Oculus Art Collaborative was founded in 2010. At the founding of the organization, it was originally intended to be a means of bridging the gap between an artist and his/her community, but has since developed into much more. In 2011, Oculus began by organizing it’s first art shows, which focused on giving young artists exhibition spaces. These art shows were intended to bring together like minded individuals and bring perhaps undiscovered artists out of the woodwork of the small New Jersey communities they’d been hiding in. In 2011, Oculus debuted it’s first show at the Gallery at River’s Edge with the assistance of Donna Compton. As the year continued, Oculus artists sought out exhibition space in anywhere they were welcomed; in bars, basements, etc.
In 2012, with the addition of new members and a new board of directors, Oculus committed to having an art show every month. It was also in this year that the artists in Oculus began building collective installation pieces and incorporating performance art into their art shows. A significant show took place during a craft/vendor fair in Montclair, New Jersey, where Oculus participated as an ‘art vendor’: however, instead of selling prints or illustrations, Oculus artists turned their table into an installation piece titled “Duality”, which was intended to be a mock alter comprised of a triptych and four performance artists who sat still for the entirety of the event. This set a precedent for Oculus as an organization that would not just exist for the promotion of artists but also for the expression of certain themes and ideas that the resident artists all discovered they utilized in their work.
As 2012 progressed, Oculus finally found a more permanent exhibition space in Newark, New Jersey, at the former Index Art Center. It was here that Oculus was finally welcomed into a community and began to branch out. Oculus Art Collaborative began tackling much bigger shows, such as an ongoing series of popular art and music shows called “Stereoscope,” organized and run by member Linda Chen, and a large scale installation show titled “Transformations,” which completely repurposed the interior of a vacant office building.
In 2013, Oculus sought to continue this trend by curating smaller art shows for upcoming artists, and larger collaborative shows for their resident artists. At this point Oculus has a wide roster of resident artists: painters, print makers, illustrators, designers, photographers, videographers, etc. Oculus continues to harness the passion of these individuals and not only help them grow as artists, but also as members of a community and a collective.