Tumblr IRL Shines Light on Emerging Artists and Mental Health With Phantogram and Ben Zank

Story by Shannon Shumaker

Photos by Jason Pendleton (full gallery HERE.)

On the heels of their emotional and highly anticipated new album, Three and only one day after their headlining performance at Denver's Fillmore Auditorium, Phantogram stripped things down and got intimate with fans at eTown Hall in Boulder, Colorado for a Tumblr IRL performance. Coupled with Ben Zank's stunning photographs inspired by the band's music, this show was a visual and audio surprise for fans, as well as a learning experience.

Coming only four days after World Mental Health Day, the subject of mental health is one that is very close to Phantogram, as vocalist Sarah Barthal lost her sister to a tragic suicide, which greatly affected the direction of the music and writing of the band's new album, Three. By partnering with Tumblr for this unique and one of a kind performance, the band was able to shed some light on mental health and start a conversation among fans, all while meeting and talking to them in a very intimate and personal setting. 

Tumblr IRL has partnered with many musicians such as The 1975, Childish Gambino, Tegan and Sara as well as many talented artists to provide fans with a unique audio and visual experience. To learn more, visit http://irlirl.tumblr.com/We recently talked with Tumblr's Margaux Olverd about the Tumblr IRL performance with Phantogram and Ben Zank - read the interview below! 

The Prelude Press: This performance with Phantogram and Ben Zank marks the first Tumblr IRL event in Colorado! What work went into making this show possible?

Margaux Olverd: A lot of visual research, listening parties, late nights, and even a photography shoot in the Harlem river. The Phantogram team was great to work with, they really wanted everything to feel 'right', they also let Ben have the creative freedom he needed to bring his own perspective to the work.

The Tumblr IRL events are so unique and personal because of the merging of both audio and visual art. How do you go about finding two artists who go hand in hand like Phantogram and Ben Zank do?

It all comes down to relationships. We try to meet everyone we can that is making cool work, animators, illustrators, photographers, CGI artists, and actually get to know them. We work with artists in Paris, Brooklyn, South America, all over the world. We know them and know what they want to make more of, so it's easy to determine what projects are are going to appeal to them.

When a Tumblr IRL kicks off the first thing we do is connect with the musicians, listen to the album, and think of artists who connect visually to the band.  The musicians usually sift through our artist recommendations with us, diving into their portfolios a bit more, before deciding who resonates.

What do you hope the takeaway of these intimate and unique performances will be?

The visuals shouldn't just be complimentary to the performance, they should bring a whole new feeling to the show. No doubt, the musical acts are tremendously impactful, but a Tumblr IRL is about a fully immersive experience. The art, made custom for each show, is a one-night only spectacle, and we always leave guests with a artist-designed takeaway to remember the evening.

How can an artist get involved with Tumblr IRL?

We work with exclusively Tumblr artists on IRL events, so step one is to get a Tumblr up and running, start sharing your work, and engage with the community. That's actually the hardest part, putting your work up and sharing consistently. Once you have a presence in place, follow the Creatrs team at Tumblr on creatrs.tumblr.com and get in touch with us.