Online shopping: Revolutionising the world’s art industry through technology

Published: July 23, 2013
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Usama Arjumand shifted to entrepreneurship two years back. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Usama Arjumand shifted to entrepreneurship two years back. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

Imagine interacting with an artist online and buying their work with a few simple clicks. Or establishing your art own profile and networking with like-minded people. This idea drove the dynamic of the international art gallery Artorca.com, a platform where art collectors and artists can buy and sell art online. 

A brainchild of Gallery6 Director Usama Arjumand, the website allows anyone to put up a free portfolio and showcase their work to an international audience. “In general, the online gallery is a platform for Pakistani artists to get exposure to the international community so it’s a useful tool for them,” said Arjumand while speaking to The Express Tribune.

Arjumand realised the difficulty Pakistani artists faced in showcasing their work at art galleries. Due to an unbalanced ratio of art galleries to artists, the latter find it hard to obtain exhibition slots, which are either highly competitive or are usually booked for exhibitions many months in advance.

Conversely, traditional art galleries can only hold a small amount of art inventory, which makes selection for art collectors with a particular price, artist, medium, style or size in mind difficult. And with art galleries charging between 30 to 60 per cent commission, it also means higher prices.

Screen capture of the main page of the website

Keeping in mind these constraints, Arjumand developed a global online art gallery where international painters, photographers, printmakers and sculptors could exhibit and sell art directly to art collectors for a much smaller commission. This would give art collectors a significantly wider range of art at better prices. The website was officially launched in January.

At Artorca.com, artists sign up to create a free profile which can be used as a personal website to exhibit and sell their art. Art collectors browse through the uploaded artwork to discover what they like and make a purchase directly from the artist.

Artists receive payment instantly into their PayPal accounts and ship the artwork to the buyer. Purchases are covered by PayPal buyer protection — wherein PayPal terms apply — for their full value, including shipping costs.

After receiving the purchased items, buyers rate their experience of dealing with the artist, which helps to build reputation and trust between buyers and sellers in the marketplace.

However, Pakistani artists remain at a disadvantage as the PayPal facility is not available in the country yet.

Born in Pakistan, Arjumand has lived in Hawaii and Egypt. He graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After working in the field for two years, he moved to entrepreneurship.

He now runs Artcorca.com from its headquarters in Nottingham while also operating Gallery6 in Islamabad. “Since its launch, artists from all over the world have joined the online gallery and an increasing number are visiting it everyday,” said Arjumand.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2013.

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