The art market is steadily adopting the online model, from auction houses to art fairs, from virtual exhibitions to limited edition online prints. Yet the success of this model remains circumspect, with questions abound; will online art fairs attract the clientele of Frieze Art Fair or Art Basel? Can aesthetic preferences be decoded by art genomes? Only in a few years will one be able to judge whether the online art world found success among pixels or became itself pixelated. For now, the move towards the digital has made room for interesting innovations in the area of art business, of which Art.sy, Paddle8, VIP Art Fair are some of the most well known.
Of late, a San Francisco based start-up seeks to transform the way art is purchased, shared, and viewed. Using a blend of technology, social media, and contemporary art, it seeks to artify the ecosystem. “Artify It is unveiling today a new service offering that harnesses technology and a subscription-based model to provide artists, businesses and consumers fresh ways to experience high-quality, contemporary art.”
Artify It will allow people to choose art from online catalogues and essentially rent it for as long as they desire. The twist presents itself in the selling strategy adopted by the start-up; subscribers can practice their skills as art dealers and earn commissions if they sell artworks on rent.
In its press release, it states: "As part of its initial offering, Artify It is introducing Artify Scout™, a unique feature that enables subscribers to act as curators and finders for works that might be sought for purchase by other visitors to the website, or by anyone seeing the works in person at the subscriber’s home or business. If a piece that is placed with a subscriber is bid on and sold, a sizable commission is earned by the subscriber, turning each subscriber into an art dealer, and creating another business model within Artify it.”
Artify It centers on an affordable, service based, approach to art with members selecting works from online catalogues and renting them on a monthly basis. Artists benefit from the exposure their works receive both online and in someone’s home and earn revenues due to Artify’s subscription model. Artists will also have the opportunity to build relationships with members through “artist profiles and connection services.”
Artify It’s co-founder, Lorenzo Thione, said the following: “We developed our service offering with both consumers and artists in mind,” says Thione. “Artify It is not only demystifying the sometimes intimidating art purchasing process, but also truly supporting artists by providing visibility and giving their not-yet sold art a place in the community.”
The start-up sees opportunities in social networking and the addition of educational tools in its horizon. As of now, its in beta phase and is focusing its efforts in launching the subscription model in the San Francisco bay area, with plans to expand into New York and Los Angeles.
With its unique model, Artify It could truly change the landscape of art. In a terrain rocky with elitism, Artify It could plant seeds of accessibility and affordability. Even the weeds of speculation can be uprooted with its emphasis on ”art as a service,” not an investment. Looks like the start-up could truly artify, even electrify the art scene.