Back in October I read an article in the New York Times entitled "Gallerists to the People" by William Grimes. ( just goes to show you how busy I have been that I'm only NOW getting to writing this blog post on it)
This article described the latest arts venture by Alex Tryon and Scott Carleton, whimsically entitled "Artsicle" . They are revolutionizing the art world by allowing art lovers to rent and/or purchase artwork. That's right. You can RENT artwork now. Starting at a mere $25 a month you can rent a painting and keep it for as long as you would like. If you choose to keep it, you can purchase the piece.
While the thought of having my artwork shipped all over the place gives me the sweats ( I've seen some massively abused packages in my day) this idea really excites and interests me. Galleries are often quite stuffy and escalate the cost of the artwork well beyond what the artist would typically ask for.
I myself am not a huge fan of entering most art galleries as I prefer going to art fairs where one can see the art in a less intimidating way and can even speak with the artist.
Having an online gallery is nice because you view the art at your leisure. There is even a curator that you can chat with on their website. Renting the art is an appealing idea because it allows you to experience the piece and live with it without having to actually commit to it. Art is expensive, plain and simple. It's difficult for the average person to buy original art. It's why I try to make prints available for my most of my pieces. While $25 a month might not be doable for everyone, it's definitely cheaper than purchasing an original piece of artwork outright. If you get a bonus, or come across some extra money, you can purchase the piece if you love it so much. The artist gets 50% of the rental price and 70% of the sale price, which is huge considering that most galleries generally take between 40% and even 60% of the sales. This seems like a win win for everyone involved. The artist has the possibility of earning even more money on their work as it could be rented multiple times by multiple collectors before it is actually sold. The artist can also feel a certain amount of satisfaction that their work is going to someone who has had time to truly fall in love with their piece before buying it. No impulse buys here.
I personally hope that this idea takes off with others. I believe that Artsicle, as a New York based business, is generally supporting New York based artists, so I would love to see more nationally or internationally based websites pop up with this concept. I think that it would be exciting if art collecting went in this direction as it makes art much more inclusive and accessible rather than exclusive and elitist.
What are some of your thoughts or feelings on this? Do you view this as a positive direction for art? Would you consider renting your artwork or renting the artwork of others? What negatives do you forsee with this?