Breaking Traditional Art Barriers With Saatchi Art
The process of sourcing art for clients can feel daunting at times. Whether you’ve exhausted your galleries or feel overwhelmed on how to size, the last finishing touch of art can cause uneasy feelings of frustration. Based in sunny Los Angeles, Saatchi Art is redefining the experience of buying and selling art, including special services for interior designers such as VIP customer support, invitations to exclusive events and trade discounts.
Saatchi Art provides an unparalleled collection of paintings, drawings, sculpture and photography in a range of prices while empowering international artists with the platform to exhibit and sell their work in a curated environment. Chief Curator at Saatchi Art, Rebecca Wilson, discusses Saatchi Art’s competitive edge, their dedication to supporting emerging international artists, the LA art scene, and the Saatchi Art Art Advisory services that save interior designers the time and expense of gallery hopping to find custom pieces with white-glove delivery at a trade price.
How is Saatchi Art different from the proliferation of other online galleries out there re-defining how to buy and sell art?
Attracting artists to our online gallery was crucial in the beginning and we were fortunate that this happened organically and by word of mouth. We now represent over 60,000 artists from 100 countries. This might sound daunting but that’s why the curation I do every day is so important and also why our art advisory service is flourishing. We help individual buyers and interior designers to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently, saving them time. I think it’s also been key to our success to recognize that while many buyers want to purchase works from us anonymously and on their own, there are many others who want to have a personal relationship with a curator who can share expertise and knowledge, giving people confidence in the art they are buying.
“Our mission at Saatchi Art is to help emerging artists find a broad audience for their works, and this breaking-down of traditional art world barriers is very much reflected in the spirit of Los Angeles.”
Saatchi Art is headquartered in Los Angeles – how does your L.A. presence influence your curation and strategy in the art world?
Los Angeles is so firmly part of the international art world now, with fairs happening here and new galleries — Sprueth Magers and Hauser Wirth & Schimmel —opening here. There are some of the best art schools in the world here and it’s great for the culture of the city that artists are staying in LA and don’t feel that they have to go to New York to be at the heart of the art world. I know a number of artists who’ve come to LA from London and have found it liberating to be here where they can get bigger studios and start to push their work in new directions as a result. I’m very excited that Saatchi Art is here in such a creative and open-minded environment.
Our mission at Saatchi Art is to help emerging artists find a broad audience for their works, and this breaking-down of traditional art world barriers is very much reflected in the spirit of Los Angeles. I feel strongly that the gallery system continues to fail many talented artists. Whether an artist is taken on by a gallery or not is fairly arbitrary and is certainly not a reflection of the quality of the work they are making. If you think about how many galleries there are in each city and how many shows they each do in a year (no more than 10), that leaves a lot of very gifted artists unsupported. At Saatchi Art we are trying to fill this huge gap by representing artists all over the world, giving them the opportunity to show their work to an international audience online and to start to make a living from their work.
Based on research provided by Hiscox, online art market sales reached $3.27 billion in 2015, a 24% increase year over year. How does Saatchi Art make customers comfortable purchasing art online?
Our mission is rooted in making buying art easy to do and accessible, so this point is a very important focus of our gallery. We help our collectors feel confident buying art online via three key areas. First is our dedication to world class customer service, in which real live humans help collectors through the process of purchase and delivery with regular updates on the status of the artwork they have bought. In addition, for those looking for hands-on guidance, we offer complimentary art advisory services which allows prospective buyers the chance to work with an expert one on one to find the perfect works for their home. Second, the work of our our design and product teams ensures our site is easy to navigate. This extends to our iOS app where you can take a photo of your wall and see works of art you are interested in actually on your wall. This feature enables people to get a much better sense of what a work will look like in their room and it helps to judge scale which isn’t always so easy to gauge. Third, we want people to love the works they buy, so we guarantee 100% satisfaction on every purchase of original art with a 7-day money-back policy.
Leaf Group recently acquired The Other Art Fair, the U.K.’s leading art fair for discovering emerging artists. How has this move affected Saatchi Ar?
