37 : UTC Startups - Series I

All vertical market segments are affected by digital innovations and by trends seen at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), undoubtedly the greatest hi-tech event in the world, which 3 UTC start-ups chose to attend.

37 : UTC Startups - Series I

My Art Makers, or How the Web serves Art

We often imagine that art-work sales are reserved for an elite and very limited milieu, in the art galleries, or at auctions and think that the Web is not adapted to this market segment.

All wrong! A young UTC graduate, Adrien Saix, recently launched MyArtMakers, a start-up that aims at bringing art fans and contemporary artists closer together.

"I wanted to set up a Web-based project and I had noticed that the art market was way behind in term of digital issues. That was why I oriented my thinking to this area, more than through by any special art inclination” says Adrien Saix, a UTC graduate engineer who took the major GSU (Urban Engineering Systems). “And inasmuch as I myself did not a clue to art works and values, I was able to take a fresh and innocent look at the scene. Today, naturally, I have improved my art culture but the very fact of having a naïve standpoint when I began working on the project allowed us to create something really innovative given that we were not influenced at all by current art market practice”.

MyArtMakers, is a web-based site, similar both to a Market-place (like Amazon®) and to a social network (like Facebook®. Art lovers, collectors and artists can register on the site, but with two different procedures. It is free for the art fans and collectors, who are invited to ‘follow’ up to 40 artists and to ‘like’ about 100 pieces of art, which enabled the algorithm to propose matching artists and amateurs, according to the tastes they expressed.

Before their admission to the site, the artists must supply some further information and photos of their work. “We then choose whether or not to accept the artist”, explains Adrien, “since we simply cannot accept everyone and anyone. The applicant must have a commercial statute as an independent artist or be registered at the ‘Maison des Artistes” and must also propose an area of thematics that adds value to the site! Nevertheless, we do accept all sorts of art forms: paintings, sculptures, photography, engravings and even street art …” Another key point for Adrien: “We are only in the business of first-hand art, i.e., the artist sets up his account with us and sells his own pieces”.

The economic model of the site Freemium: the artists register and offer 5 work-pieces for sale, plus a link to their personal web-site. They can then take out a subscription to have access to other site functions, such as ‘augmented visibility”. Moreover, MyArtMakers takes a commission on sales. Today the site counts over 1 000 French and 300 non-French artists, which tends to prove that there is a real need in the sector. This start-up is not going to rest on its laurels and is already making new project plans. “We are among the first to propose placing personal art-work orders on line, underlines Adrien. “The buyers provide a description of what they are seeking, together with a possible purchasing budget and it is up to the artists who are interested to make proposals of works and prices. Buyer (or agent) and the artists can finalise in terms of size, materials, colours, etc. So far, we have had 5 on line order placed this way via the site, over and above the normal sales of art-pieces that exist”.

At the end of the year, the start-up managers will propose a brand new service to artists: “The MyArtMakers Academy which will be a training centre for artists in digital communication, Internet site management and what is called community management techniques … and believe me, there is a real need no<w for that kind of service”, states Adrien with conviction.

Moreover and thanks to some twenty temporary exhibition show-rooms, in places like hotel foyers and restaurants, where art-work can be hung and seen, MyArtMakers becomes part of the real world. “And we have also just launched some preview events, to satisfy a demand from the artists”, adds Adrien. “And again, we are offering special services for enterprises. We offer our advice for purchasing of art-works, and organize “Art and Management” workshops or preview events, as said earlier”.

An English language version has been added to the site, to help development trusts outside France and what can be seen, says Adrien, “is a contemporary art market that represents some 2.8% of the word market. The 3 major players are the USA, China and the UK who, together, have taken 77% of the whole market. We really must position ourselves better in the international scene”.

Just like Alice Froissac (cf. Interactions #35), Adrien Saix is a serial entrepreneur, in that he set up his own Comm. agency, Le Web Français. “We are continuously developing ‘apps’, web sites and doing referencing work … that, in fact, allows us to test our ideas on the MyArtMakers site”, adds Adrien with a knowledgeable smile.

More at these sites:

General information and contacts (bilingual French-English):

For company business:

For the MyArtMakers Academy:

For the MyArtMakers blog:

The Le Web Français site: