“Happy people are creative people, and creativity is the heartbeat of innovation.” – Anthony Del Monte, President/Founder of Squeaky Wheel Media. Squeaky is a New York-based digital agency that specializes in marketing, design, and development- whose office happens to be set-up like a sweet art gallery.
How come a digital agency office is set up as an immersive art gallery experience? Ask Del Monte and he’ll say it happened rather organically. The office space is a historic, sparse warehouse on Manhattan’s Westside waterfront with concrete and lofty ceilings, perfect for creating gallery magic. He first saw it as an empty space with the charm of a meat locker. Del Monte felt the walls were screaming to him for color, movement and inspiration – and with that, an artistic work space was born.
AZ chatted with art aficionado Del Monte about his company’s exquisite collection.
Art Zealous: How do you think art enhances your office’s cultural vibe and the work your agency produces?
Anthony Del Monte: Most of the art is either Outdoor or Outsider but it all represents the artists’ demands to be heard. The art delivers a vibe of NYC in the 1980’s where anything and everything was possible. Unrefined, urban, gritty and full of possibility. It’s how we see ourselves, an agency full of misfit toys, that amidst the diversity and talents produce work that inspires. I believe the word is Gestalt.
AZ: How did you get into collecting?
ADM: Growing up in the NYC area in the late 70’s/80’s, I was witness to the vibrancy of so many intermixing movements like Punk, Hip-hop, Graffiti, New Wave, LGBT and the boldness of street fashion and spirit of expression. I couldn’t draw so I majored in Art History.
AZ: Do you have a personal art collection?
ADM: My agency, to a certain extent, is my life so I take it all in personally. But yes, I do have a collection at home as well which is somewhat more intimate and personal.
AZ: Is there a work of art you wish you owned?
ADM: An original Basquiat. In 1986 I had a chance to buy an original from his old roommate and couldn’t get my hands on a few thousand dollars for pieces that are worth millions today. I remember like it was yesterday pleading with my parents to lend me $10,000 when their house was worth that much. I guess I was a pre-collector.
AZ: What’s your favorite piece in the office?
ADM: DONDI Donald Joseph White, The Style Master “Iron Man Lives” 1993. Evidently, it was a storage bin find that came to auction and has become my prized possession. It was one of the last series of work the artist had done before he lost his life so tragically young.
AZ: What’s the most indispensable item in your office?
ADM: A ceramic statue of a pug we call Chippy. I found him in my parents’ home (think hoarders), and he has become our agency’s mascot. In fact, like Humpty Dumpty, he’s been painstakingly put back together far too many times to remember.
AZ: Any plans to add to Squeaky’s collection?
ADM: Last year we added our first mural by BUFFMONSTER and this year we were fortunate to meet NYCHOS and are working with him to work on a new piece for our office.
Down the line, we want to add a Futura2000 and a Zephyr. I believe that those two guys, along with Dondi, represent the apex of the 80’s graffiti movement and have inspired so many artists today.
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