Hello, Maryna! How are you? I am really excited to have a conversation with the CEO of Artisfact Limited. First of all, tell us a little bit about your background. What and where did you study, and why?
Thank you for having me. So, my journey in this industry started out with a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural heritage at European Humanities University, after which I got a Master’s Degree in Arts Management and Economics from the University of Sacred Heart in Milan. During my studies, I took on a strong passion first for the antique and then for the contemporary art market and I followed it with a lot of excitement over the years. My great passion was to follow the auction house news and record sales and it took off from there: I read a lot about the art market, galleries, the business models of this industry, and I got inspired by the stories of great dealers such as Larry Gagosian and Leo Castelli.
You are quite a young entrepreneur, have you always wanted to build your own business?
I have always had an entrepreneurial ambition – ever since I was a kid I was business-savvy and I started working small jobs early on to enjoy more independence and freedom. So, building a business of my own – was not an if question, but a when question. One of my all-time hobbies is the stock market and finance in general, I must admit my approach is quite amateur, but it allowed me to draw parallels and find synergies in the way the art market considers artworks as investment assets, and how the stock market has a variety of tools and indicators that help make projections on the future performance of a given asset. That is how the idea for the Artsted platform was born.
As far as I know, you are an art and technology enthusiast. At what point did you realize the potential of putting them together? Is Artisfact Ltd. the result of this fusion?
It is quite an evident fact that most innovation in the modern world does come from digital technology, and most importantly, innovative business models that disrupt the existing operational systems. So, the first step was determining the “pain” of the people in the art industry, both among the emerging artists and the collectors, and then coming up with a number of possible solutions that could be made through technological innovation: our choice was the issue of price transparency and evaluations on the primary market.
Let us come to the point then. In your own words: what is Artsted? Why did you decide to create it?
Sure! Artsted is an online marketplace that empowers the new generation of art collectors to access the toolkit of an art expert, at the click of a button. It also empowers the creator, the artist, to take control of their career journey, by creating an online track record, a provenance for their works, and a comprehensive and holistic set of data pointing to their institutional recognition. This type of recognition is the foundation of the real market evaluation, as a consensus of experts, curators, gallerists, collectors, and other actors of influence. Traditionally, this type of information is reserved to the market insiders, and is well-guarded, as one of the industry’s best-kept secrets. At Artsted, we believe that disclosing that body of data and information, in the age of hyper transparency and hyper digitalization, would lead to a significant transformation and disruption in the art market as we know it.
Your team is currently working on Artsted as Artisfact Ltd.’s key project. What does it consist of? What innovative technological tools do you use?
Our unique offering is based on the proprietary algorithm that utilizes transactional and non-transactional data to provide insights and determine the future’s blue-chip artists. The primary technology utilized for the operations of the algorithm is artificial intelligence.
How could Artsted contribute to the (online) art market? Regarding this project, what are your expectations for the future?
Art collecting, in a world that is ever more connected and hyper digitized, is being transformed by a series of new business practices that have revolutionized the sales process. Social media and decentralized finance tools have enabled artists to sell directly to retail collectors now more than ever before, we have seen this trend emerge with the NFTS. The market is clearly shifting towards a democratic approach.
“The future of art is digital”. What does this sentence suggest to you?
As part of generation Z, I am convinced that the future of the world is digital. Technology and the tools it provides will create business models that will progressively outlive the old ways: even in such a closed-off environment as the art world. A lot of this change is happening today as we speak, the NFTs culture the emergence of which we are witnessing these days is one of its strongest indicators. The industry, which was been so reluctant to adopt the innovation as part of its core practices, will soon find itself in an unfavorable position having to compete for the resources of the next generation of collectors with yesterday’s art outsiders and underdogs of the market, who are today at the vanguard of technology – such as digital art and non-fungible tokens scene. This, will, in turn, create a tremendous power shift, transferring the authority and the financial resources from the “old” market to the “new” one, in my opinion. So, here I believe a staple quote by Ilya & Emilia Kabakov says it better than anything else: “Not everyone will be taken to the future”.