We were longtime fans of The Other Art Fair and eager to welcome them under the Leaf Group umbrella. With a shared mission of identifying and supporting emerging artists from all over the world, together we are able to create even more opportunity for artists and art lovers alike. Saatchi Art will benefit from The Other Art Fair’s physical presence around the world, where our collectors can encounter artworks in person and meet the extraordinary artists who make them. By extension, we are pleased to introduce the community of artists and collectors at The Other Art Fair to ongoing online programming and exhibitions, which can keep them engaged with art between fairs.
Who are some emerging artists to watch right now?
We have just published our first-ever comprehensive report on the emerging art market which includes the latest edition of a series we do called “Invest In Art”. For this new edition, I selected 20 emerging artists of particular promise who have recently graduated from the most prestigious art schools in the UK and US. All of these artists are making distinctive work which is being recognized with international sales, awards, and invitations to participate in exhibitions and residencies.
“We are trying to fill this huge gap by representing artists all over the world, giving them the opportunity to show their work to an international audience online and to start to make a living from their work.”
What are the membership benefits in joining the “Curator’s Circle”?
Our Curator’s Circle members are collectors who have been loyal supporters of Saatchi Art artists. In return for their ongoing support, we offer them direct access to me and my team with a VIP support email and phone number, as well as exclusive invitations to events, advance access to special series and initiatives, and updates on the state of the emerging art world. From time to time, we also offer these members exclusive promotional offers.
How does the “Free Art Advisory” work exactly?
For those who would like guidance in finding artworks — whether for their own home, as a gift, or for designers working on a project for a client — all they need to do is sign up for our complimentary Art Advisory service at saatchiart.com/artadvisory and submit some information about their budget and what they are looking for. Once we receive this from prospective buyers, we respond with a selection of about 30 works within 3-5 days. From there, either the collector will make a purchase or provide us with feedback to further refine the selections. We offer this time-saving service at no additional fee—which is a rare offering in an industry where art advisors can charge upwards of $250 an hour for their services!
What’s your best-selling category?
Collectors tend to buy paintings more than any other category, but we sell works across drawing, sculpture, collage, limited edition photography, collage and even digital art. In the past six months, we’ve sold works by artists in 100 countries to collectors in 80 countries, so the diversity in taste and style is considerable.
How does Saatchi Art ease the sourcing and purchasing process for interior designers?
Our Art Advisory service saves designers the time and expense of physically visiting galleries that might be across town, or even across the globe. We offer a single online gallery for every kind of art, originating from over 100 countries. No other gallery provides the depth and breadth that we do. When coupled with our fast turnaround on custom pieces, the option to buy framed prints, and trade discounts, Saatchi Art is the most convenient and efficient way for designers to find a broad range of high quality works for their design projects.
What are 3 tips of “best practices” to offer interior designers for making the most out of Saatchi Art?
1. Share as much information about your project as you can so we can custom tailor our recommendations to your precise needs. Be sure to include your budget, any renderings or photos, and size constraints.
2. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask us about doing a custom commission. Many of our artists are open to this, and we can ensure a quick turnaround.
3. Finally, if you are on a tight budget, inquire about having your artworks shipped rolled rather than pre-framed in a box. This can cut shipping costs, and ensure your artwork arrives in perfect condition. If your artwork requires special handling, we can also offer white glove delivery – just ask!
For the designers dealing with clients who don’t know “where to start” with art but want to purchase, what are some strategic ways to understand a client’s needs?
Start by presenting art in the context of a room, so they understand the overall impact and role art can play in tying together the look of a given space. Many consumer design magazines are great about including artworks in their spreads, and these inspirational photos can be found in newsstands everywhere. Have your client flip through these magazines — Elle Decor, domino, Architectural Digest are good examples — and visit sites like MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy and Lonny to save ideas to Pinterest. Instagram also offers a wealth of art inspiration, so see what types of art your client tends to respond to. Large scale statement works? Eclectic gallery walls? Minimalist abstracts with soothing colors? Once you have a few “winners”, share them with your Saatchi Art curator and we can present some options to fit your client’s space.
What’s Saatchi Art’s focus for 2017?
We are excited to be introducing more and more people to Saatchi Art through press and events, and enabling people who find the gallery experience intimidating to find art they love in a new way. I want more and more people to learn about what we do, discover the incredible artists we represent and experience the outstanding service we offer from helping you to choose an artwork to delivering it safely from an artist’s studio across the world to your home.