I met this guy, one night, that told me immediately about this website once he knew I had an art blog. A friend of him was the Co-funder, and he advised me to take a look. It was a new project and their vision was really similar to mine.
Of course, if something talks about art in some innovative way, it’s worth of writing an article on Sciupp.com! Soo.. my interview request was sent the next day.
This is how I met Astrid, CEO and Co-founder of Kanvas.ai, a new and exciting art market that combines art and technology, born here in Estonia, that’s soon going to explode worldwide and change the game.
How the benefits of technology can help artists and collectors? Is it possible to completely revolutionise the art market and connect art worldwide through a platform?
What we are gonna talk about today:
- What is Kanvas.ai?
- NFT market.
- How to manage your life with an online business.
- How to apply and sell your works with Kanvas.
- How to start and run a new project.
[10 November update]
This interview was made a while ago, but lots of thing changed in Kanvas.ai meanwhile! For example, visiting their website, you’ll finally find that the AR service is finally implemented, and that unfortunately the rent service is no longer available. Despite these changes, Sciupp decided to leave the interview authentic as it was, and add this note so you could be aware of it before you read about their services and so on. Now that you know, sit and enjoy your reading! 🙂
| What is Kanvas.ai?
Kanvas.ai is a selling platform founded by Astrid and Julian in 2020. There you have a lot of opportunities both as an artist and as a buyer. Why do we find this market innovative? Because of the needed combination between art and technology.
In addition, they offer a new kind of services such as art rent (oh yeah, you can rent a painting for months, for example) and crypto payments.
Basically, Kanvas makes it all more fast, easy and accessible for everyone. Not bad at all.
“Let’s start with the idea and the story behind Kanvas.”
“Everything starts in my background; I’m really interested in tech and what the digital world can give us, but at the same moment I’m super into art! Also, I know art markets because I worked in a gallery and I kinda have skills for that.
Kanvas is still in an early stage, but the first idea was to create this simple webpage in which artists could upload their works and sell, now it started to expand. Though the rent option we also want to make art affordable.
Also, the “crypto thing“: I see art as an investment. I mean, art is like a stock market. You can risk, you can lose, you can win. I’m really into the crypto myself so I know that and why don’t give the option to people to do that?
My Co-founder Julian is a totally tech person but a really fan of art, so he came with the idea. I was stuck home with a baby and said “Well yeah, let’s do it!”.”
“You though about a totally different type of art market: faster, easier, accessible.“
“My project started a little before Covid, but when I saw what it did to the art market, I thought it was the right time: all the galleries were closed, sells went down; so I started posting on Instagram and online. It all went digital. Actually, the clients need something different. I think the world is changing and we have to change with it. Artist need to survive as well!
We are working on some exciting uploads to help the buyer and the artist as well through our platform. We are going to offer a service which allows the customer to see through their phones how the artwork would look like in real life with a really high quality.”
| NFT market
“I think you chose the right moment because NFT’s totally exploded not a long ago, or am I wrong?“
“I think NFT’s for memes and digital art are so wired, but for art itself is a very new thing. I mean, I’m not sure if last year there was anything but this year they started to connect NFT’s with the physical objects. A painting can now have NFTs, and it’s like a digital certificate.”
“NFTs are secure: you cannot break it, stole it or fake it. And I think, indeed, I’m quite sure that’s a matter of time before big galleries are starting to add NFTs option to their platforms.
Now we are starting to improve, to figure out which way we have to take. We are now thinking about creating a single different page for NFTs. It’s important to separate art from post card or football cards, you know? It would happen.”
| How to manage your life with an online business
“Starting an online business is not that easy. How do you manage your business, your life and your time?”
“First thing: find a good team, don’t try to run it alone.
It’s very hard to do anything all alone. You really need a good team and good people around you. I’m lucky to have such a good team; if there’s someone that knows something better, I always ask advice. There will be lots and lots of things going on in your head, you can’t think about everything.
Then, give things away, trust people. You can’t control anything, you have to trust you team. Sometimes things are not exactly how I wanted , but sometimes the result is even better that I was thinking.
I’ve been living a lot of freelance life in my past so I’m kinda used to it. I really like to make my own schedule. If somebody puts me in a 9-5 job, no way, it doesn’t work out. And that’s how I treat my team as well, that’s how they work: they have their working time and do their tasks whenever they want. I just need to get things done.
I’m working 7 days a week, I don’t see my friends a lot. As I said earlier, it’s all in the early stage, and how can I say now “take time off”? Because if you want it to be bigger, you have to have make clear rules. Sometimes it’s hard. My husband has a crowdfunding company, so even him works with a schedule similar to mine. In my family it doesn’t exist the “oh no, it’s 5pm!”
And last, you don’t have to criticise yourself. You are your worst enemy when you own a company.”
“How did you build up your team?”
“We decided to hire a tech student at her first year. She wasn’t an expert but we decided to give her a chance. She was very very talented and a fast-learner, so she joined us.
We also needed a designer, of course. I was looking in a crowdfunding platform and I found out a girl that had a really similar idea but she didn’t collect enough money, so I asked her to join us!
To build my team I tested some people giving them small tasks. Sometimes they didn’t fit well with our language or stuff. That’s ok, it can happen as well.”
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“Are you planning to go international?“
“Yes. Our plan is to find, city by city, a figure that takes a look at the market and takes his profit. Not anyone could do it because of the importance of quality control, for example. “
| How to apply and sell your works on Kanvas
“Can an artist apply?“
“Yes, artists can apply! We are mostly looking for artists that already know a little bit how the market works and that are professionals, so we don’t accept everyone.
But still, anyone can try to apply.”
“How to apply? How does it work?“
“They can send me an email or directly create an account on our website and upload their works. Then we are going to select. We check their works and background, and after that their artworks gonna be online.”
“The artists have then two options:
–They can manage their profile by themselves and have total control of it: add content, upload their works etc.
-They can decide to delegate this work to us. We offer this service, for a commission fee, for artists that don’t have time or just don’t want to do that. Really useful for who just wants things ready.”
“Only traditional artists can apply?“
“We are open to accept every type of media: in our website you can find photography, paintings, mixed medium, jewellery.. if there is also a super cool video artist, for example, why not!”
“What are these online exhibitions on your website?“
“Currently most of these online exhibitions are in physical galleries.
We offer them these custom pages, that are also something missing in the market. They don’t have this option. After the exhibition they delete it all. So I had this idea, and five years from now the artist can have this page. An exhibition doesn’t have to be only physical.
Also, let’s say that someone wants to pay for a painting in a certain exhibition: he doesn’t have to go there and find someone to ask to; he can consult the artist’s page and talk directly with him. It’s faster and easier.”
“What else do you think is missing in the art market nowadays?“
“Most of the big galleries are very close, they don’t even have a simple webpage. I used to work for a really big photography gallery back in Barcelona; it hosted famous and big photographers from all over the world. But disinformation didn’t get it out from the local circle. It was so strange to me.
That’s the idea behind Kanvas. More information on what’s happening in different galleries, we have the connection in different circles. We are not competing with anybody, we are just trying to give technological solutions and help.
This is also missing from the market. You are maybe in another city and want to know where cool exhibitions are. Then, you open google and you get lost.
Also I want to open up a dialog between different artists. When I was living in Barcelona I “accidentally” met a local artist with a similar language as mine. Totally different background, but similar language. We had a group exhibition. And when you have more than one artist per exhibition, it feels more complete. This is why artists should meet, collaborate, create something together.
At the moment Estonia art market is super close and lots of countries have the same problem. The artists want to meet other artists that do the same things, they want to get out.“
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