Posted: April 26, 2019 -
AucArt is an online auction house seeking to create a higher level of transparency in the art world. They catch artists in the very early stages of their careers, either having just finished their postgraduate or undergraduate degrees. This unique selling point allows clients to collect works by emerging artists, forming a personal relationship with them whilst following their journey. Founded by Natasha Arselan in 2017 the AucArt team is currently based in London.
Here we talk to Natasha Arselan and find out more about the platform.
What’s your background and for how long have you been involved in the arts?
I began studying musical theatre and performance, followed by interdisciplinary arts, that’s when I decided I had a strong passion and connection to visual art. From then on I became almost obsessed with the art world, this was around 2013. I worked in various pockets of the industry, including a commercial gallery, art e-commerce start up, freelance curator, journalism, before going back to school (Kings College London) to complete my MA in Art and cultural management (2015-2016) where I had a Eureka moment and began building AucArt.
Can you explain the concept behind AucArt and what your inspiration was?
AucArt is a platform that gives you access to discover an artist first, at the earliest point in their career. There were 3 moments that triggered the beginning of AucArt, an artist I had worked with in the past called me and asked me to come to the studio because he didn’t have enough funds to make his final MA artwork. So I did, as I walked through the studios, I was amazed, I bought a beautiful work, he’s gone on to do very well. I believe in him and feel like I’ve been on his journey with him, it’s a priceless feeling and my mission was to offer that feeling and opportunity to invest early to others, because it has been a major win win situation. It was a great investment – I wanted to collect art but didn’t have major funds – AucArt allows others to benefit from collecting early. In addition to this there’s only so far an artist grant can go… AucArt is a global ecosystem that allows early career artists to support themselves at their own pace, in their own corner of the world. Collecting works from artists straight out of school is not new but it’s always been based on personal connections, Peggy Guggenheim, The Vogels and Charles Saatchi all did so, and look at their collections – they are both relevant and historic today.
What’s your process when finding new artists?
Artists submit through the platform by creating an artist profile and uploading potential works they wish to consign. We then review and will either approve or decline. We also visit the top 30 schools in the UK throughout the year, last year we visited 10 of the top schools in the US searching for artists.
What is the price range for works?
From £200 for a work on paper up to the £6000 mark for a larger work or more established artist.
What are the benefits for artists showing their works on AucArt as oppose to other art marketplaces?
AucArt has created a pre-emerging channel in the art world, featuring artists first. Many of our collectors are established and influential in the industry. We have thousands of clients across the world returning to the platform to discover the next generation of artists from the world’s most renown art schools. We are backed by an amazing advisory board and we invite a guest curator each month to pick their favourite works – what other market place put their artists in front of the Tate’s head of collection development?
We have an incredible track record of success stories with our artists. A large percentage of them have huge increases in their markets (up to 300%) often within just one year. Additionally, many have had solo shows within the first year, or been acquired by interesting collections, featured in press and won national art prizes.
We also look after all of our artists funds, shipping, paperwork, find them press opportunities, exhibition opportunities when relevant. All of our artists and artworks are highly curated, thus the quality level is very high. We have just launched our first London Residency ‘The AucArt Lab’ where 6 artists are invited (via submission) to live and work in our lab – a beautiful Georgian Town House next to Regents Park. We invite clients for studio visits and host an exhibition at the end of their 6 weeks.
How many collectors are currently using the platform? Have you found you attract a particular type of buyer?
We currently have over 3500 collectors. Our buyers are curious, they want to be the first to discover an artist of the future, they love investing in the artist from the very beginning and many find the platform easy to use and refreshing.
AucArt bypasses the traditional gallery route many artists have historically had to take. What are the advantages of this?
We have a global reach, we are able to collect data and thus match artworks with suitable collectors on a larger scale. All prices are transparent so they know what they have sold for. We take less than 50% and we facilitate the artwork so it goes directly from the artist’s studio to the collector.
Currently AucArt is UK based, do you hope to expand to an international level?
We just launched our first US auctions this month! But since launching we have been shipping artwork internationally, so I guess we have always been ‘International’ That’s the beauty of being Online.
I am guessing you collect art yourself. Can you tell us about any recent acquisitions or favourite artists?
I have a few works. I’ve been in transit the last 2 years since launching AucArt I’ve really invested everything I have into building and making AucArt work, so the purchasing of artworks has slowed down, however, my wish list continues to grow. I have my eyes on Daniel Wheeler, his hyperrealist figurative works are completely mesmerising. Victoria De Lesseps photography is sensual and dynamic, I also admire the work of Nicholas Benfy and Amalia Mourad. There are a few artists I have a acquired from our AucArt exclusive roster of artists – Mateusz Von Motz for example – for access to these works you must have an AucArt collector account (It’s free) we offer our clients exclusive artworks, on some occasions the works come directly from a museum show, very exciting.
What do you hope for the future of AucArt?
I hope that it never stops growing, and it continues to bring both our collectors and our artists all over the world joy, progression, and banging art collections that will go down in history. Because I made it for believers!