KIM SIMMONSon, WAS 2009
After creating ten issues of the cool art magazine Wonderland and three years of running the contemporary gallery WAS it’s founders Sophie Hardinger and Simon Nygaard are closing-up shop and migrating towards new creative pastures.
Whenever there is an opening on at Absalonsgade 21, Copenhagen V, where WAS has been residing for the pas three years, the street is transformed into a festival-like venue full of young, happy, beer-drinking art lovers. For these kids, WAS has been a much sought after initiative, a place where contemporary art is taken seriously, but kept at a comfortable and snob-free level – far away from any pedestals. For Sophie and Simon, WAS has been a heartfelt business-venture that is about to end.
I first met Simon when we were kids. We went to school together and lived in the same neighborhood. I first met Sophie when we shared an office space together at the very first ArtRebels-office in 2006. Her and Simon had just graduated from The Graphic Arts Institute and had decided to turn their bachelor-project, Wonderland Magazine, into a business idea. And it has been a joy watching these two from the sideline. The business quickly grew from magazine to agency in 2007 and gallery in 2008. They consider themselves “cultural entrepreneurs” and try to apply their Wonderland DNA “To inspire” to everything they do – whether it be a commercial project for a client or a subcultural art event.
Wonderland has definitely been a source of inspiration for a lot of people, myself included. And I was sad to hear that the gallery was closing and that there would be no more issues of Wonderland Magazine, but as the saying goes when one door closes, another one opens – and in this case it opens Smack! Boom! Bang! This wonder-duo is far from retiring and only out to stir up even more contemporary art madness in the years to come. They’ve got a brand new international, print and online magazine concept in the making and will be sinking their creative teeth into various collaborations and projects in and out of Copenhagen. Personally, I hope they will continue to be part of our Trailerpark Festival-family and do the legendary festival-publication Thundershit in the years to come.
At this cross road in the Wonderland-story, at the end of one era and the beginning of a new, we dropped by the soon-to-be-closed WAS gallery for a chat. Have a look at the video below where Simon and Sophie gives some advice and shares some insights into the challenges of running their own creative business, the process of developing Wonderland / WAS as a company and how they prefer to dive head first into creative business endeavors rather than to over-think the strategy too much.
Video by Flemming Bo
Visit company website: MadeInWonderland.dk