Ever meet someone that turbo charges your motivation and pushes you to get better every day? My colleague and college buddy John Saunders is one of these people. John is a hyper-motivated guy who is essentially addicted to all things digital. So much in fact that he has invested himself in developing a mobile app that mixes his love of digital with one of his other loves; art. His creation is called CanVast HD and it is a mobile app by artists for the masses. John has started his long journey to mobile app stardom by launching social media accounts for CanVast HD as well as a Kickstarter campaign. I have heard that the journey from app concept to App Store is a long and hard one, so I asked John to answer a few questions about the process and detail what his experience has been. He graciously accepted and provided us with some great insights.
Q: What is your background?
A: I'm a Digital Marketer in South Florida and a big fan of fine art. My grandfather exposed me to cultural artwork from around the world at a young age. So, with that in mind, I thought: how could I combine a love for art and a passion for technology into something tangible? That's when the idea for CanVast HD Wallpapers was born.
Q: Can you tell us a little about CanVast HD and why you wanted to create it?
A: CanVast HD is an app that will be available for almost ALL iPhone devices (and hopefully coming to Android and Windows devices in the future!). The app will act as a HUGE digital art gallery, a platform for aspiring artists where they can upload their artwork in a wallpaper format in different categories that include abstract, graphic art, photography and more. Then, art enthusiasts can browse recent artwork or categories and download these artist images as wallpapers. EACH wallpaper uploaded by artists has a link to a URL they specify when they upload their artwork. It can include a link to their online gallery, Instagram, Facebook Page or MORE!
Q: How are you getting the word out about your app?
A: As a Digital Marketer, I've been using my skills to promote the Kickstarter online via a ton of different channels that include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also made social media profiles for CanVast HD and have been promoting it with hashtags to increase online visibility. There are online sites that promote crowdsourcing projects like Crowdfundingpr and Ayudos. These sites are great for PR. I'm also sending emails out to friends in the art and digital community and meeting with different art galleries to cross-promote our endeavors. It's fun using my skills to promote a project that's really close to me.
Q: Can you detail your experience with app development and Kickstarter for the novices out there?
A: App development is definitely an awesome platform for start-ups. However, for those not familiar with the process, there's a large learning curve. There are dozens of app development companies, freelancers and overseas developers that can help with the process. Develop your idea on paper, design the layout and gather pricing from a few companies so that you're not going in blind.
Once you have the initial idea completely laid out, head over to Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects, and do some in-depth research. Look at campaigns similar to yours, check what kind of incentives they offer and learn from the experience. I would also create a Kickstarter account and support a few campaigns to get a feel for the system. Kickstarter is THE biggest platform for crowdfunding and could potentially help fund your creative idea.
Q: Where do you see CanVast HD going in the future?
A: Ultimately, I want CanVast HD to become the Instagram of modern art. I hope to build a platform for aspiring artists where they can post their artwork out and get exposure they might not have otherwise. I see so many talented artists creating ground-breaking work that never receive the potential exposure they deserve. I hope this app changes that.
Q: What do you have to say to any aspiring artists or marketers out there thinking about taking on a project like this?
A: I say, go into it with a plan. You might not be able to predict EVERY aspect of your plan, but having a solid foundation definitely helps. Create a plan of action, have a central location for all of your documents and contacts and pursue your idea EVEN after complications. And there will be complications...just keep pushing forward!
Q: What is your social media channel of choice and why?
A: Instagram. It's simple, quick and effective. It's especially a great platform for finding artists and keeping fans up-to-date on the progress of the app!