Radcliffe‘s blog grows to 160,000 followers who crave soothing neatness

Austin Radcliffe, doing what he does.
Image credit: Jedediah Johnson

Meet Austin Radcliffe, the incoming president of Herron’s Active Student Artists organization. He’s a senior better known for his other organizing, a blog called Things Organized Neatly http://thingsorganizedneatly.tumblr.com.

The carefully-curated catalog of orderly images—replete with Radcliffe’s own work and brief, often-wry comments—has been touted from the New York Times Magazine to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Many of his 160,000 subscribers find the tidiness soothing, like contemplating a tank of fish. CBS News called his blog “A haven for web surfers with obsessive compulsive disorder … .”

Radcliffe, who is completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in General Fine Arts with emphasis in printmaking and furniture design, said it “takes up a fair bit of time,” to select the blog’s content. He gets submissions from all over the world.

“I feel like the site has sort of influenced the trend of this aesthetic,” he said. Coach, the venerable purveyor of leather goods, felt so, too. So much so that they hired Radcliffe for a recent, online ad campaign that led up to Father's Day.

They work “with different bloggers,” Radcliffe said about the free-lance project he hopes will open the door to other jobs.

Why does he think this style is catching on? “There’s a certain minimal aesthetic, and also the human elements of cataloging and details,” he said, adding, “The urge to arrange things at right angles or on some sort of grid appeals to the eye, even if it’s not a symmetrical arrangement.”

In addition to focusing on furniture design in his last semester at Herron, he’s working as a curator in alumnus Casey Roberts’ Mount Comfort Gallery in Fountain Square. After an anticipated December graduation, Radcliffe will head to New York City, where he’s already done an internship with artist Tom Sachs http://tomsachs.org/, on the installation crew for Sach’s recent show in the Park Avenue Armory http://tomsachsmars.com/.

Radcliffe said he “loved the Indy Collects show” in the main Galleries at Herron, which came down at the end of July. “It was incredible to have all those artists represented in our school: Alexander Calder, Keith Haring, Richard Serra, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Tuttle—in the same gallery where we students have shown work. Herron has a lot of great professional resources, and the environment here is very positive. It's a great community to be a part of, where everyone is focused on art, and talking and thinking about art. ”

As incoming president of ASA, Radcliffe wants to make the group “more connected with the rest of the school and bring interesting guests artists” to share with Herron students.

If you want to throw your hat in the ring for inclusion on Things Organized Neatly, be warned that Radcliffe’s standards are exacting; he’s willing to accept imperfection in the world (some things are perfect in their imperfection), “but not willing to post it on my blog.”