stories from start-ups in the arts

organised by UP Global and Culturate
Google Campus london

Founders of start-ups in the visual arts industry share their experiences, give tips and explore the latest trends in this panel discussion on art + tech earlier this evening. The speakers include Jonas Almgren - CEO Artfinder, Bernadine Bröcker - CEO Vastari, Marcos Steverlynck - Co-founder Riseart and David Zokhrabyan - CEO and Co-Founder at ArtHome.London and Gitoon.

Below are some of the highlighted points we heard -

  • Efficiency and transparency hasn't happened in the art world much - it is now time to apply established technology to disrupt the market
  • Create 'experience' to engage and reach out to more people - e.g. art rental for "real" experience to consumers so that they can buy after rental if they like it
  • Make art accessible and affordable - create new market for art purchase and appreciation in mass public, make the market bigger
  • Follow the model of the Fashion industry to make art purchase popular online - provide good returns policy to encourage worry-free e-shopping
  • Pop up stores offline to increase accessibility
  • Social media helps the exchange of cultures, both among artists and among buyers
  • The technology to support the transactions online is a totally different platform from that to handle transactions in auction houses
  • Find out whether the buyers have affinity to the artist, or the artwork, or both?
  • Big brands in the art market is not big brands compared to the brand recognition and power in other industries
  • Museums start using new e-platforms to move inventory in archive, providing conusmers with affordable luxury through established art brands
  • Pricing is more transparent and democratic online
  • Is art an investment or just a personal decoration? Most people only buy art they truly like, and tend to not compare price as much as other commodity
  • Investors are not familiar with the new online market because it is not the usual traditional art market
  • Museums are not investing in art tech startups yet
  • Universities maybe the place to look for collaboration - students with ideas to collaborate & grow (e.g. UAL +
  • Digital art is shaping the future of art and the younger generation are more open to that and also help to shape what is defined as art in their generation
  • Most of the UK public money that 'support arts' only go to the venues, not the artists
  • Artists need to learn to sell their works, how to do business, what regulations are relevant - tax, insurance, etc for example
  • Artists never stop making art whether they sell the works or not
  • Artists can't afford the studio in big cities with high rent - how can artists be supported to have affordable production spaces? Big challenge but also big opportunity. If handled properly it can potentially bring the studio experience back to the customers
  • No one has a clear idea of what an art market is, someone has to define it so investors can get in
  • Artists need to build their brand & reach out to the Audience
  • Artists can see what is selling through big data, and how they can sell more maybe by making more similar or inspired works to the best-selling items, and audience can also see the growth of artists to buy those with more potentials
  • Electronic art is still way too avant-grade for common amateur buyers in the mass market
  • Authentication is a big challenge to tackle
  • 50% of sale on artfinder through mobile platform including tablets
  • Cyber security is not a big concern as art business is not big enough to attract hackers, reasonable level of security is enough
  • Different pricing models for artists online - some allows artist to make an offer of price to buy, some encourage artists to make works of different sizes which will be sold in different prices to broaden their reach to consumers with different budgets