Art Money Paul Becker

Australian art entrepreneur Paul Becker is striving to make art more attainable and change common misconceptions regarding the art market. Art Money, an online art platform founded by Becker, allows the user to pay for their artwork over 10 months interest free. Art Money not only supports artists and galleries but makes art more accessible to art enthusiasts.

Hello Paul, it’s a pleasure to speak with you. Tell us a bit about Art Money and your journey as an art entrepreneur.

Art Money empowers people to buy art, supporting artists and galleries at the same time. I created the business because I believed the art ‘market’ is broken and inefficient – especially at the foundation level where most buyers, artists and galleries live. I believe we can increase demand and bring on the next generation of collectors by making it easier for people to engage and buy art on the one hand, and for artists/galleries to sell it on the other. A win win.

What misconceptions about the art market do you aim to change with the help of Art Money?

That art is only for the wealthy, or that it’s ‘not for me’. That you have to spend a lot of money to enjoy art. That good art has to be expensive. That the art world has to be intimidating.

art money
Art Money Photo, Dan Boyd

Many Art Money users are millennials, how does the way millennials collect art differ from the older generation? What do younger buyers look for?

The experience of purchasing, sharing and enjoying art should be fun, stimulating, social and educative – art should be experiential – from purchase to enjoyment to sharing. Of course affordable is a big factor too, even though it’s a relative notion. Millennials want a great experience – from what they buy to who they purchase from – this might include meeting the artist, going to their studio, openings, fairs… Discovering the story behind the work. And when they are ready to go, they want a seamless purchase process that enables their choice.

How do you see the art market evolving? What advice would you give young collectors trying to navigate the current art market?

Big questions! The art market will slowly adopt best practice from other industries… I believe the biggest challenge for the art market is to increase demand – and I think the key to doing this is to nurture the next generation of collectors.

For people new to art, my best advice is to look and explore. It’s fun and it’s free – it may literally change your life. Do it with a friend, go to art fairs, openings, follow artists and galleries on Instagram, talk to them. You’ll learn to trust your tastes, and enjoy the journey. You don’t have to like everything – you won’t. There’s no right answers. Forget about investment and look for what you like. Don’t be afraid to get started! You’ll remember your first work and the story behind it for a lifetime. Then you are on your way!

Art Money was launched in Australia, what is the contemporary art scene like there? What Australian up and coming artists should we look out for?

The Australian art scene is world class. It’s just very small by international standards. Amazing artists, quality galleries, engaged buyers, ridiculously good value. And of course Australian Aboriginal artists – the world’s oldest continuous culture – are creating art which is both extraordinary and contemporary. Australian art is a bit of a hidden secret – I hope I may be able to help change that one day.

Do you think it can be difficult connecting with a piece of art online, without seeing it in person? How do you feel online art platforms have changed the way the users perceive art?

It’s a different experience. Often art bought online is where the artist or work is familiar and so lowers risk. Instagram has made the most impact, legitimising digital as a way of discovery. Ultimately it’s important not to confuse the distribution method with the art itself. I’m not sure people perceive the art differently, it’s more just a tool for discovery – ultimately the art has to tell its story and make an emotional connection.

Do you plan to make Art Money available worldwide? Have you had any interest from European buyers?

Yes, we’ve had much interest from European buyers, as well as many galleries and art fairs in Europe and UK.  We’ve already made sales (to US buyers) from European galleries. The art world is global and so are we.

Lastly, how do you see Art Money developing over the next few years?

We plan to be the global art fin-tech platform empowering people to discover and purchase art. So wherever you are in the world, it’s really easy to buy art. In each country, we want to support culture and a sustainable creative economy.