ARTISTS. Here’s an example of how technology is transforming how art will be collected, sold, and displayed in the future. Although this particular site (www.seditionart.com) is still in the “private-beta” stage, it’s good to be aware of new business models that are being proposed and tried.
S[edition] is a digital platform for collecting contemporary art. With prices starting under $10, S[edition] enables you to view and display limited-edition art by contemporary artists on all of your devices, including your mobile phone, iPad, computer display, and television screens.
The platform was developed to help stimulate the growth of a new generation of collectors. The goal is to make art collecting more affordable, instantly gratifying, more social, and less intimidating.
Featured artists include: Shepard Fairey, Damien Hirst, Isaac Julien, Mat Collinshaw, Michael Craig-Martin, Tracey Emin, Bill Viola, and Wim Wenders.
Every edition is numbered and sold with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by the artist. Certificates are automatically generated upon the completed purchase of an artwork. Then, the certificate and purchased art are stored securely in each collector’s digital “vault.”
As a collector, you can view your purchased art in high resolution or send it to any of your connected devices. You may not print copies of either the certificate of authenticity or the artwork itself. Digital watermarking technology is used to track every purchased edition.
With the free iPad app, you can view or show your entire collection on the iPad anytime, anywhere—even without an Internet connection. The recently announced App for Facebook Timeline lets you show your personal s[edition] art collection to friends, and highlight your favorite artists.
One benefit of buying art through s[edition] is that you can receive regular information directly from the artists, get priority access to new collections, and connect with other collectors.
The creators of s[edition] have announced plans to launch a marketplace through which a collector can sell works to other collectors after editions are sold out .
Gallery owners and artists who are interested in creating a limited digital edition should send an email to: info (at) seditionart.com
An informal survey of online press releases, trade-show topics, and market-research reports indicates which art-market trends and technologies are likely to gain momentum in 2012. Let me know what you think about some the trends I have listed here, or if I’ve overlooked any major developments.
More artists are integrating technology into the process of making art.
“Cyberarts” is defined as any artistic endeavor in which computer technology is used to expand artistic possibilities. The cyberarts movement definitely appears to be growing, as artists experiment with different kinds of apps, motion graphics, augmented reality, and various forms of mixed-media printing.
Artist Dan Hermes has written several informative blog posts about “moving paintings,” which are also known as video paintings, dynamic paintings, ambient paintings, moving digital paintings, and ambient video. Increasingly, these paintings will be designed for display in residential or commercial interiors, on either flat-screen TVs or as projection installations
Elliot Grey has posted a YouTube video explaining his approach to “Cinematic Digital Painting,” which turns your television set into a canvas.
Interest in iPhone art is also rising. More than 3,000 iPhoneography artists gather on the website iPhoneArt.com to discuss their work, collaborate, and share what they have made. Cofounders Daria Polichetti and Nathaniel Park are dedicated to creating exhibition opportunities, financial support, international recognition, and promotional opportunities for iPhone artists.
As our homes, offices, and public spaces become increasingly screen-filled, many art lovers will treasure the tactile substance and presence of physical art objects. Thus, mixed-media printmakers such as Bonny Lhotka (author of the book Digital Alchemy) are teaching artists how to create art by combining digital techniques with traditional hands-on methods. Lhotka has developed methods and materials for transferring inkjet-printed digital images onto a variety of substrates such as aluminum, acrylic, birch, fresco, stone paper, and aged metal. Some of Lhotka’s works are currently displayed in the “Digital Darkroom: Exploration of Altered Realities” exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
Efforts to expand the base of new collectors will diversity and intensify.
Online galleries of all types are experimenting with many different ways to help more people discover and buy more affordable art.
Artspace, which partners with some of the world’s most renowned art institutions, is positioning itself as “an online art advisor.” One of their goals is to enable collectors and art enthusiasts to discover and collect art from renowned contemporary artists as well as emerging talent at prices ranging from $200 to $10,000.
An article in the December, 2011 issue of Wired magazine profiled the founders of Art.sy, who have created a formula for finding art that matches your personal tastes. They have lined up relationships with more than 180 galleries and are striving to make Art.sy accessible to the average art fan, in ways that art advisers are not. The service is trying to be “an omniscient art historian for the entire world—no matter where you live or how much money you have.” The article notes that right now only a tiny fraction (perhaps 4%) of the fine-art trade takes place online, and the global market for fine art and antiques is estimated at roughly $60 billion a year.
Efforts to expand exposure opportunities for artists are happening at all levels. In December, the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery launched a YouTube channel that presents moving slideshows of the previous online exhibitions.
Collectors and galleries will use high-resolution LCD panels to display collections of artwork.
At the Miami SOLO show presented by Artexpo, Planar teamed up with Samsung Semiconductor to display works by 30 emerging artists on Samsung’s new “SM’ART” gallery frames. These LCD panels have much higher resolution than television screens, making it possible not only to reproduce the original colors in a painting, but also the textures.
