Wet Paint in the Wild: Art-Startup Founder Charlie Jarvis Hits the PS1 Gala and Plays Chess at the Office

Jarvis is the founder of the Fairchain platform.

I start off every day in my home in Brooklyn. This week is fair week, which means it’s an especially busy one. A lot of our artist and gallery clients are in town and I love getting the chance to catch up with them and check out their latest projects. I’m going to Frieze early so I skip the office this morning in favor of sneaking in a little bit of work at home.

Welcome to Wet Paint in the Wild, an extension of Annie Armstrong’s gossip column wherein she gives art-world insiders a disposable camera so they can give us a peek into their corner of the madcap industry.

It’s always a relief when I get to run into Charlie Jarvis. I first met her long before I profiled her company, Fairchain, and I could tell we just kind of clicked. A lot could be said about the entrepreneur, who launched one of the more promising art/tech platforms before even being of age to legally rent a car. I like that she always keeps an eye out for celebrities at various parties and fairs for me, truly embodying the essence of what it is to take Wet Paint into the wild. So without further ado…

I ended up with no good photos of Frieze (I’ll try again next year Annie!). I did get a nice informative tip on the importance of flash and after the fair I head back to the office where I begin using it. On my desk are my spring-time woman-in-tech essentials: a pair of good headphones, homemade matcha, my fashion-first take on blue-light sunglasses, and some tissues for allergies. Our office is close to Madison Square Park and the occasional whiffs of nature mean that I keep Zyrtek close.

This is the view from my desk. Max Kendrick is my co-founder and sits directly across from me. Behind him on the wall are a list of “very important questions” that we are working through this month.

After a few hours in the office I head home, change, and take a car over to tonight’s event: the MoMA PS1 gala. This is me and my uber driver heading towards Long Island City.

I arrived to the gala and immediately found my friend Hannah Howe. Hannah is the director of development at PS1 and invited me to tonight’s festivities. She is brilliant. Behind her is PS1 Chair Sarah Arison. I brand myself as an honorary PS1 development team member for the night and walk into the evening ready to encourage giving.

I’m seated next to gallerists Francois Ghebaly and Danny Baez. Danny is one of our advisors at Fairchain and a good friend. I send a text to Hannah immediately for seating me at what we quickly recognize ourselves to be: the best table.

After the dinner, there’s an after party. I run into two of my art world best friends: artists Kevin Claiborne and Ludovic Nkoth. Kevin and Ludovic are always giving me new ideas for things we should build/do at Fairchain. I mentally brand this as an unofficial product feedback meeting and continue dancing.

I try out selfie mode too, and have surprisingly good aim. This is me with Sarah Miller, Hannah Traore, and Hannah Gottleib-Graham (from left to right). Hannah Traore recently opened her eponymous gallery in LES and is a Fairchain client and (the other) Hannah and Sarah are our two-woman PR team at ALMA Communications. I really love this group and am big admirers of all of them. Hannah GG and I send each other voice notes throughout the day (thank you Hannah for getting me on to this trend), and often put down the microphones around 6 p.m. to discuss things in person at whatever art event we are going to that evening. Tonight, we discuss the pros/cons of including this selfie in an Artnet article. We decide that all publicity is good publicity and so here it is.

More friends, including artists Tariku Shiferaw and Alteronce Gumby.

The next morning, I return to my desk slightly tired but ready to seize the day. I sit next to Karen Vanegas and Toby Kessler, who are on our customer success team, and diagonal from Adam Dinwiddie, our product director, and Sam Ozer, a curator that works with us on gallery partnerships.

We take a quick work break around noon. Israel Lund (far left) is an artist who decided to also pick up engineering; today he is leading the way. Our favorite office games are chess and backgammon. Adam oversees this as well. And of course it comes out incredibly well.

In the afternoon I stop by 1-54 art fair in Harlem where I see my friend Storm Ascher, who runs a roving gallery called Superposition Gallery. Storm lives in Miami, so I also love fair weeks because I get to see her! Today she is showing works by Chinaedu Nwadibia and Audrey Lyall.

After the fair I return to near the office to have coffee with an artist friend and their gallerist about putting his fall show on Fairchain. I take at least 60 percent of my coffee meetings here at Dover Street market. It is our company’s unofficial satellite location. For better or worse.

Dover Street Market meeting number two is with my friend Neil Hammamoto, who runs WORTHLESSSTUDIOS, a non-profit that supports artists in fabrication needs and the production of public art projects. We are meeting to plan an event together in the summer. One of my favorite parts of my job is definitely getting to collaborate with friends.

The rest of the week is a blur. I end my evening with a visit to the Silver Art Projects cocktail reception, where I get to hang out with Helina Metaferia, an artist whose gallery uses Fairchain to sell her works. She shows me some of her new projects and I get to learn more about her practice. Very cool. Helina rocks.

On Sunday I head to East Williamsburg where I see (the last 30 minutes of) an 8-hour long performance by Miles Greenberg at WORTHLESSSTUDIOS new warehouse location.

On Tuesday I attend a Triple Parachute Dinner in honor of artist Mel Chin with our lawyer Alfred Steiner, who is also an artist (we have a lot of artists turned *insert tech company role* on our team). Alfred also rocks.

This is my friend Duke Riley (artist) and the guest of honor, Mel Chin himself. During dinner Mel plays the guitar and sings for everyone.

Duke loves the camera and encourages me to take more photos. This is him and artist Hank Willis Thomas. They are both Fairchain company advisors and this is what all of our meetings look like. I have the best job.

Wednesday marks the end of my week of being a disposable camera influencer. I take one last shot of the office. It was Max’s birthday on Tuesday and Hannah Howe and Ellie Rines of 56 Henry know how much Max hates birthdays so they have kindly sent him some discreet cat balloons.

I end the week as I end every week. This is the most glamorous part of being an early-stage tech founder and it happens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening for me. I lock up the office and take out the trash and recycling. Max is on vacation today and I miss having someone to tie boxes in twine with.

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