How do you make art more available to people? How can you afford to buy more art? How do you, as an artist, get your name out there? KUNST100 is here to help you out
In the natural relationship between art aficionados and artists, there seems to be a gap that needs bridging. As an artist, it can be hard to get your name out there and be recognized, this being especially the case if you’re self-made. At the other end, there are many art-lovers who simply cannot afford to support the artists they love, due to the staggering prices in the art world.
Enter KUNST100, the Berlin-based startup who’s here to change the inaccessibility, and to shift the way we interact with art. Seeing and feeling these dark spots in their beloved industry, founders Lila and Lisa wanted to offer a solution to a problem they’ve both had close to heart. We picked their brains about the how’s and why’s of their initiative:
Hi! Tell us a bit about who you two are and how you got to work together.
We are Lila and Lisa from the online art gallery Kunst100. Both of us have roots in the art city Düsseldorf but we actually met in Berlin. Lila was already offering her befriended artist her living room as an exhibition space. Her landlord was not amused so shortly afterwards Lila opened her first gallery in Kreuzberg. When I (Lisa) heard of Lila’s passion to make art more affordable and offer a much simpler entry to the art market, I knew that I wanted to learn more. Disillusioned from my former work in the conservative and posh art world in New York, I was inspired by Lila’s modern interpretation of an art gallery. Real art for everyone! Since this first meeting we stayed in touch. Driven by the vision of making art accessible to everyone, us two then founded the online gallery Kunst100 with the aim of bringing Lila’s ideas to a broader audience via digital channels.
What made you explore the idea of making art more available to people?
As many ideas, the idea for an online gallery that offers affordable art came from our own need. Both of us are interested in art and we always dreamed of owning real art and supporting upcoming artists. But we did not know where to buy it with our rather small budget. We believe that there are many other people out there that feel the same way. On top of that, the art market is quite a closed circle and is lacking transparency. We wanted to create a place that offers new ways of buying art. Less overly complicated description of artworks, more fun and much more approachable.
But there is more: we also experienced through befriended artists how hard it is to start a career in the art world and to sell art. Similar to the former music industry only a few artists make the cut and the rest is unseen or underpaid. We aim to provide an opportunity for young artists to be seen.
How do you select artists to work with?
First of all, it is important for us to know all our artists personally and choose each work individually. This way we can ensure consistent quality and decide whether the art fits us and the existing portfolio. But the big difference in comparison to traditional galleries is that we do not put that much emphasis on the references or traditional selection criteria like the number of previous exhibitions of the reputation of the art school. This way we offer a chance for emerging artists to be seen. That’s not to say that we don’t have art school graduates. We have artists from the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie, from UDK in Berlin and other well-known schools. It’s just not that important for us where the artists studied or what they studied, where they are from and how old they are. We focus on the artwork itself.
Are there any political reflections in those choices?
For us, as a company and especially as female founders it is important to express our values and also political views. We want to use our awareness to stand up for equality and diversity. Just recently we hosted a live session on gender topics in the art world and tried to break up the stereotypical beliefs. As the art world is known for underrepresenting female artists we also put an emphasis on that topic and raise awareness for equality and diversity.
Apart from that our overall mission is to lower the formal hurdles for artists to get access to galleries (no art school must have).
Where do you hope to be in five years with kunst100?
In the future we would like to establish Kunst100 as the brand for a simple entry in the art market. We want to go beyond just a simple eCom shop and bring artists and artlovers together.