Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Astia in Conversation with DegreeArt
Astia client, London-based, DegreeArt.com is an online marketplace the enables art lovers to acquire the works of new and emerging artists. Astia VP Europe, Evie Mulberry, shared a conversation with DegreeArt founders Isobel Beauchamp and Elinor Olisa to learn more about the story behind the business.
EM: What inspired you to found DegreeArt.com?
DA: We had identified that there was a need to break down the traditional barriers associated with buying, owning and collecting contemporary art. The Internet was the ideal vehicle to bridge the gap between emerging, talented artists and the art buying public.
EM: How do you find your "Artists of the Future"?
DA: We identify and recruit artists who not only posses artistic talent but crucially who, with our support, have the skills required to sustain a career as a practicing artist. This is essential to ensure their work will not only hold its value but represent a potential investment.
EM: DegreeArt.com is considered the UK leader in providing contemporary, affordable art by emerging artists. How did you establish this notoriety?
DA: By making art accessible. The art market is notoriously difficult to crack and we are immensely proud of the name we have established and our brand positioning. Identifying art that people not only want to own but which is created by promising artists has been crucial.
EM: Elinor, you recently stated that “not only is the emerging art market surviving, it has been experiencing considerably more attention than before the markets crashed”. What do you anticipate in 2010 as highlights for the market?
DA: Our top three predictions for the emerging art market in 2010 are:
1) There is an increased insistence from buyers for credible, quality art which is as strong technically as it is conceptually
2)We are seeing increasing numbers of first time buyers accessing art as a way to invest in something tangible and enjoyable
3) We are expecting to see a considerable move away from purely conceptual projects and a return to painting and sculpture at this year’s degree shows as artists look to create work that has wider commercial appeal
EM: You have now participated in Astia’s first European Doing it Right (May 2009), presented at the first Astia European Investor Forum (June 2009), and most recently attended London's Doing it Right programme (February 2-3). How has your participation been impactful for your business and as individuals?
DA: Astia has taken us out of our comfort zone, asking us to evaluate our business and to understand what needs to be done to realize the full potential of the company. Following the June programme, the February Astia days provided us with a valuable opportunity to look back at what we have achieved in the past 8 months and to focus on what we need to concentrate on going forward into 2010. As individuals it has undoubtedly given us a keenness to continue in our goals.
EM: Having participated within Astia's global community, how do you similarly provide a robust network and support for your artist community?
DA: Being an artist is often a solitary existence and the same is true for running your own business. As Astia does for its community, we provide artists with a support structure enabling them to draw on the experiences of others and to request advice enabling them to further their careers and gain greater confidence as the refine their practice.
EM: What is next for DegreeArt.com?
DA: We are working hard to monopolize on our successes of the past years and to ensure that the momentum is not lost. We are seeking to reach broader markets with as we grow the business and ensure that those who have previously felt excluded from the art world are provided with access to all that it has to offer.
You can follow the DegreeArt story, browse the art collection, and purchase your own favorites directly on their website: http://www.degreeart.com/