The Artist Entrepreneur: How Technology is Transforming the Art World
By Veronika Sonsev, CEO Founder of inSparq.com, an ecommerce technology company. She is also a co-founder of Women Innovate Mobile, a technology accelerator focused on female founders.
Seth Godin says, “All artists are entrepreneurs. All entrepreneurs are artists.” With the advent of new technology startups like Kickstarter, Eventbrite and Artsicle, Godin’s vision is getting elevated to the next level enabling artists to take their career into their own hands.
For centuries, artists have relied on individuals and institutions to patronize their work. To put together a solo show, artists would have to have gallery representation, which required a lot of luck and connections. Or, if they had money, the artist could pay a mediocre gallery to show their work, a luxury that very few artists could afford.
Now, new technologies are disrupting the art world in ways that were never imagined, allowing artists to fund, promote and create their own shows.
Erick Sánchez, a visual artist living in New York City, is a great example of an artist who has embraced new technologies to take his career to the next level. “I had excellent representation in New York City at the William Bennett Gallery in Soho,” says Sánchez. “When they shut down, I no longer had a place to show my work. I got frustrated trying to connect with other galleries and finally, I decided to take my career in my own hands.”
Erick was determined to be the creator of his own destiny. He had an ambitious project in mind, but limited resources on hand. Erick reached out to his network and found a unique free space for a solo show — a church in Times Square. Getting the free space was good, but he still needed money for art supplies, invitations and programs. So he turned to Kickstarter, a new startup that lets individuals leverage social networks to fund projects. To create his Kickstarter campaign, Erick had to make a video explaining the project, so he taught himself how to use Sony Vegas video editing software. After he created the Kickstarter page, he then marketed and promoted the project using his WordPress website, email list of over two thousand artists and collectors, and Facebook where he has over three thousand friends.
Erick was able to successfully fund his Kickstarter project and raise $3,800 — enough to fund the out of pocket costs for his solo show.
Erick then created his printed invitations on InDesign (which he taught himself using Youtube) and digital invitations on Eventbrite. Erick is now using social media and blogs, such as Artefuse, to market his show.
All of this effort is culminating with a show called Genesis: Creation and Decadence on November 1st at 7pm at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Times Square. Genesis means a new beginning. In many ways, this name of Erick’s show not only refers to the subject of his work, but also the fact that he is now using technology tools to seek his own destiny.
Erick is a pioneer in the artists’ community, but he’s not the only one disrupting the old-school industry. And in the future, we will see more artists, who are feeling frustrated and limited, embrace their own fate by making their art careers in the cloud. This is the genesis of a new art world.
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