Software, as we all know, is eating the world. That includes the art world, which is slowly moving from offline to online, making it easier for collectors to find new works and artists, and for artists to find buyers without going through the traditional gallery system. With that in mind, online art marketplace Saatchi Online is rebranding and relaunching its website as Saatchi Art.
The new brand is being announced not long after the company brought on a new CEO, former Ticketmaster head honcho Sean Moriarty. While at Ticketmaster, Moriarty oversaw a complete revamping of the ticket service’s platform, as well as huge international expansion from seven to 22 countries under his tenure. He also helped lead the company’s spinout from Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp and IPO.
Just as Moriarty led Ticketmaster as buying moved from the box office to online, he said he’s seeing a similar change in the adoption of online art buying. Broadly speaking, that’s making it easier than ever for artists to make money, while collectors have the ability to find artists they might not have seen before.
“You’ve got this huge market that engages people from across the globe, and the vast majority of it is offline,” Moriarty told me. “There’s an opportunity to make art accessible to an audience across the globe, to make it available to people who care about it.”
The company is therefore rebranding in an effort to better reflect its mission as Saatchi Art. And it’s launching an updated version of its website with a new look and feel to make buying or selling art an even better experience.
Launched originally as a place for artists in the Saatchi Gallery to show off their portfolios, Saatchi Online moved to online selling a few years ago. It’s already received a huge amount of interest from artists, in part due to its lower commissions than typical galleries take. Many galleries take at least 50 percent for each piece sold, but Saatchi takes 30 percent by comparison.
“Over the past 6 months, we’ve sold art on behalf of artists in over 100 countries to buyers in 80 countries,” Moriarty said. “We have tens of thousands of artists and several hundreds of thousands of art works.”
With that much inventory, it’s up to the team to help curate and highlight collections of art that would be interesting to buyers. Unlike galleries, where buyers can be intimidated by pieces hung on white walls with no prices attached, Saatchi Art provides a level of transparency that’s not available offline. The hope is that by doing so, the marketplace can urge new buyers to become collectors and enter the art collecting world.