Most of us love the idea of a dramatic contemporary art work in our living room or office until we see the price. At the same time, many artists struggle to make a living from their paintings or photographs and find themselves in a vicious circle struggling to produce more, as art supplies are expensive. The rise of the sharing economy, however, has touched upon the art world and is challenging the traditional gallery model of distributing and showing art.

A San Francisco start-up, GetArtUp, has developed a new business model to generate revenues for artists while allowing contemporary art to become more accessible and affordable.

Tricia Rampe and Michael Baker co-founded GetArtUp with the idea that people want to explore art without ever having to commit to an expensive piece. Members pay a monthly subscription, and can change the art pieces monthly if they wish, or even build up credits and then eventually buy that coveted painting or photographer. Everything in GetArtUp’s collection--from paintings to drawings to mixed media--is original, or in the case of photographs or digital art, is of a limited edition. Once a user joins, he or she just has to browse through the art, pay via a secure checkout page and then arrange a time for delivery. Clients who need a little more hand-holding can also arrange to have a curator consult with them to find the right art for a particular space.

According to GetArtUp, the artists participating with the company graduated from top art schools, have showcased their work at small and large galleries alike and gain exposure from a new way to demonstrate their art. For the artist, the most compelling benefit is the opportunity to receive a consistent stream of revenue while new audiences and discerning eyes can enjoy their work.

GetArtUp, rise of the sharing economy, Tyler Bewley, Leon Kaye, sharing economy, Tricia Rampe, Michael Baker, contemporary art, collaborative consumption, art, paintings

Untitled, Tyler Bewley

One of the artists participating in GetArtUp’s program is Tyler Bewley. A graduate of Skidmore College, Bewley’s art has been shown throughout California and on the East Coast. According to an email interview I had with Bewley, GetArtUp approached him after seeing his work displayed at a Bay Area art show. For Bewley and other artists, one of the greatest benefits of working with GetArtUp is to free art pieces from storage and move them into offices and homes.

One of the expenses that often burdens artists is the number of pieces that sit in an artists’ storage space - never seen nor shown. As always, taste in art can vastly differ from person to person; if an artist can make some money off a piece that he or she had written off, that art then becomes useful instead of just taking up space. “Old work that was in a show and did not sell may just not have found the right audience the first time around,” said Bewley, “so it is nice to give it another chance through a program like this.”

Bewley has not worked with GetArtUp for long, but he is optimistic about the idea’s potential. “I think this is a very interesting idea that potentially creates a new avenue for artists to make revenue outside of the gallery system," he said, "it is nice to be on a schedule where you are making a monthly income rather than solely depending on individual sales that are unpredictable.” Collaborative consumption, indeed, can be about sharing talent and color, too.

Published earlier today on Triple Pundit as part of 3p's Sharing Economy series. You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter or Instagram (greengopost). He will explore children’s health issues in India February 16-27 with the International Reporting Project.

[Image credit: top left, GetArtUp; middle right, Tyler Bewley]

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.