“Artsted is a global online sales art marketplace working on encouraging transparent and meaningful connections between artists and art collectors. Based on an innovative proprietary algorithm, Artsted strives to put a halt to confusion, price fixing and information asymmetries in the art market. As a result of this framework, the project positions itself in the niche of trusted market insight, which in turn brings the attention of a new generation of art collectors interested in affordable investment opportunities and looking to build future-proof collections that hold value.
The reason why Artsted focuses on emerging artists is because the founders are convinced that the market disruption can only happen in a bottom-up movement, where a unified self-audit standard is set for all artists pursuing a professional career. It starts with creating a publicly available and comprehensive set of analytics connected to artwork evaluations. The system Artsted platform is using is based on non-transactional data analytics and charts connected to artists’ CV entries, processed using a proprietary algorithm.
Once an artist joins the Artsted platform, they are immediately able to create a digital track record that later develops over time to reflect their career performance & progress. At the same time, this tool also benefits collectors, as they are provided with instant analytics and evaluations including real-time market updates. In addition, the platform provides targeted advertisement to favour creators’ visibility and sales. The best part is that all these services are free for the artists.
The company behind the project – a UK-based Artisfact ltd has been backed by a number of angel investors and venture capitalists, among which the Atomind Group (www.atomind.com). Besides the technology aspect Artsted takes an approach that differentiates it from the rest of art market companies by highlighting the proximity and transparency values: unlike physical galleries that take up to 50% in commission on each sale, Artsted reduces it to 35% on behalf of the platform.
Artsted’s mission is to nurture emerging creators’ careers, letting them operate as self-auditors as they make their way up the global art market – and help a new generation of art collectors make use of unprecedented tools that display transparent price analytics and market insights into the emerging creators’ work.
Here’s the conversation with the Artsted founder, Maryna Rybakova explaining her vision about this new platform as well as providing some important details about Artsted works.
Could you mention any three key-words that identify the vision of Artsted?
MR: Accessibility, equality and insight. The vision behind Artsted is creating a platform that would support both emerging visual artists and aspiring art collectors in a mutually beneficial setup. The first, would be enabled to expand their reach, sell directly to collectors not having to rely on gallery representation, manage their sales and promotion autonomously, while the collectors – would be able to navigate the market environment like experts thanks to the data transparency and artist analytics available at the click of a button.
Reading your platform’s mission, it is highlighted that it is important to encourage “transparent and meaningful connections between artists and art collectors” – Why is price transparency significant in your art platform’s ethics? Is it something that needs improvement in the art market regarding transparency?
MR: Absolutely, I believe so. It is the first kind of realisation that one comes to learn, as one enters the art market as an insider – the prices are not transparent, and the dealers build their whole business models around the fact that they keep collectors “in the dark” about the actual value of whatever they are selling. Which allows them to manipulate the market, “fix” prices and adjust the profit margins however they see fit. That is one of the factors that is keeping a lot of people from engaging with art, and from purchasing it. It is just not an enjoyable or simple experience, since you know someone will most likely take advantage of your lack of insight.
Some changes have been done already, some galleries (an absolute minority) do exhibit their work with a price tag, and we have also seen technology enable auction house sales databases like Artprice.com contribute to larger transparency in the market. However, the primary market is still the dark horse – with no engines pointing to the actual reasoning behind prices of artworks”.
Artsted is a new art platform which concentrates on the emerging art market. Why should someone invest in living artists or even better in emerging artists?
MR: The reasons are multiple, reality. starting from a very practical approach that emerging artist’s work is affordable enough for anyone to be able to own it, to the fact that it is the emerging artists who are in the most fragile and less secure places in their careers – for the most part, they are having trouble sustaining their practice and making their way up in the market.
Another point is that we can actually consider investment in emerging artists from the “venture capital” perspective, where a collector just like a venture capitalist goes on to hyper diversify their portfolio holding. It is fine if the 99% of artists don’t become the next Damien Hirst, but if only 1% of them do become “blue-chip” over the years, the returns will greatly surpass the initial investment.
If you could provide some advice to a buyer, which are the top tips for buying art online?
MR: The advice is the same as buying offline, actually. Find whatever you like, make sure you are buying within your budget, double check how the work is delivered – if you are looking to lower your carbon footprint, try looking for artists in your area or city.
What would you suggest to someone who seems to have concerns about buying art online today? -suggestions to overcome these concerns-
MR: I believe the key word here is research, and online is a great place to do that. Whenever looking to buy from an artist, go research their career, take a look at their online portfolios. If you are buying established names that have already been to auction, then to make sure you are getting a good deal on the value/price of the work one can check out the database engines like artprice.
Being the founder of Artsted, what do you particularly wish to achieve in 2021?
MR: Currently we have the test version of the platform up and running, and the goal is to be able to launch the fully functional product by end of the year. Once that is done, the focus is on growth and delivering value to both sides of our users: helping artists sell and promote their work, and helping collectors find artwork that is a great fit for their collection/”investment portfolio”. Another big branch we are looking into right now is the NFT space and how we could provide “traditional” visual artists who work with all sorts of physical mediums with simple and no “fuss tools” to gain a presence in the digital art realm. So, lots exciting developments ahead!
What makes Artsted stand out from other platforms?
MR: Well, it is the price transparency, price history and analytics – if i have to put it in a nutshell. As per the more expensive concept, I like to think of the product we are building as Linkedin for artists, in some way: since they are creating an online track record for all the career-relevant events that are then analyzed by our proprietary algorithm. Besides that, a feature that sets Artsted apart is that it could be considered an “art wallet”, where (from the buyer’s perspective) each artist is viewed within a comprehensive framework of their performance, and the collectors can visualise the value progress of their purchases – just like with any other type of tradable asset or commodity on the stock market. Obviously, the art market and the stock market are two drastically different concepts, but Artsted is filling in the information and data transparency gap for the primary market that no one has ever attempted at filling before. So that’s something in our vision that we are truly proud of.
What’s the best advice someone gave you while developing your art platform?
MR: At the very beginning of my journey as an entrepreneur (and actually up to this day sometimes), I have suffered from impostor syndrome, thinking I hadn’t had enough experience. I had never worked for mega-galleries or auction houses,and even though I have a Bachelors and Masters degree in the Arts Management but my actual hands on experience was limited to a few gallery positions after which I passed on to found a business on my own (ReA! Art Fair). So, actually a great piece of advice I was given is that, I shouldn’t look up to the authorities of the current industry, since it is their interest to perpetuate its imperfections and instead, I should embrace my my lack of insider experience as a blessing in disguise – something that allows me to me able to see the bigger picture and be able to identify opportunities for disruption from an unbiased outsider’s perspective.
All images courtesy of Artsted