Dubbed "the pinterest for artists"; hear about ArtStack first hand from its co-founder

Ezra Konvitz is the co-founder of ArtStack and will be a coach during the Startup Weekend Art London.


Tell us more about the “pinterest for artists” you’ve imagined and now run

ArtStack is the best way to discover and share art. We are the largest UGC database of art in the world, with over 500,000 works on the site.

ArtStack enables anyone to engage with art, see works they don’t already know and learn about art. We serve hundreds of thousands of art lovers, art professionals (gallerists, curators, etc) and artists globally.


What’s at the heart of ArtStack?

ArtStack is the first social platform for art in the world – creating a democratic way for people to engage with art and curate their own space online. Artists, auction houses and galleries use ArtStack to their work directly to the most relevant audience: people who have already expressed an interest in what they’re doing.

We are a social platform and follow best practices from across other social sites in other domains – these can come from companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Spotify but always in an art-specific manner.

ip5-1 ip5-2

ArtStack is all about art promotion and enjoyment – it’s built around enabling people to promote art they love (or their own work). We make it possible for people to enjoy art online, in an art-specific environment, with all the information they could possibly need to get to know the artists’ work. This means people can learn about and discover work online, and also that they’re much more likely to then go an enjoy art in person. Studies show that people who see art online are then much more likely to engage with it in person; we want to encourage this so we’ve created a specific section of the website so you can see what exhibitions are on in hundreds of cities globally, and get a real idea of whether you’d like to see them based on the artists’ work.


What drove you to create ArtStack the way it is?

We understand the art world extremely well, which helps a lot with creating an art-specific product that reflects how people engage with art offline. I did an MA in History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art before working at the Serpentine Gallery and my co-founder, James Lindon, did an MA in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art before working at Victoria Miro Gallery, Pace and establishing his own gallery. From a user experience standpoint, we focus a lot on bringing the most relevant functionality to create an interesting platform that serves our constituents, has a natural virality and strong retention. This has a lot to do with keeping ArtStack clean, simple and easy to use, with great design.

We work with people who understand art and are passionate about the internet – art online is an exciting area but it’s still in its infancy, so passion is as important as technical proficiency.



You’ve picked up on the power of social network, what other trend you think may have such an impact too?

Social revolutionised the way we use internet and how people learn about new things. We’re bringing that to art – but there are lots of other interesting trends online. People want personalised curation and they want to share their taste more than ever before. Mobile is a key way for people to engage and so we’ve invested a lot in our apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.


What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Do as much as you can to test your ideas with simple hacked together solutions. Always stay focused on your end goals and dream big but make the compromises necessary to get things going quickly. Keep it simple – people would rather go to a restaurant that does one dish very well than somewhere that does a million things to a poor standard. Prioritise one key element of your product and iterate on that to make it exceptional.

Make sure you’re truly passionate about your project: it will become your life, filling every waking hour so be sure it’s something you want to think about. Start-ups aren’t for everyone, and that’s ok. They’re not something you can take a break from: if you’re not doing it, it’s probably not getting done. It’s a different level of responsibility than with a typical day job: the peaks are higher and the troughs are lower.


Have you got an idea for improving how we fund, make, share and enjoy art and culture?

Art should be accessible to anyone – helping make people feel comfortable around art, to see more art and to enjoy it in real life are key elements of what we do with ArtStack. I want people to be able to easily have an art experience offline or online everyday. The UK government is trying to support museums develop more digital engagement, which is terrific but it’s important to remember that 80% of apps are not used more than once after they’ve been downloaded. State support for individual arts organisations is important but we need to think more about how that works in the digital context.

We’re seeing a new aesthetic develop as a result of the internet and people are using the internet as a medium which is tremendously exciting, but there will always be painting and sculpture. What’s great is that digital engagement can help more people experience and learn about more art today than ever before.

Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Startup Weekend Art London in October!

Explore the world of online business with Artfinder: sponsor and judge of SWArt London

Jonas Almgren, CEO of Artfinder, sponsor and judge of Startup Weekend Art London wants to help you own art you love.


Hi Jonas, tell us about Artfinder and your work.

I’m the CEO of  Artfinder, a marketplace for affordable art, allowing artists to reach art buyers globally. Similarly to Airbnb and Etsy, we market our sellers and enable all transactions, but we do not keep any stock and we do not fulfill any orders.


What’s great about the Artfinder marketplace?
Previously, art buyers looking for authentic, handmade art had to go to small, local galleries with a limited selection and inflated prices, and artists had no way to reach a global audience.  Our marketplace enable buyers to find affordable art they love, and artists to live from the art they produce.


Who buys from Artfinder?
Customers who want to add personality to their homes with affordable, unique art, and who aren’t happy with impersonal, mass produced posters and print-on-demand products.


How is Artfinder positioned against the competition?
We disrupt the market for mass produced wall décor, dominated by retailers such as Ikea and Pottery Barn, as people that previously thought handcrafted art was expensive and exclusive realise that they can buy truly unique, yet affordable, pieces with a real, lasting value.


What is your business model?

We are an online marketplace, and as such, we’re looking at other marketplaces, such as Airbnb and Etsy, for inspiration.


What type of skills do you need to develop your solutions/products?
We’re an online business, so we are always looking for software, design, marketing, and customer/partner relationship skills.


How did you choose and create your team?
As in any start-up, the team is the key. We’re looking for independent, self-driven people that are pragmatic and that can thrive in a fast paced, often fast changing (some would say chaotic), environment.


What are the top trends you see happening right now in the online businesses world?
Online businesses are still evolving very quickly, and new marketing and sales techniques are constantly being developed. It’s important to realise that we’re still just at the very beginning of online commerce, and even more so in the area of online marketplaces.


What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
To not fall in love with their business plan. Get out there, talk to prospects and customers, both before and after the business has been launched. Constantly test concepts, and make sure that you learn from every experience. Get smart, and adapt quickly.


Give us an idea for improving how we fund, make, share and enjoy art and culture?
Too much in the area of art funding has to do with events and venues. But the only direct way to fund artists is to buy their art. We need to focus more on selling art, and less on displaying it. More people should live with, and enjoy art every day, not just when they visit a museum or gallery.


How could the work you’ve done in your company be relevant to art promotion and enjoyment?
It’s about spreading the word that art is not expensive, it’s easy to buy, and it’s for everyone to enjoy.

Artfinder Logo

Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Startup Weekend Art London in October!