessible price-points, thus opening up the art market to my generation. If anything, the pandemic only accentuated this approach.
WW: Will you approach each collaboration differently, or are you adhering to a general formula?
ID: The basic formula will be the same in that we will commission an edition of works from each artist we partner with and they will choose a nonprofit organization they’d like to support with a portion of the sale proceeds. The shape of the edition will of course be very bespoke and will look different depending on the artist’s work and how they conceptualize it.
WW: How did you come to choose Zoë Buckman as your first collaborator?
ID: I’m a huge fan of Zoë’s work first and foremost! She really embodies the spirit of Her Clique, she’s an ardent feminist and considers womanhood and female empowerment in a very visceral way. Her artworks are tactile, beautifully crafted and I thought she would be a great debut for the platform.
WW: What are your hopes for Her Clique in the near future?
ID: We are really focused on building a community and a true destination for the work of women artists. We say, “By Women, For All,” and we do truly hope that we can help to elevate and showcase the work of women artists for a wide audience of collectors and fans.
Right now, our plan is to debut a featured artist once per month, so that our community is being offered a steady stream of great art.
WW: How would you say your past positions helped prepare you to take on this project?
ID: This project is really of the coming together of my passions and it’s distinct from my past roles. When I left Paddle8 in the fall of 2019, I was eager to finally step out on my own and to build my own company from scratch.
Being at the helm of companies like ARTnews or Paddle8 in the past has certainly given me a foundation and tools for this endeavor, but those were companies with a lot of history and challenges of their own. With Her Clique, for the first time, it’s my concept and I’ve built it from the ground up and I am doing it on my terms, which has been very empowering.
WW: Zoë, what was your first thought when you were asked to take part in Her Clique’s debut collaboration?
ZOË BUCKMAN: It was when the pandemic first hit, and I was pleased to embark on a collaboration that had a philanthropic component to it! Art that impacts social change or gives back has always been important to me, but it’s even more of a priority as we navigate this new reality.
WW: You’ve said the platform really resonates with you. What about Her Clique’s mission is most significant to your life and practice?
ZB: I’ve always strived to find ways to transcend the art world and art market with my work, as well as operating within the system of the art industry. The opportunity to create editions that are priced for a more diverse audience than your typical art collector is exciting to me.
I’ve chosen a charity that benefits survivors of domestic abuse in NYC. The topics of domestic violence, the home, how systems of power impact upon the female experience, etc., have always been explored within my practice.
WW: Your works for the collaboration include two series—150 embroidered handkerchiefs and an edition of three larger works. Tell us about these.
ZB: During lockdown, I found the experience of being limited and controlled triggering. I was reminded of a poem I had written some years ago when I felt particularly held back, so I began making new work using some of the text from that writing as well as exploring the concept of the wild feminine and the Jungian Shadow.
For these editions I took the line, “and at night I stopped sleeping without dreaming of running,” and embroidered it onto vintage domestic textiles—in this case handkerchiefs and table runners. I continue to be fascinated by the fabrics that women use within the home of hold close to them, the real stories that have been woven into those pieces over the years.