According to a Samsung product manager, the panels will also be much simpler to operate than a TV. There won’t be wires and cables hanging out of it, and the controls will operated either by tablet computer or smartphone.
Ultimately, Samsung and its partners envision the creation of a cloud-based art-gallery database that will include high-resolution scans of paintings or original digital art (such as moving paintings and dynamic digital imagery).
Just as e-bookstores and iTunes have opened up markets for new writers and musicians, the art database would enable buyers to discover works they might otherwise never be able to see in big-city brick-and-mortar galleries.
After buying art from the database, people can display one image on the SM’ART screen for months without adverse affects to the screen. Then (without having to rehang a new frame), they can use the panel to show new pieces that reflect the changing seasons, décor, or event themes in hotels and reception areas. People will own art purchased from the database, so they can port it to new screens as display screens continue to improve.
More art is being displayed outdoors and in non-traditional venues.
You don’t have to visit a museum or gallery to see art. As demonstrated by projects such as The Streaming Museum and The Billboard Art Project, you can see art displayed on screens in public squares or on digital billboards traditionally used for advertising.
The Art Prize festival/competition turns the entire city of Grand Rapids, Michigan into an art gallery. Last year, more than 160 venues (including office lobbies, restaurants, courtyards, and parks) displayed the works of 1582 artists hoping to win some of the $498,000 in prize money (including $250,000 for first place). The 19-day event attracted 320,000 visitors and provided a $14.5 million boost to the local economy.
Entrepreneurial artists are using websites and social media to get exposure.
The days of sitting idly by and hoping to get discovered have vanished for all creative professionals. Many are going online to build relationships and using SEO (search-engine-optimization) techniques to increase the odds of being discovered.
More and more artists are promoting themselves through online press releases, social media, self-published books, and apps. Art business coaches and organizations such as the Institute of Arts Entrepreneurship are helping artists be more proactive in creating opportunities for themselves.
Goldberg Lite app features works by artist Colin Goldberg
In December, artist Colin Goldberg introduced an app that enables iPhone and iPad users to use some of his original art as wallpaper for their screens. The app can also be used to order prints of some of his images through his gallery on etsy. He used an online press release service to announce the availability of the app.
In a blog post about “A Tale of Two Unhappy Artists,” John Math of the Light Space & Time online gallery told the story of two artists who wondered why they weren’t selling more art. One artist complained that even though he had won several competitions, their art sales were still poor. John Math observed that he didn’t have an attractive website or social media links. Furthermore, he hadn’t even bothered to announce on his website that he had won the competitions.
“It is evident to me that no one would know about this artist, based on the lack of press releases, social media networking, and any ongoing promotions,” said Math. “In addition, his website did not contain any associated article content that would help draw anyone to his website. Consequently, his website traffic was poor and he was frustrated.”
Math noted that “Many artists will embark on a marketing campaign, not see any results quickly and then give up their efforts. It is the artist who markets their art on a continuous and consistent basis who achieves successful results.”
Send Me Your Stories
If you have stories, news, or ideas related to any of these trends, we would love to hear from you! Send ideas for articles or guest posts to: eileen (dot) fritsch (at) creativesatworkblog (dot) com.
PHOTOGRAPHERS. One advantage of selling your fine-art photography through a third-party online gallery is that the gallery owner can find innovative ways to display your work on multiple sites that are likely to be seen by more potential buyers. For example, PrintedArt, a web-based collection of fine-art photographs for the hospitality and decor markets, has added a gallery of its high-quality photographs to Amazon.com. The collection features 863 photos by some of PrintedArt’s finest photographers. Available in four sizes, each image is produced as a float-on-the-wall display.
The inkjet prints are produced with highly saturated pigment inks and mounted using gallery-grade materials with aluminum dibond stabilizers and acrylic overlays. “We are pleased to offer such an extensive collection of photos to the Amazon.com audience at such a great price,” said Klaus Sonnenleiter, president of PrintedArt. “It really gives us a chance to introduce our amazing photographers and images to an entirely different customer base.”
Details on how you can have your own images reproduced in contemporary display formats such as acrylic or aluminum dibond are available on the PrintedArt website.
One way to explore different business models for marketing art and photography is to skim through art blogs and online press releases. Some online releases are issued by brick-and-mortar galleries seeking to reach out to people who search for art online. Many online press releases come from start-up businesses or individuals experimenting with new concepts for selling their work. Some new ventures are announced online by targeted bloggers and journalists who reach high-end collectors. Here are four examples:
Rea is inviting other designers, artists, and writers to get in on the action by collaborating with one another to create and sell inspirational wares on the site.
