EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW & PLAYLIST: The Killers’ Ronnie Vannucci for the Loupe Art App

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Vegas Giovanni’s ‘Elemental of Earth’

If the art world can sometimes feel a bit rarefied or haughty, the proliferation of digital technology would seem to present the unique opportunity to expand its accessibility to people who don’t, say, have Richard Prince’s personal mobile number. To wit, the exhilarating new app Loupe – which has positioned itself uniquely as something of a high-tech curator. The numbers don’t lie – it was launched on Apple TV in December, and quickly rose to the #1 Lifestyle App in 30 countries (#2 in the U.S.), definitively proving its zeigeisty timeliness.

Founder Dot Bustelo explains, “Loupe applies streaming technology to visual art so you can be as immersed in art as we are with music. It expands that physical experience of great art – like that first visit to the Louvre – to infinite physical locations, times of day, and moods. Imagine walking into a faraway hotel or sexy cocktail lounge, and seeing extraordinary art streaming on ultra-thin LED displays and other ubiquitous multi-dimensional surfaces.”

Indeed, bringing together dozens of established and burgeoning artists, it offers users the opportunity to live with a smartly-chosen collection of contemporary works, which cycle across the screen of your computer, phone or television. Art is grouped by strikingly realized aesthetic or ideology categories (that’s the curating part) like Fragmented Reality, Urban Landscapes, The Human Form and Places Never Been, amongst others so ethereally named.

“It is pioneering,” says Loupe Curator Nicole Kutz, “but also capitalizes on already cultivated technology. When applied to art, it creates a virtual ambience that can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection. Art generates an experience the moment it is conceived, and Loupe harnesses that rhythm by imbuing our lives and living spaces with creative energy and flow. The viewer comes to the app as a recurrent escape, a means of effortless inspiration.”

Loupe also acts as a virtual gallery, connecting artists and art lovers by means of a virtual “market” – so one can readily purchase prints, and soon even the original pieces. Surely this seems like the future of art: allowing you to, in a sense, live with the works before you make a purchase…and admirably democratizing the interaction between the art world and the public.

Loupe already has some high-profile musician fans, including Jeremy Dawson from Shiny Toy Guns/MXMS, Nat Motte from 3OH!3…and Ronnie Vannucci of The Killers (whose side project Big Talk has released two albums, including 2015’s raucous, distinctly new wave influenced Straight in No Kissin’) – which makes sense, considering the obvious interplay between art and music that Loupe is able to facilitate so easily. We chatted with Vannucci about that very intersection of art and music, and he also created this exclusive Spotify playlist, meant to act as a soundtrack to our favorite Loupe Channel, the Dark Edge.

  • Nicole Kurtz 'Find Your Space'
  • Cara Wolinsky 'Jack'
  • Chris Alvanas 'Initiative'
  • Vegas Giovanni 'Elemental of Earth'
  • Erni Vales 'Style'
  • Matthew Evans 'Liquid Zebra Combination'
  • Sacha Dean Biyan 'Spies'
  • James Porto 'C2 1995'
  • Khalilah Birdsong 'The Crowd Fervor'
  • Henn Kim 'Big Breakfast'
  • Jaeyoun Shin 'Through the Looking Glass III'
  • Cole Rise 'Paths'
  • Niki Zarrabi 'Genesis'

How has art influenced The Killers?

That’s a tough question to answer – I suppose what I appreciate about art is the relative nature between the artist and the world. Seeing what happens after a thought or idea is interpreted is fun for me – if it’s real and true. Art is a kind of communication, it makes me think, and therefore has influence.

How does the relationship between art and music affect the band’s and your own creative output?

I guess I’m always considering art in some way, whether it be appreciating lines on a structure or building, or the collection of words on paper or a screen, or the way sounds are layered in music. I’m always sort of thinking about the architecture of art or the origin of some idea of it.

Could you name a few favorite artists, historical or current?

Gustav Klimt, Vincent Van Gogh, Caravaggio…and whomever did that ‘dogs playing poker’ painting.

What drew you to Loupe?

I knew Dot from when she was with Apple, and she called me up and told me about the idea. It’s great because now an ugly TV in a room can be transformed into something really beautiful and interesting.

What music artists have you personally placed into a playlist while streaming Loupe – and which Loupe Art channel did you like pairing them with?

I find that instrumental music works well – sometimes words can be overload when you’re enjoying art. So, I made a list with Boards Of Canada, The Album Leaf, Eno, etc. I think it was the Augmented Reality channel.

How do you interact with Loupe? What do you like most about it?

I use it as a background accompaniment at home when people are over or as an alternative to standard TV when I’m cooking or something. I’m learning how to cook.

How are your records different from The Killers?

My records so far feel like copies of other artists or records I like. It’s rock and roll. There are songs and it sounds good. It’s a definite tipping of the hat, but through that journey I’ve stumbled into myself in parts of the songs. I’m looking forward to further self excavation through music making. It’s hard for me to explain how it’s different from The Killers other than the obvious differences. But that’s art for you.