Many art platforms have ambitions to democratize the art world, but Artscapy convinces many art world insiders that it is actually doing it. The platform recently received £1m in pre-seed funding and is set to launch later this year.

Founded by Alessandro De Stasio and Emilia De Stasio, two experienced collectors, Artscapy focuses on collectors and their specific needs. In fact, the platform is based on responding to observations and issues De Stasios encountered during their decade-long journey as a collector, and will provide analysis and mapping tools to provide collectors with insight into the value of their collection and its evolution over time.

Their platform will also feature a “collector-to-collector” marketplace, where every piece of art offered for sale undergoes due diligence to make private sales transparent and safe.

The platform is also centered on the latest technologies and with the utmost respect for privacy: Artscapy uses end-to-end encryption technology to securely store and track information, and the quality and authenticity of art are backed by certificates of authenticity and provenance on blockchain.

“We are making the fine art market more accessible and democratic, supporting the future of the art world. As collectors ourselves, it has taken 10 years to begin to understand the market for art, learning many lessons On Artscapy, every collector, regardless of background, will find a transparent, safe and trusted environment where they can nurture and grow their collection,” said De Stasios.

We spoke to the founders about their ambitions for Artspacy and how they came up with the idea in the first place.

How did you come up with the idea of Artscape?

The idea for Artscapy grew out of the daily frustrations we faced as art collectors during nearly a decade of collecting contemporary art. As people who love art, but have no academic background or experience in the industry, the journey to understand the art world and enter its maze of galleries and auction houses was daunting, full of obstacles.

These include barriers to access, knowing where to go to buy quality art, and finding information free of academic jargon. They can also be “elitist” barriers, where preconceived notions can hinder the exploration of art. We also struggled with the lack of digital tools and a secure online environment dedicated to art collectors.

This is where the idea of ​​creating a platform dedicated to the collection of works of art was born, a platform that puts collectors and their needs at the center. As they say, the rest is history. What started as a personal project to help us manage our collection and interact with our collecting friends and acquaintances quickly turned into the end-to-end collecting journey that Artscapy is today.

What have been your biggest lessons as a collector?

Starting our personal art collection came with a huge learning curve, one that took us almost a decade to “master”. This curve has arisen both from trying to find information and gain insight into the art and artists we are passionate about, as well as learning about the idiosyncrasies of the art market.

The overriding lesson is that the commercial art business can be a difficult world to navigate for the uninitiated, and unnecessarily so. The industry relies on the demand for specific artists and artworks, driven by the influence of major galleries and dealers within an unregulated market, which can easily confuse anyone found outside of this clique. Nonetheless, the most important lesson we learned is that research and due diligence before investing in a work of art is essential, and certifying the provenance of a work ensures that you are making a wise investment both in the artist and in your collection.

In recent years, many new digital platforms have been launched, focused on collecting or discovering new artists. What sets Artscapy apart from others?

These platforms all testify to the real underlying need to improve the digitization of the art industry and to solve problems such as accessibility. The journey of art collecting is unnecessarily complicated and difficult to navigate, and we wanted Artscapy to make a real dent in this flawed process and help bring the enrichment, intellectual stimulus and joy of art to more of people.

To achieve our goal of democratizing art collecting, we’ve built a technology ecosystem to support every collector, no matter where they are in the journey. Taking a collector-centric approach, we are building Artscapy as an answer to our own needs as collectors, and it has resonated well with our growing community of over a thousand collectors worldwide. The focus is on creating a safe and user-friendly online environment to explore and purchase quality artwork.

In particular, what sets Artscapy apart is the interconnected nature of the platform, where every stage of the collecting journey is linked, from managing the collection to exploring new works and buying from galleries. handpicked and from approved collectors, all supported by certificates of authenticity and provenance. on the blockchain. Artscapy is one of the first online platforms where each work must pass a due diligence process before it can be published for sale. It’s about facilitating a safe shopping experience, and it’s especially important in the context of our new collector-to-collector marketplace, which is the first of its kind.

Knowing firsthand the importance of maintaining confidentiality, Artscapy has used comprehensive measures to ensure data is encrypted and collectors have full control at all times over the visibility of their collections. Finally, as two founders from heavily regulated industries – banking and gaming – we have already taken a cutting-edge approach to working directly with regulators to help shape a safer art sector.

How does Artscapy use blockchain technology?

At Artscapy, we have developed and implemented blockchain technology in the context of making art collecting more transparent and secure in two ways.

First of all, any artwork offered for sale on the Artscapy Marketplace is subject to due diligence. This process is captured in a data record on the blockchain and is then transferred to the new owner of the artwork once the transaction is complete. This represents what we call a Provenance certificateand this is the first time that blockchain technology has been applied in this way, so that it is fully interconnected with the Artscapy ecosystem and each collector’s personal account on the platform.

Secondly, through the Certificate of Authenticity: this is a service that we reserve for art professionals who represent artists or for the artists themselves. Our COA is an easier and safer way to certify a work of art. Similar to the COP above, the COA is automatically transferred to the buyer on Artscapy after the purchase is complete.

These two apps bring a substantial improvement to the way collectors can track documents and certify the authenticity and provenance of art on an immutable record, accessible anytime, anywhere through Artscapy. Certification also supports dispute resolution as well as succession planning to protect artistic assets for future generations.

As we developed this blockchain technology internally, we decided to extend the acquired know-how to the NFT world. Our involvement in NFTs focuses on selected projects that we believe have the potential to make significant artistic contributions, away from all the loud hype. A good example of this is our recent project with Italian artist Filippo Riniolo, in remembrance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. We worked with Riniolo and renowned curators Francesco Cascino and Gianluca Marziani to transform this performative work into an interactive digital experience. , making it accessible to collectors around the world. Also in this context, we wanted a collector’s and art-centric experience on Artscapy, so we made it possible to purchase the artwork by credit card, like any other online transaction, without the need for an external wallet or cryptocurrency. Payments.

What are some of the verification techniques you use?

We have designed a tailor-made procedure which, depending on the risks associated with the work in question, includes different levels of incremental controls. Broadly, they fall into two categories: formal (documentation) and substantive (eg images and proof of ownership of the work or right to sell). Additionally, we can coordinate status reports at the request of each buyer.

If you could own any work of art in the world, with no restrictions, what would it be?

Our still very young collection is exclusively oriented towards contemporary art, and in this context, more particularly towards living artists. This is because we want to create a collection that speaks to our times and reflects themes and subjects from our life, culture and society.

Among the broader themes of our art collection, the one we feel most connected to is the relationship between humanity and the environment. This includes works that address the topic more directly by considering the politics of environmental sustainability, but also works that explore less tangible connections through philosophy and anthropological research. We especially like Tom’s practiceas Saraceno, which we believe is an incredible example of work at the intersection of the two.

Concretely, we fell in love with his play Specific question(s) from 2018, which reveals that the shape of a spider’s web is conditioned by multiple environmental factors ranging from pollution to stardust. The roomshows how the shape of the web changes and also reproduces the sound of these elements interacting with the threads of the silk cobweb, including cosmic dust. For us, it is a perfect synthesis between conceptualism, vision, sensitivity, research and intuition. It’s just fascinating.

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