(Photo by Brady Dale)
Sugarlift is a new online curated art market. Day 0 was Wednesday night, with its launch party in Bushwick. The company is renting space from Livestream, in the building across the street from Livestream Public.
We spoke with Bart Piela, cofounder and COO, at the launch event. He explained that the idea was to serve a new generation of younger art collectors. People with the disposable income to purchase artwork, but not necessarily the high priced stuff for sale in Chelsea galleries.
Part of the work is finding ways to make certain artists’ work reproducible for sale at a more affordable price.
For example, we met Bushwick’s Joe Hollier at the event. He makes collages from old magazines. Sugarlift worked with him to find printers who could do screenprints of his collages at 5X scale, since he liked the idea of emphasizing the halftones of older magazines. You can really see, in the reproduction, what drew Hollier to working with this material. (Check out “Sunset,” for example.)
Sugarlift’s Piela and his cofounder, Wright Harvey, recruited Hollier at Bushwick Open Studios, where Hollier showed his work for the first time. (We visited the event as well.) “Almost all of our artists are about ten minutes walking from here,” Piela told us.
He said Sugarlift located in Bushwick because that’s where the artists are. Each season, the online gallery will release a new collection of artists, while continuing to sell past works through the site.
A major part of the team’s strategy is the Sugarlift blog, where they educate potential buyers about art, point them in the direction of events and tell their artists’ stories.
Piela and Harvey are bootstrapping the company, which has a team of four. They met at JPMorgan Chase, where they worked together, and are now deploying the business skills they learned there in the service of the art business.-30-
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