Several companies, including Amazon, are trying to move the art market online, connecting buyers with gallery owners and offering diverse collections of artwork, ranging in mediums, genres and prices. As the only company of its kind to launch on mobile first, ARTtwo50 offers a uniquely accessible approach to the art market, appealing to first-time buyers.
The San Francisco-based art e-commerce platform launches its mobile app in the Apple Store today. The app’s virtue lies in its simplicity. Users snap a photo of their wall, browse original artwork by virtually hanging it in the space and solicit their friends for feedback by sharing the images through social media.
As suggested by the moniker, every piece featured on ARTtwo50 costs $250. Like the technology that allows users to visualize artwork on their wall, the app’s single price point allows “consumers to focus on whether or not they connect with a piece,” said one of the co-founders Patrick Coughlin.
The group of founders may be diverse, but they fit their target demographic. They are curious, young professionals – a former management consultant and design specialist, a counter-terrorism analyst turned Stanford MBA, a former graduate student and teacher of Interactive Design at Ohio University and a seasoned mobile app developer – interested in learning more about art.
“One of our greatest strengths is that we’re coming at this with what design-thinkers call the ‘child’s mind’ or a ‘naive mindset,’ which gives us a freedom to take a totally different approach,” said co-founder Ethan Appleby, who first came up with the idea for ARTtwo50.
One of the reasons why ARTtwo50 is based in San Francisco is that the city is a hub for artists. In fact, San Francisco boasts one of the highest percentages of artists in its workforces, according to a recent article in The Washington Post. About 15% of the more than 500 artists featured on the app are local, which means the ARTtwo50 team can meet the artists regularly to learn “about their pain points and what they want out of an online marketplace,” said Coughlin.