No more staring at blank walls (or budget posters). Here’s how to buy art online.
A fine piece of artwork makes a home complete. Yet it’s one of the hardest — and most expensive — things to source.
The art world is notoriously tricky to penetrate or understand, in part because it relies on academic opinions and well-trained eyes (as well as a healthy dose of smoke and mirrors) to give value to the very commodities on sale. That being said, the democratisation of art is upon us and tech is playing a hand in opening it up to more people, dissolving some of the barriers to entry and making it easier to buy art online.
From a fintech company helping users invest in their first pieces, to a marketplace showcasing new talent with virtual gallery tours and online advisors, this often befuddling world is becoming more accessible.
Here are a handful of scholarly startups helping bring art into the home.
The mission behind Artland is to make art buying more accessible by creating a marketplace where collectors and dealers come together to view, share, sell and buy art online. Using technology to allows users into galleries, you can take a 3D tour around the space to get a feel of both the art itself and also how it looks on a wall or sits alongside other pieces. Artland curates collections to introduce you to different styles and new voices, and borrows the functionality of popular social media platforms to draw in a tech-savvy crowd, with the ability to ‘follow’ artists. There’s also an Artland Club which offers expert advice on purchasing and gives members access to one piece by an emerging artist (at an affordable price) each year.
London-based startup miPic is a social marketplace for artists and photographers to print, share and sell their pictures, either as framed artworks or printed directly onto fashion and lifestyle products. Artists upload their original artwork and use the platform as a sales tool, making a 20% commission on any purchases that they can withdraw at any point. From the art buyer’s point of view, they get very affordable, unique, framed art for the home — as well as the ability to match your iPhone cover or even swimsuit to your art piece. Prices start from £34.99, including sleek wooden frames (black or white), and cap off at around £150.
If you prize minimalist styles over old masters this is the site to find “the world’s best contemporary art, online”. As well as the weekly curator’s picks, they offer a free advice service to access an expert if you’re looking for something specific, or simply ideas to help you buy art online. The photography section is particularly exciting, with over 4000 pieces (at the time of our viewing), including haunting works by photography prize winner Anna Gaskell (student of the notorious Gregory Crewdson). Prices range from under $500 to up to $50,000. They also have a design store for those who love an eccentric piece of home furnishing — like this.
Rise art is a marketplace with a similar mission: “to make great art accessible to everyone” and enable them to buy art online. They do this by supporting emerging and up-and-coming artists, enabling them to upload their own work and market themselves using the platform. Their site is an easy-to-digest experience for those new to art buying, with commercial gift guides and trending collections, as well as pieces for as little as £50. They also use AI and consumer psychology to develop personalised recommendations for buyers, so it’s perfect for i-have-literally-no-clue shoppers, for whom an actual art advisor might be a bit much.
And for those looking to invest…
Investing in art has always been a privilege, not the norm. Creatyve is setting out to change this and make the art world more within reach to people who are interested in investing but, instead of going all in, can simply invest in shares in a piece of work. Think crowdfunding for art. An artist lists their work on the platform and then starts raising money for shares in the artwork. If the artwork goes on to increase in value over time, and sell for a higher price, then all the shareholders profit from that sale and get a return on their investment. Genius.
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