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Online art gallery Sugarlift launches in Bushwick

The art marketplace aims to connect with a younger generation of buyers.

Sugarlift on the night of its opening party. (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.

Bart Piela, right, talking with guests at the opening event.

Bart Piela, right, talking with guests at the opening event. (Photo by Brady Dale)

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 launch in Bushwick

Hollier’s two collages, blown up and screen-printed, at the launch party. (Photo by Brady Dale)

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.

Sugarlift launch in Bushwick

Sugarlift is shipping out art from its office, with the option of having pieces framed. (Photo by Brady Dale)

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.

Sugarlift launch in Bushwick

Sculptures by Fanny Allié. (Photo by Brady Dale)

Sugarlift launch in Bushwick

Chris Wilcox’s work on the wall at the Sugarlift launch party. (Photo by Brady Dale)

Sugarlift launch in Bushwick

Hiba Schahbaz’s works on display in the main room of Sugarlift’s office. (Photo by Brady Dale)

Companies: Livestream
Series: Brooklyn

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