Magazine article Art Business News

Providing Access to Artists Cultivates New Collectors; an Internet Company Is Expanding Its Reach beyond the Current Circles of the Art World. (Strategy)

Magazine article Art Business News

Providing Access to Artists Cultivates New Collectors; an Internet Company Is Expanding Its Reach beyond the Current Circles of the Art World. (Strategy)

Article excerpt

Converting the curious art lover into a full-fledged collector is one of the biggest challenges facing artists and galleries. Paige West has charged herself with this task and is working to widen the audience for art one click at a time with her company Mixed Greens (www.mixedgreens.com). She started the company in 1999 as a non-profit with the goal of providing access to artists through information and documentaries. The artists and the art world embraced the idea and clamored for even more access--to be able to buy the art--and it evolved into an e-commerce site within six months. Based in New York, Mixed Greens now represents 30 contemporary and emerging artists and promotes original paintings, photos and sculpture ranging from $50 to $10,000.

"My own frustration in collecting art was not having access to information," said West, who curated a corporate collection before starting Mixed Greens. "Unless you are a real serious collector, you generally don't get to go on a studio visit and actually talk to the artist. The Internet provides a tool for us to actually open up the doors. Here's all the information that you could possibly want. You make the decision"

Mixed Greens artists use their own voices to explain their work--through portfolios, loose, unedited artist statements, photos of the artist, a Q & A section and film shorts called Documentitos. The site seduces viewers by looping them through the pages with distinctive browsing categories, such as "luminous," "nostalgic," and "science and the natural." One work leads to another with "If you like this, you might also like these" suggestions, similar to the Amazon.com model. Registered members can build "online collections" and sound off about the artists, artwork or other members' collections in the site's community area. Also on the site are feature articles on collectors and collecting and Q & As with art experts.

Even though the site sells art, the focus goes beyond making a sale--Mixed Greens is aiming to make people more comfortable with contemporary and emerging art. West is trying to broaden the art audience, not only for her artists, but also for galleries and museums across the board. …

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