Rus Yusupov is a designer and entrepreneur based in NYC. He’s best known as the Co-founder and Creative Director of Vine, a mobile service that enables its users to create and share short looping videos. His passion for the arts is grounded in his education at LaGuardia Arts High School and the School of Visual Arts, from which he holds a BFA in Graphic Design. As a designer, he’s always been passionate about the creative process, and finding ways to improve it for both himself and others.
How did you first become interested in art? Didn’t you study at SVA?
Indeed I did. The world of art is great because you make up your own rules. I was born in the USSR, a place where you had to follow someone else’s prescribed system.
How did you begin collecting art, and what frames your approach as a collector?
Each individual piece makes some kind of statement, and I hope the collection as a whole is able to do the same. I’m not interested in building a collection of video art from the 80s or political work from a specific region – to me that’s just indexing. Ultimately I try to pick individual pieces that tell a larger story when seen together. I’m interested in space themes, beach culture, tech, hyperrealism, appropriation, forgery, and the inherent concept of value.
How did you find out about Michael Kagan’s work? What draws you to it?
Space travel is about thinking big, not playing by earthly rules. Astronauts are escapists – and I respect that. I’m still waiting for Elon Musk to work out the kinks in SpaceX, so until then, I vacation in Michael’s paintings.
What’s your favorite piece in your collection?
I recently got some great pieces by Richard Prince, Robert Longo, Sturtevant, Thomas Demand, Carole Feuerman, and Richard Mosse. That said, I think the point of having a collection is not to have one favorite piece. If I found one, I would just keep that and get rid of everything else – where’s the fun in that? For example, I have a few Picasso fakes, and love the bad ones as much as the good ones. There’s a great quote from Bruce Chatwin’s book Utz: “The collector’s enemy is the museum curator. Ideally, museums should be looted every fifty years, and their collections returned to circulation.” Museums protect art from meaningful critique, because you’ve already been told to think highly of it. I collect to find out how to feel on my own.
Do you follow any video artists? Or do you view that as a separate form of expression?
I follow 670 people on Vine. Seriously though, I do look a lot at how the post-internet artists are using online video, but my interest goes all the way back to people like Nam June Paik and Pipilotti Rist.
Favorite quote to live by?
“If nobody quotes you, quote yourself.”