An Interview with Tumblr's Valentine Uhovski
BILLY ZHAO: Can you explain your title, “Fashion Evangelist” at Tumblr?
VALENTINE UHOVSKI: If Tumblr were congress, I’d be a Senator representing Fashion, one of our biggest states. I work with hundreds of brands, photographers, VIPs, magazines, and most importantly our unmatched creators on innovative projects, events, collaborations, launches, and other wonderful stuff.
BILLY ZHAO: And how do you personally use Tumblr?
VALENTINE UHOVSKI: The advantage of working at Tumblr is being able to be logged in nine to ten hours a day and not get in trouble for it. I follow more than 2,500 blogs and I get my vitamins on an hourly basis. I also update a lot on my personal blog, and Art Ruby, the site I co-run at the moment.
BILLY ZHAO: What do you see in the future for Tumblr?
VALENTINE UHOVSKI: Tumblr already drives a lot of culture if you pay attention to visual, fashion, and music trends. And I think that’s not going to stop. At the end of the day, Tumblr users log in to be their true selves and that propels a lot of creativity and positivity.
BILLY ZHAO: Have you collaborated with individuals wildly outside of your own field while working at Tumblr? What have you learned from these experiences?
VALENTINE UHOVSKI: While here, I got to meet an astronaut (Chris Hadfield), Olympic gold medalist (Louri Podladtchikov), hang out with a Grammy winner at Dior show (Frank Ocean) and that’s just the last 12 months. I’ve also learned to ask the coolest kids on the street for directions when I travel. They always have Tumblr pages.
VALENTINE UHOVSKI: Once in few generations, there comes an institution that elevates and drives the larger genre. MAI will be that magical place for performance art.
BILLY ZHAO: Can you name a favorite immaterial work of art? What do you find compelling about this work?
VALENTINE UHOVSKI: Thanks to Tumblr gifs, I can probably send you a new favorite every morning. But the US version of Big Brother gets me hooked every summer and I’m not even slightly ashamed. I don’t even remember who won last season, but the editing and casting is so fascinating every year, no matter how many precious hours I waste.
BILLY ZHAO: Have you ever seen or participated in a performance of six hours or longer?
VALENTINE UHOVSKI: When I was 17, I spent my weekends sitting on the couch and staring at balloons as part of Independent Curators International Thin Skin show. Sometimes I wouldn't move for hours, sometimes I would sleep, and sometimes I would just stare at the adjacent Ernesto Neto, Olafur Eliasson, and Warhol works. It was awesome.
VALENTINE UHOVSKI: Be yourself and go crazy.
A conversation with Scandebergs, June's MAI + t collaborators