If there’s one positive thing we can take away from this year, it's that through the pain and hardship, new cheerful endeavors were born.
Gossypion (Gossy) Investments, founded by Darryl Ratcliff and Maya Crawford, is an agency that aims to represent artists while helping communities and businesses thrive together — something the pandemic helped remind us we needed.
As a writer and artist, Ratcliff knows more than most the mind tricks 2020 has played on artists' psyches.
“The urge to self-sabotage is strong,” he says. “I’m always happy when anyone, particularly creatives, can live their truths because sometimes they’re not everyone’s truths. We want to involve the role of culture in society.”
The first pursuit Gossy launched is currently running at The Joule hotel until Jan.1. In order to wrap up a less-than-fortunate year for many, they’ve partnered with Headington Companies for a holiday exhibition called Cheer!.
In four site-specific installations where visitors can interact and take photos, female artists and artists of color were tasked with creating sensory experiences that define the holiday season.
Upon entering the exhibition, you’ll find Jennifer Wester’s “Chatter & Wit” installation, where she used mirrors, Tyvek and acrylic to create a whimsical room reminiscent of a winter wonderland. In the next room, you’ll make your way through Jessica Bell’s “300 Balloons” display. Among a black background, the artist created a party-like scenery full of balloons with streamers on the sides, drawing the mind to the celebrations of the coming New Year’s Eve.
“I’ll Never Tell” from Outloud allows visitors to walk up steps full of vintage furniture and take pictures with a retro phone that speaks to you when you pick it up. The final installation by Chloe Curiel x Iam450, “Seated Together,” includes a gravity-defying installation of vintage chairs and classic fabrics arranged in a geometric design that extends nearly to the ceiling.
While Gossy’s first venture has been to conjure some cheery feels through artist collaborations, they have bigger plans for the future of the company. Ratcliff believes art can bring a sense of culture into businesses, while businesses provide work for local artists.
“Say someone is looking to enrich the outside of their business,” Ratcliff explains, “we’re going to help them find an artist to create a mural outside — that’ll ultimately bring more people to their business.”
The founders also mean to uplift minority artists, and that commitment is represented in the company name, Gossypion Investments.
“There might be a story behind it,” Ratcliff says with a laugh. The word gossypium, he says, is an old Latin word for "cotton." While Dallas was one of the largest inland ports for cotton, this word also has great meaning for the founders of Gossypion Investments, as two Black descendants of slaves.
“Cotton trade started the global economy as we know it," Ratcliff says, "we asked ourselves, what does it mean to navigate Dallas, what does it mean for a city built on stolen land by stolen labor.
“We wanted something that didn’t just reflect our past but our future, as well," Ratcliff continues. "And cotton has meaning around the world. Cotton is relevant in every culture: It’s an incredibly versatile material, it’s strong and soft. And as a material, it’s all these different things, just like us.”
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