He chose the name “electricity showroom” to describe the creative sparks that can occur when designers, artists, and writers work together. He views the site as a way for creative pros to “make stuff quicker.”
“In advertising, you tend to work on a lot of creative projects at once,” Rea says, “Now that I’m creating my own ventures from the ground up, the timelines are much longer than I typically have patience for. I needed something that would allow me to produce ideas quickly. Collaborating with other artists to make and sell prints direct to consumers seemed like the perfect creative outlet for everyone.”
Chad Rea is a member of ecopop, a Portland, Oregon-based social-innovations collective that lives at the intersection of ecology and pop culture. Ecopop creates brands, art, and activism (aka brand activism) with ventures ranging from men’s accessories made from recycled clothes to charity-based iPhone apps.
Founded over 30 years ago in Basel, Switzerland, Artspace Warehouse now has galleries in Zurich; Cologne, Germany; and Los Angeles, California. Artspace Warehouse specializes in affordable contemporary original art, representing pop, urban, graffiti, and photo styles. The gallery presents an eclectic and every-expanding selection of works from international and local artists at prices for every budget.
The pieces are displayed by category: Value Hunter (from $200 to $400), Savvy Spender (up to $1,000), and Aficianado ($1,000 to $2,000). A collector’s section offers exclusive paintings of museum-quality artists starting at $2,000. The gallery also offers art consultation and commissioned murals.
An Artspace Warehouse press release invited to public to special event at which at which interior designer Deb Gregory spoke about how she is using accessible art and design in her residential and commercial projects. She emphasized that good art and design should be accessible to all, and that interesting environments enrich our lives.
Digital artist Joel Martin Cohen used a press release to announce the launch of his own online gallery, through which visitors may purchase prints of his digital compositions.
Cohen, who has experience both a graphic designer and professional photographer, has been working in the digital art space for more than five years. While some of his visual ideas start with a photograph, he develops the art using the digital tools to create treatments that express how he feels about the subject. Many of his subjects include landscapes, cityscapes, and the natural world.
“I was infatuated with the powerful potential of the new digital processes to create looks that never existed before, as well as new takes on traditional painting techniques,” says Cohen. The pieces in his online gallery range in size from 8 x 10 inches to 20 x 30 inches. Prices range from $20 to $500.
“Given the state of the current economy, some clients find that a smaller piece is more suited for them right now,” Cohen said. “Other clients who are looking for wall art for a new home or office may be interested in some of my larger pieces.”
Exhibition A is a new members-only website that sells editions of printed reproductions of works by top contemporary artists. The site’s founders include fashion designer/art lover Cynthia Rowley and Bill Powers who owners the Half Gallery in New York.
They define their mission as follows: “We’re committed to working with exceptional artists–artists whose work is exhibited at well-respected galleries and sought after by serious collectors–to create editions of their work at prices you can afford.”
Each week Exhibition A will debut one or more editions by a contemporary artist. The artwork will either be sold as a limited edition (with a finite, predetermined number of copies) or as a limited-time open edition (in which no additional prints will be made after the four-week edition sale period has ended). The total number of prints made during a limited-time open edition sale will be revealed in the Archive section of Exhibition A website. This total number may include up to 25 prints that Exhibition A made for its own inventory.
According to a post about Exhibition A by Hannah Elliott on Forbes.com, the prices will range from $200 to $500 for a work on canvas to $100 to $300 on paper. One of the goals of the site is to broaden participation in the world of art without hurting the each artist’s primary collectors.
Some of the artists featured on the site include Francesca Dimattio, Dietmar Busse, Dike Blair, David LaChappelle, Olympia Scarry, Dasha Shiskin, Agathe Snow, and Duncan Hannah. On the Exhibition A, you can read bios of the featured artists as well as interviews with collectors of contemporary art.
ARTISTS. Art.com, Inc., a leading online provider of wall art, has introduced artMatch™ for the iPhone. The free app makes it easy for art lovers to find, explore, discover, share and purchase art right from their iPhones. After snapping a photo of any work of art, you can instantly search for matching or similar items on Art.com. You can also preview selected artwork in your own space by simply holding up your iPhone. The application is free and can be downloaded through Apple’s App Store.
“Art.com has one simple goal—to make art accessible to all—and our new artMatch application for the iPhone takes that one step further, making it easy and fun for people to engage with art wherever and whenever inspiration strikes,” said Geoffrey Martin, CEO of Art.com, Inc. “Imagine walking down the streets of your favorite city, spotting a work of art you love in a café, gallery or museum and being able to go on your phone, find that work on Art.com, frame it and have it waiting for you at home when you return.”
ArtMatch uses Art.com’s Visual Search™ technology. This makes it possible to:
Instantly find a work of art. Take a photo of a work of art, upload a photo from the phone, or enter a URL, and Art.com will instantly tell you whether it is available for sale on the site. If it’s not on Art.com, you will see similar works that are available on Art.com.
