With Y Combinator-Backed EveryArt, You Don’t Have To Be Afraid Of Commissioning Art

If you want to bring some art into your life, but you’re intimidated by the art world, a Y Combinator-backed startup called EveryArt wants to help.

The site is a marketplace where people can commission artists to create pieces, and it’s opening to the public today. On EveryArt, you can browse samples of the artists’ work, and if you find someone you like, you can send them a request. It can be very specific, with lots of details about what you’re looking for, or more general: “Hey, I liked this piece, can you do something similar for me?”

Artist listings include an expected price range, and they set the price based on the commission. Founder Justin Cannon says the average so far has been about $1,000 for “a sizable piece.” Once the work has been commissioned, EveryArt collects the money, and when the work is finished, the payment is delivered to the artist.

Ultimately, users get a piece of art that matches their interests and that probably means more to them than something they bought in a gallery. Artists get a new source of income. (That’s especially true of artists who don’t have a strong presence online, and even for those who do, EveryArt can expose them to a new audience.)

Cannon says that initially, he’s targeting a younger audience — people who have a little bit of money but aren’t yet connected to the fine art world. Though the audience certainly isn’t limited to techies, I bet that’s a description that applies to a lot of startup executives and employees. In fact, Kyle Vogt of Justin.tv and Alexis Ohanian of Reddit (both YC companies) have already bought pieces, and Dropbox has also commissioned a painting for its office.

With that audience in mind, Cannon has selected artists who are more on the illustrative or narrative side of things, rather than being super-abstract, but he says he wants to eventually bring a broad range of artists on-board. He describes the selection process as falling in “the sweet spot.” It’s not just throwing the doors open to everyone, because it has to “make sure that people that commission work through our site are happy and get good art.” At the same time, it’s bringing non-superstar artists to the site who might benefit from a little more exposure (and aren’t going to charge tens of thousands of dollars or more).