Online arts community just one project for Collins

Chris Collins
Dec. 27, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Assistant Editor

SOUTH HADLEY — Chris Collins, 23, founder of the blog Nonsense Society, is far from nonsensical, unconventional maybe, but certainly sensible.

A 2006 graduate of Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, he dropped out of Hartford University's Hartt School in 2009 to pursue all — not just one — of his life's artistic endeavors, something, he said, his professors strongly discouraged. Collins has instead chosen to balance his studies with his passion for film, writing and illustration, along with managing Nonsense Society (www.nonsensesociety.com), an unbiased online network for artists.

"All my teachers literally told me, 'Chris, you need to concentrate on music. You need to stop and spend five hours a day practicing your trumpet.' They told me I'd never make a living doing [everything]. They were obsessed with perfection and I was obsessed with passion," Collins recalled.

Faced with adversity from his professors, from publishing houses that refused to accept his unsolicited manuscript, "The Nonsense Thoughts," and from film festivals that denied screening his film, "This Iraq," Collins forged ahead, becoming a self-published author, an award-winning filmmaker and the proprietor of a growing Web site.

"I feel that the world is changing and I think it's important to make your own reality, rather than getting a piece of paper that says you're worth something," he said of earning a degree.

When asked why he chose to dedicate his life to Nonsense Society, Collins replied, "I thought it would be cool to have this elite society that judges people on their work and the emotion it brings. I just started e-mailing people whose work I loved and suddenly, now it's to the point that I get people writing me [to submit their work to the site]. There's 14, 15 and 16 year-olds who are out of this world, making a name for themselves [with their work]."

When he established Nonsense Society in January of 2009, Collins recalled he'd be happy to garner 20 or 30 hits per day. The site now accumulates between 30,000 and 60,000 hits each month, he added.

When asked why he chose the "Nonsense Society" brand, Collins referenced the "About" section on his site: "In the early 1800's a famous composer named Franz Peter Schubert got a bunch of his artsy friends together to create things and perform for the public. They called themselves 'The Nonsense Society.' Shortly after, Schubert died and the Nonsense Society was lost.

"Meanwhile (but not really), in 2008 a young artist/musician/filmmaker, [me], randomly read about the Nonsense Society in a book, thought it was the coolest thing [I'd] ever heard, and decided to continue the tradition.

"Today, Nonsense Society is filled with some of the best undiscovered and upcoming talent in the world. Our artists are spectacular ... We are all about creativity that conveys some sort of emotion. I want to laugh. I want to cry. I want nothing more than to understand how creativity can kick me in the gut and drag me through the mud. I love that. If you understand what I am talking about then you should be a part of this movement," he continued.

Collins called his movement a brand, one that would allow him and other artists to bring their work to the masses. "I want to have these huge collaborations making movies and books," he added of what he wants the brand to become.

He hopes to make Nonsense Society into a viable business and brand, making money via advertising and the sale of his work, including his short-film, "This Iraq." Collins noted he's also meeting with major book distributors such as Barnes & Noble and Borders next month in New York City to get his book, "Nonsense Thoughts" in stores.

Collins, now a resident of South Hadley, said that for now he's paying his bills working in the healthcare field in Holyoke and completing his college education with a bachelor's degree with individual concentration at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He hopes that one day he can call Nonsense Society his fulltime gig but for now, his spare time is devoted to the search for new talent and inspiration throughout the world.

Are you a young entrepreneur? Would you like to share your story with our readers? To learn how, contact Assistant Editor Katelyn Gendron at katelyn@thereminder.com



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