In early 2016, Larry’s List had an interview with Dubai-based collector Shohidul Ahad-Choudhury, who felt the mission to support emerging artists and galleries globally. Now, we are definitely every excited to follow this passionate collector on his latest development a smartphone application, ArteVue. It aims at providing an essential platform that caters needs of every player in the art world, from collectors to artists, from gallerists to curators. As an art application, ArteVue is bringing us industry-first features, including advanced image recognition and auto-hashtagging.
Larry’s List has talked to Shohidul Ahad-Choudhury to know more about the concepts behind this new application and why it is unique.
What motivated you to create this ArteVue application?
First of all, I like technology. I decided to create ArteVue after a collectors’ talk I gave at Art India in 2016. A member of the audience asked if there was an art App, which could be used by artists, enthusiasts, collectors, galleries and art professionals. After thinking about it for a moment, I realised that there was not an App, which was designed for everyone. No one was looking at it from a social art ecosystem aspect.
How is this concept realised through the design of the application?
ArteVue is about building a global art community, which it does by incorporating features that can be used and needed by its different players.
As a collector, not only can you easily connect directly with artists, and galleries to discover and buy art, but also curation and display of your collection is made easy by using the advanced curation features. You can even create a catalogue of your art collection within minutes.
Art enthusiasts can access art from all over the world and easily share it, or even pin artworks to create their own virtual gallery.
Artists can instantly share art with galleries and art buyers globally. They can upload their art quickly and then create a catalogue. Artists can also add a buy button to their art posts, which interested clients can click and start a dialogue through the in-App instant messaging service. This is an industry first.
Galleries can post entire catalogues of works for sale and discover emerging talents. A number of galleries have already received enquiries through the App. As technology continues to shape and change the art world, whether you are an enthusiast, collector, gallery or an art professional, having an ArteVue account will be essential.
There have been quite some new applications in art nowadays. Why is ArteVue unique? How does it differentiate from other applications?
Most art apps focus on the individual and not a group and provide specific tools for collectors or galleries. ArteVue focuses on giving much more control to the user, building a global art community and providing a range of tools which are relevant to each of the players. We only launched it 16 weeks ago and the growth has been phenomenal. Artists have quickly started to use the App to showcase and sell works, and a number of galleries have received solid sales enquiries. We have seen interaction levels soar too as brand new artworks are shared, discovered and discussed every day.
How has your art collecting and experiences in the art world inspired the creation of ArteVue and ArtePrize?
I created ArteVue due to the technology gap in the art market. For example, I have been asked many times what is in my art collection by friends, gallerists, etc., and most of the time, I found myself sifting through various pictures stored on my iPhone or on my Instagram. ArteVue was initially designed to help collectors document their art collection, but later I thought about creating an ecosystem that will be helpful to all. I had been thinking about a global art prize for a while and how we could make it so much easier to take part. By combining ArteVue and the ArtePrize, we are harnessing the power of technology and making the prize truly global. All artists had to do, was to download the App and upload their work to enter the competition. No other art prize has ever done this before.
How did your experience and knowledge being an investment banker help you with starting an Art App?
As with starting any company, putting together market research, feasibility studies, business plans, financing and a solid team is important. My 15 years in mergers and acquisitions did help a lot. However, it has really been my interaction with the art community that has really shaped this App and its mission.
One function which we think is very handy is the possibility to print a catalogue of your collection. Are you now also a publisher?
Not at all. The PDF catalogue function is a tool to help collectors, artists and galleries create ready-to-go booklets for personal use, or even sending to clients. As a collector, you can simply take photographs of your art collection, add artist name, description etc. and create a catalogue. Our plan is to make this function even better in the next version…
You are from Bangladesh but live between Dubai and London. Are there any regional considerations for the ArteVue application?
Art is global these days, with the rapid growth of social technology, regional boundaries cannot stop you accessing art from all over the world. ArteVue is a global Art App and we really want to build a global-community-focused on art.
Instagram is widely recognized as a major tool in the art scene. You said to us before that you strongly believe that the power of Instagram will decline in a few years from now. What makes you believe that?
Instagram and Facebook have in many ways democratised art. However, with over 500 million users and 40 billion photos, art gets lost in all the noise of Instagram, such as selfies, food pictures, etc. Art is very small percentage of the Instagram and Facebook community making it difficult to get focused traction on these platforms. Many Instagram accounts focus on getting followers and likes; overlooking the importance of the quality of followers. On ArteVue, we are creating an art-focused community. We have already noticed the quality of interaction on the App is very high, not to mention the unique posts – artworks fresh out of an artist’s studio. There are already over 15,000 users on ArteVue’s iOS platform, and we plan to grow this to over 150,000 users in the first half of 2018 as we launch the Android version.
At the same time, your Instagram has nearly 100k followers. All organic?
The ArteVue Instagram account is about 2 years old, and we have posted over 1,500 art posts. Our followers are all organic. Building the Instagram account to what it is today has been a real journey. I have personally learned so much about social media from this experience – and now find myself advising friends and even brands on how to grow their accounts.
We are interested: How did you get so many?
Running an Instagram account is very hard work. You need a consistent posting strategy, have a high level of interaction, in terms of liking, commenting, and ensuring your posts are captivating and relevant to your followers.
What is next for ArteVue?
ArteVue has grown faster than we expected. We have v2.0 of the App coming out on 12th December, 2017, which I am very excited about. I do not want to give too much away, but there is going to be a quantum leap in enhancements. As a spoiler, we have developed the technology for image recognition and auto-hashtag suggestions and incorporated 3D touch throughout the App.
For many collectors after creating an art collection, the next step would be to build a private museum. It is different in your case – you launched an award, the ArtePrize. Why?
I believe there is still a long way for me to go before I open a private museum. I see ArtePrize as part of this ambition. I really wanted to give young artists the chance to get some exposure and, with a US$15,000 prize, some financial support too. Furthermore, the three-month residency at The Delfina Foundation in London also gives them a chance in taking the next step in terms of creative development. We will be announcing the Finalists of the ArtePrize on 12th December, which I am very excited about.
Learn more: www.artevue.co.uk
App available at: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/artevue-art-app/id1200581879?mt=8
All images courtesy of ArteVue.