Browse the collection of more than one million works of art available through Art.com. The collection is conveniently presented in list, grid and single views optimized for viewing on the iPhone. Read information about each art piece and use the Super Zoom™ feature to examine brush strokes, texture, and other details of specific art pieces.
Visualize how the selected work of art would look in the room you have in mind. Simply hold up your phone to see the selected work in your own room or select from the gallery of rooms on Art.com.
Save your favorites to a gallery and share them with via email or Facebook. This feature can be useful if you want a second opinion before ordering art for a certain room in your house.
Purchase your pick right from the phone. The app’s integrated shopping cart can sync with your phone contacts for easy shipping to the selected destination. Your artwork arrives ready to hang on your wall. Learn more at www.art.com/iphone.
Art.com was founded in 1998 to make art accessible to all by transforming the way the world discovers, personalizes, shares and purchases art. Art.com, Inc. runs three sites in the USA—Art.com, AllPosters.com, and ArtistRising.com—and has a strong international presence with 25 local sites in Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and South America. Art.com, Inc. is a privately held company headquartered in Emeryville, CA, with other facilities in Ohio, North Carolina and the Netherlands.
ARTISTS. Zatista.com is an online seller of original art. The art lovers who founded the site believe a growing number of people would prefer to own something unique, rather than a reproduction. Recently, they introduced a service through which buyers can submit commission requests to artists whose works they admire on the Zatista site.
Once the request is submitted, Zatista works with the buyer and artist to ensure that the quoting and payment processes go smoothly. For example, they help the buyer create a well-formed request with all the relevant details, and craft a commission agreement that both the buyer and artist can accept. Buyers aren’t charged for submitting commission requests. Nor are they obligated to accept the quote or follow through with the project.
Artists who are particularly interested in commissions should let the Zatista staff know, because they occassionally receive requests from buyers who does not have a particular artist in mind.
Another service Zatista.com provides is a complimentary art concierge service to help buyers select the right piece of art for their home or office.
How to Sell Your Art
Zatista currently sells original oil paintings, acrylic paintings, charcoal drawings, and mixed media works. They will also sell photographs and prints of digitally created art, as long as each print is hand-signed and numbered in an edition of 100 or less. They don’t sell sculpture, jewelry, furniture, weavings, and other categories of art.
To ensure that the site offers a robust, well-rounded selection of quality art in a variety of mediums, all artists and galleries who want to sell works on the site must be approved by Zatista’s Art Review Board. When you apply, you will be asked to complete a profile and list a minimum of 3 works and a maximum of 5 works.
In addition to evaluating your art, the Art Review Board will take into account how professionally you present it. For example, photographs of your works should be clear, without extraneous objects or lighting glare. Your profile should be well-written, clear, and informative, and your store banner and message should be nicely created. The review process typically takes 3 to 5 days. It’s up to you to set the price for your work.
If your art is accepted for sale on the site, there are no membership or listing fees. Instead, you will be charged a commission when your art is sold. To make original art more affordable to more people, the online sales commission is substantially lower than commissions typically charged by brick-and-mortar galleries. For more information about the artist approval process, visit the FAQ section of the Zatista.com website.
Once your application has been approved, you are encouraged to display additional works and spread that word about Zatista to your Facebook fans and Twitter followers. You can also add a “Buy on Zatista” button to your blog, so visitors to your site know they can easily purchase your work any time day or night.
Zatista was founded by entrepreneurial Internet industry veterans. Their goal is to make the art-buying experience less intimidating and more enjoyable. They also want to make more originals easily accessible to aspiring collectors all over the world who might not be able to explore multiple galleries in big cities to find the art they like.
The Zatista website includes a glossary or art terms, and other information designed to educate and encourage a new generation of collectors.
Here’s an excellent example of some of the fun and creative ways marketers are encouraging customers and prospects to engage with their brands. With the launch of MyPhotoExhibits (MPE), Tamron USA is inviting photography enthusiasts to showcase their favorite images in a unique, free online venue. Unlike traditional static online galleries, Tamron’s MyPhotoExhibits interface allows you to create your own customizable, 3D exhibit space.
You start by setting up a user avatar and bio, then uploading your favorite high-resolution images. After organizing your exhibit and captioning the photos, you can put the finishing touches on your exhibit space by choosing from different options for the gallery space (wall and floor textures and colors), photo frames, furniture, and lighting.
After the space has been created, you can go back into the MPE interface to add more photos, tweak presentation specs, or create additional exhibits.
Once your exhibit is ready to “open,” you can choose to have the exhibit viewed “by invitation only” or remain open to the public. Invitations to view the exhibit can be sent from the website’s iPhone app via Facebook or other social media, or by email. Viewers of the exhibit can sign the your “guest book,” choose “favorite” exhibits, and “follow” exhibiting photographers.