According to the Worldwide Collectors Survey carried out by AXA ART, 14% of the collectors focus on artworks linked to new media. In October 2015, AXA ART invested € 500.000 Euro in ART2M (Art to Machine): a start-up specialized in mediating between investors passionate about digital art und innovative artists who produce connected objects. The company is on the cutting edge of digital fabrication through its platform makery.info. With a network of nearly 600 labs worldwide it identifies artists, makers and designers to work with. Contemporary artists are presented on the selling platform ArtJaws, selected by curators from all over the world specialized in digital art. Anne-Cécile Worms on the background of her work and the rising interest in digital art.
What does Art2M stand for? Which motives did you have when founding your first startup in 2009?
It has been thirteen years of engaging with digital art, before founding the startup. I have been publishing the first French printed magazine about digital art (MCD, Magazine des Cultures Digitales). I was thus able to establish close relationships with artists and producers of digital artwork. From the very beginning, it was the aim of Art2M to create a platform for yet underrepresented artists. That way, we hope to facilitate the access to digital art for an audience that is interested in it.
You are running three different websites. There are Art2M, makery.info and ArtJaws. How do you differentiate between them?
Art2M is a company specialized in the production and the distribution of exclusive digital artworks and innovative design. Our expertise is based on our international network of artists, designers and engineers, with whom we work since 2009 to create installations and events bound to the art and to the new technologies. Art2M is currently producing innovative artworks for public spaces, as well as connected objects and events for its clients.
Together with artists, Art2M is producing exclusive artworks, such as WaterLight Graffiti™ by Antonin Fourneau, a new a material made of thousands of LEDs which lights up when touched by water, or The Infinite Book™ by Albertine Meunier, an entirely blank book which content appears only when its pages are turned.
The online media, Makery.info is our tool to scout innovation worldwide and connect with inventors and developers working in the field of digital fabrication via so called “fablabs”. The interchange of information can therefore happen on a global scale. It gives us the chance to have a constant overview of current developments in the field of connected objects. Besides, we are able to find new sources of inspiration for collaborations, prototyping and coproductions.
ArtJaws is a new marketplace targeting the international online art market, offering buyers direct accedd to artworks and artists who are icons of pop culture and digital arts. ArtJaws is making accessible to a wider public, artworks that are rarely seen in traditional distribution channels, featuring limited editions and world exclusives from international artists.
“Jaws” has its origins in the surf community: it stands for a very famous Hawaiian spot where the jawlike waves can reach up to 25 meters high. ArtJaws stands for the new wave of innovative art.
Which criteria is important for you when selecting works for ArtJaws?
A committee of well-esteemed curators are being invited from all over the world. I have been able to establish an outstanding team of curators because of my longstanding experience within the area of the digital art. At the moment, there are five curators working for ArtJaws. However, this number will rise up to twenty within the coming months.
ArtJaws curates collections that introduce viewers to artists who have been little or under-represented in the current art market—artists who are part of the parallel history of art and who are creating the tools and languages of the future, thanks to whom will emerge a new grammar for art that is new to collectors but ancient in its journey.
How diverse is the range of artworks offered at ArtJaws?
Just as for an exhibition, artworks are selected according to specific themes, through focused and demanding curation founded on double expertise. Artworks are presented in historical and artistic perspective. Each piece is accompanied by a wealth of in-depth documents to engage buyers through an artist biography, interview, collectors’ comments, with the artwork in focus, in perspective and in context. We have already launched 6 collections: Tattoo Art, Graffiti Art and Digital Art. The collector will also be able to discover the diversity of digital art. It is time to move on from the expectation that digital art can only happen on a screen. There are many more things to digital art. Post-internet art, bio-art, robotic art, or connected objects are a great example for this.
Can you explain this further?
The influence of the internet on art is important here. Objects can communicate with each other. A work by Albertine Meunier, the DADAPrint3r, which is produced by Art2M and exhibited on ArtJaws, exemplifies this very well: The internet plays an intrinsic role when it comes to Meunier´s work. Her printer can produce a text in Paris made up of words spoken in Marseille or any other place in the world through a mobile app. Based on Google voice recognition technology, all speech captured by the microphone is optimally and efficiently processed. However, occasional moments of uncertainty may yield surprising results. A notion of phantasy is added and its aspects of unconsciousness add elements of Dada to Meunier´s art.
DadaPrint3r, Ready Made by Albertine Meunier, coproduction Art2M
How do you explain the success of ArtJaws?
The online art market experiences a growing success – the turnover in 2015 was three billion dollars. 2020 is expected to have a turnover of ten billion dollars. There are very few websites that have a similar target group like we do. The platform really is about the latest developments within the field of contemporary digital art. Because we are up-to-date with the most recent happenings in the history of art, ArtJaws is able to offer something very special. It is our most crucial distinctive feature: Most artworks that can be found on ArtJaws cannot be found on any other website. Since its inauguration, ArtJaws achieved sales of 100.000 Euros of online sales.
You don´t work in the sense of a traditional gallery. How would you describe your relationships with the artists?
Instead of negotiating contracts with galleries or agencies, we are in direct contact with the artists. 70 per cent of our revenue is paid to the artist when he´s represented by a gallery or an agent, 50 per cent when he´s not represented. We also work with artists to produce new artworks for our ArtJaws exclusive collectors.
Why would the acquisition of artworks via ArtJaws be appealing to collectors?
ArtJaws is giving collectors and investors the opportunity to acquire works by artists whose reputation is on the rise. ArtJaws is convinced that the artworks it presents will increase in value over the next five years because of the network of curators of outstanding knowledge and experience we´ve generated. Collectors who acquired works via ArtJaws have confirmed this – it is rare for them to find a similar access. If a collector wants to buy an oil painting with a video projection screened on its surface, our team of experts will also look for this work. We are thus able to foster a very personal and exclusive relationship with our clients. Besides, we offer the collectors to be in direct contact with the artists and to visit their studios. Our aim is not to divide the “online world” from the “offline world”. Today, both fields are merging.
What about collectors who are interested in digital art but don´t know much about it yet?
We show artworks and we provide information about artists. As a partner of AICA (International Association of Art Critics), ArtJaws give collectors access to content designed to help them building their collection. AICA is providing editorial content to ArtJaws with contributions from the most renowned international art critics. That way, collectors that had little chance to inform themselves on digital art before, will better understand what digital art is about. It is not about whether the works are digital or not. What counts more is the fact that these works have to be looked at as art. We want the collectors to understand that we don´t care so much about the technological aspects. We care much more about the emotional strength of a work and its meaning. This is what moves the collector.