Arts Help is pleased to announce Jake Murphy as a member of its 2023 Advisory Board. Jake is the founder of Clokkemaker, a social enterprise that aims to create tech solutions to help change the world. As a creative director and entrepreneur, predominantly active across music, tech, media and fashion, Jake firmly believes in the implementation and role of art and its effect on social change.
How would your closest friend/family describe you in one sentence?
Big love or great energy.
What characteristics of your favourite artists do you think you possess?
I was obsessed with clocks. Hence why the Clokkemaker thing, but there was a guy named John Harrison who solved the longitude latitude problem. I'm not comparing myself to John Harrison at all but I like connecting dots and problem-solving. I think in terms of the way I can see my life sort of heading towards, I think whilst it's very sort of music orientated, tech orientated, social impact orientated, now, I can see it probably leaning further and further into this idea of just doing good because that's just the natural space and everything else is kind of a vehicle to get there.
One of my favourite artists is Kehinde Wiley cause he's very well-researched and he is a phenomenally educated visual artist. But he's also managed to infuse culturally relevant subjects within his work that clearly have a very strong defined message and point of view
So again, not comparing myself to Kehinde Wiley, I can't even draw. So however we can use, I guess, the things we love to try and ultimately affect positive change, then I'm always down for that.
Best advice ever received or most memorable quote (and by who)?
There's an African proverb that says, "Each one teaches one" and that's always really stuck with me.
I think this idea of just, "being kind," it's not that deep. So try and show love wherever possible. I think that's stuck with me and if you were to come into my circles, I think that would be the theme that you would probably take away.
There's a lot of love, there's a lot of the good energy vibe but also, where possible, that should be the only way to operate.
Using only one word, how would you describe Arts Help?
Which artwork from your favourite artist/general has touched your life?
In terms of art, that's so broad, right? So it can compass so many different things. I think being introduced to certain music was like a big thing... I could reel off a lot of different people, it's not really around one particular album or artists or different things, but there've been definitely certain records.
I've always loved the idea that you can tell the history of a country through its music. It can be weaponized, but ultimately it's a means to bring people together and to communicate effectively. Now looking at it, I think it's going to be one of the really important drivers to affect technological change and societal change because you have a captive audience and you can do a lot with that.
How do you think the way we view and perceive art is going to be transformed in the digital age?
I don't think it will. I think that the reality is that - we can strive for efficiencies when we look at digital assets.
When you look at artists, predominantly secondary markets, right? Take a sort of basic blockchain application to log when somebody buys a piece of art, and then it's sold and sold. Therefore, that IP has been passed on without the original artist ever getting anything from it and so that's a very simple application to make sure that the equity for the artist stays intact which I think is important. So, potentially then, there is more value placed on the original creator. The creator is always present no matter when that [artwork] is/ if it's ever sold on down generations. There's more of an interest to go, 'Okay, who made this?'
With anything that's kind of come out from the digital landscape, for example, music. If Spotify democratizes access to a degree... I think part of their mission statement was for billions of people to listen to music.
So, you've got so much more visibility of art. I think it's a good thing and a bad thing sometimes because it becomes noisy and you have to kind of buy your way through. But I think ultimately, in the past, it's in the same way that music was governed by like, you had to release with a major label otherwise nobody saw your art or no one validated your art. In the art world, you have to be in a certain gallery, and you have to do this. I think what it does is sort of allows people to be more creative and ultimately give more visibility to artists.
What is one misconception about Artists and/or the art industry?
I'm going to relate this to an example. If you look at the statistics from Spotify, in terms of the artists that make a living (make a living in inverted commerce), there is rough, as of 2021 data, there were about 1,050 artists in the world that generated a million dollars plus a year through streaming. Then there were about 54,000 artists that generated $10,000 a year plus. So, a potential misconception is that if the industry is great, then the creators are all great. Whereas if we isolate that amount, if we were to assess how many creators there are globally and the reason why streaming is more relevant in music cause it is now 88% of all music revenue in the US, the actual figures for people who are at the top and making a sustainable living is much smaller than people maybe would think.
I would say in a more sort of traditional art landscape, especially in the digital space as well, when that sort of came through, at first when people were talking NFTs and it was kind of like an opportunity for designers and talented people to start to have an audience to sell their art, that definitely happened. I knew people that literally sold pieces for 10-15, ethon. It was great. Then the inevitable sort of switch happened when the commercial landscape of the traditional art forums reentered the space and then what you saw is that again, that sort of small sliver at the top was making the money and everybody else was suddenly fighting over percentages of nothing.
So I think maybe there's a misconception. I think it's a bit like a Western world idea that people sometimes do. You have 12 per cent of the world's youth in the Western world and 88 per cent of the world's youth outside of it. So I think the same may apply to the art world across multiple fronts where people are too quick to forget that ultimately people need to be paid.
So maybe there's this devaluing of art in the same as it sort of becomes more accessible because it suddenly ends up being in this sort of TikTok space where everyone wants instant gratification and we just value things less.
What does creativity mean to you?
I used to think that wasn't creative at all and then my friend was like, 'No like you are literally creative.' I assume creativity was like you had a creative skill; you were a designer, you could draw and you could make films. You could do all these different things, or you have like a very defined thing. I think the reality is creativity can be in any field, in any environment, whether you're an accountant, whether you are an actual sort of creative director, whether you're like a filmmaker, whatever it is. I think ultimately it's the ability to appreciate that rules are only for guidance. The ability to ultimately try and find new ways to navigate and be able to make connections and figure things out.
I think that there's creativity in just even trying. Without that, everybody would just go in straight lines.
What motivates you?
Since I started down the route that I'm at, about six years now, I've never sort of thought, 'Oh, this is long.' I love learning. I think being able to be educated and to learn is a luxury and it's something that I get super into it.
I'm very like an all-or-nothing human being. I think motivation is, when you start to see problems ultimately, or when you start to look at things; I think this comes from when you travel and see different parts of the world and meet different people and all these different things, it changes perspective. Then you either do something with that information or you choose not to.
I think the things that I have seen so far, I would like to change or improve or make better. So I think the motivation for me is to always kind of improve myself a little bit, always working towards being a better human being in terms of like doing more stuff, contributing whatever and also building a better environment or for everybody that I come into contact with.
We have a phrase at Clokkemaker that says, "Do well do good," and it's ultimately this idea that being commercially successful and on all these things is great and people shouldn't feel bad about it, but ultimately this idea of doing good and having a positive impact, they should live synergistically versus these separate ideals that are kind of like a pity party and I should probably try and alter my moral compass down the line. I think it allows people to be much more directional and intentional with how they operate.
If you wear colour in a box of crayons, what colour would you choose to be and why?
I think yellow, purple and green. Yellow because it just feels like good energy it feels positive. I know greens are positive and purple's more like a powerful colour.
How can we bring diverse communities together through art?
I think people learn through inclusivity. They don't learn through taking shots and all these different things. I think art is ultimately a means of expression, it's communication. It's an opportunity... cause I think words can be changed and moved around sometimes it doesn't quite land. But when you communicate through whatever form of art that is, I think it's an opportunity to develop understanding to really sort of create positive environments for just discussion and learning. If it is done correctly, I think then you can change hearts and minds through art, which ultimately would lead to action and progression.
Of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which do you relate to most and why?
Gender and racial inequities are a big sort of piece for me. I think there's whole a criminal justice reform, which is not part of the SDGs, which I think kind of blends into that.
I think the very concept of sustainability is also a positive thing for people to actually give a shit about each other which is a big thing. Extreme poverty is one that stands out for a lot of reasons cause everything is linked to so many different problems.
I love the idea of connectivity. I think that connectivity will be one of the biggest drivers of societal change for so many different things in terms of redistribution of resources, people's locations in the world, where they stay and which sort of environments are more profitable than others.
How do you see the relationship between global activism and art?
As I said, all forms of art are a really effective way of communicating and I think what it does is f it communicates both literally, but also subconsciously.
Naturally, when something is visualized and people can see it, recognize it and digest it (it's a bit like the concept of representation) if you can see these things, the world naturally starts to adjust without maybe even realizing what it's doing it. I think that will inevitably move people to be more malleable that so everybody starts caring about it.
Again, it's that thing of some people will need commercial gains from it, they need a commercial outlook, and other people will need to see the positivity and the good that's coming from it.
But art is this beautiful segue where you can, you can visualize that, you can communicate it in the multitude of different mediums. So I, I would hope that they both[ global activism and art] have a positive impact on the other when they're talked about.
What makes Arts Help's purpose/mission meaningful to you and how does it align with your own values?
I think this whole idea of art for social good, for positive change, I mean, say less, not really. I think this idea of being able to, even whilst letting the SDGs sort of drive the business, I think being able to have that conversation and actually start to utilize art is dope. That's kind of the dream, right? You can provide a platform and opportunities for people that have those shared interests to be able to affect positive change. So I think, it's a perfect alignment in terms of what, we both want to be doing and it just needs to be more prevalent and everybody on it.
What does success mean to you in terms of your contribution as a board member?
I always want to be valuable. I think success is bringing more people into this sort of circle and this sort of thinking and environment. There are so many amazing things that you guys are. So it's about how do we utilize some of these platforms and products and different things to really start to look back at some of these SDGs and say, 'well, actually we have a reached a point,' but there's an argument that says, nothing is ever completed because every day you are trying to progress and develop and things change all the time so, there is a Fight to kind of keep it there if you ever get it to a point where it's looking pretty good. I think that there's a responsibility with that, as that grows, where if we can turn around and say, 'we have had metrics where we've actually affected X amount of people and drove this amount of change here and have some real sort of tangible results,' I think that's the case.
So the idea to impact everybody or as many people as possible, is what motivates me and what should motivate us versus just a kind select few.