What do Dasha Zhukova (Roman Abramovich’s partner), Wendi Murdoch (the former wife of Robert Murdoch), Peter Thiel (founder of Paypal) and Jack Dorsey (creator of Twitter) have in common? No, it’s not a charitable event. All of them are investors of an online art platform.

Launched in October 2012, Artsy has managed to achieve in less then one year over 1.5 million unique visitors providing a content of over 50,000 works by over 11,000 artists.

What is Artsy actually?
Artsy’s goal is to bring the art word online, accessible to anyone with an internet connection and we’ve built the premier online site for discussing, discovering, and collecting art. The Artsy platform is unique because we work with the entire ecosystem of the art world, enabling Artsy’s 150,000+ international users to draw on our extensive global network of gallery, museum, and nonprofit partners to discover and collect art they love, 24/7 from the comfort of their homes. Clients can learn about the artist, browse the latest museum shows and gallery exhibitions, read posts by leading writers and curators, write their own posts to engage with art, and connect with the galleries via the Artsy platform.

You have launched the website in october 2012 and in less than one year your figures and partnerships are impressive. How did you achieve this?
We’re lucky to get to work with the top galleries and museums around the world, like Gagosian Gallery, White Cube, The Guggenheim Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and hundreds more. When a gallery partners with Artsy, our team of liaisons works with them to help manage their content and we’ve built amazing relationships with these partners. Our coverage of major international art world events like our exclusive online partnership with The Armory Show and features on Frieze Art Fair, the Venice Biennale, and Art Basel make Artsy the natural destination for the world’s best galleries.
Artsy also recently launched 300 publicly searchable gallery profile pages, creating a comprehensive listing service for Artsy’s gallery partners from Gagosian to White Cube, to Paul Kasmin and making Artsy the go-to online resource for current artwork listings and upcoming shows.

What is the profile of your customers? Is it different from the typical art gallery or auction house customer?
Artsy’s customers range from long-time collectors seeking to preview art fairs and events such as the Venice Biennale online before they open, to first time buyers who appreciate the guidance from our specialist team throughout the process of purchasing their first work. Since our gallery partners and specialists are located all over the world, from Munich to New York and LA, we attract a very global audience. In fact, it may interest you to know that the average distance between buyer and seller for known Artsy sales is over 2,400 miles, which supports the idea that we’re helping to making connections that are very unlikely to have happened without Artsy.

Who buys art in 2013? Is there a difference between the type of buyers today and the ones in–say – the ’80s?
Art buyers in the current market are much more educated and want to support the artists and follow their practice rather than speculate. There is no boom driven by a few players, such as the 1980’s witnessed, and much less sensationalism in the market than the previous decade. Instead, there is a steady and thorough interest paired with the accessibility to collect some of the best emerging artists at very accessible price points.

Education through art, for art. Is this a goal for Artsy? If so, how are you doing it?
Education is in an inherent part of Artsy’s mission to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. We offer the following educational features to accomplish this goal: Collections. Artsy provides free online access to 50,000+ artworks from 140+ museums and institutions (including SFMOMA, Guggenheim Museum, The British Museum, Smithsonian Cooper- Hewitt: National Design Museum, Asia Society) and 450+ galleries (such as Gagosian, Pace, Acquavella, and Pearl Lam) around the world. Exhibitions, Art Fairs, and Biennials. Artsy provides current coverage of hundreds of major gallery and museum exhibitions, art fairs, and biennials around the world. This information is available on the Artsy homepage, POSTS, and in gallery and institutional pages located in Browse. The Art Genome Project. This research project identifies the shared characteristics of artists and artworks, and allows users to be continually introduced to related artworks through search and browse. The Art Genome Project enables experts and non-experts alike to discover art, design, and architecture with 800+ categories like Abstract Expressionism, Splattered/Dripped, Pop Art, Bright/Vivid, Food, City Life, Photography, and more.

What is The Art genome Project?
The Art Genome Project is comprised of two parts: Part 1 is a list of all of the possible characteristics/terms you might apply to art. Think about an art object, say a painting by Andy Warhol. You might say it is a painting, that it is a work of Pop Art, that it is a silkscreen, that it features an image of Marilyn Monroe, that it is very “high contrast,” or even that it emphasizes the flatness of the image. These characteristics or terms (e.g. Pop Art, flatness, bright colors) are what we call “genes”. There are currently over 800 genes in what we call “The Art Genome” and they fall into the following multiple categories. Time Period (Pre-Impressionism, Modern, Contemporary), Medium (Painting, Sculpture, Installation, Video) etc. Where did all of these genes come from? Hundreds of years of art-historical scholarship that we are the beneficiaries of; discussions in books, periodicals and on the web surrounding contemporary art; many Artsy genome team meetings and debates; and consistent communication with all of our partners, i.e. the galleries, museums, foundations, collections and estates that feature their work on Artsy.
Part 2 is applying relevant genes to each of the 11,000 artists and 50,000+ artworks on Artsy. The list of genes applied to artists and artworks we call their “genomes.” Like the process of coming up with genes, the application of genes to artists and artworks is a group effort, involving the genome team at Artsy, extensive research, and consistent communication with our partners.

Do young artists sell?
Absolutely. Since there is a lot of support and genuine interest from collectors, people actually want to get to know the artists they are collecting, learn about them and follow their practice. Platforms like Artsy enable a greater and more international audience to connect with their work. In fact many young artists themselves are becoming very aware of the potential of online media and mobile platforms for speaking about their art and connecting with a broader demographic.

Do you have partnerships with Romanian galleries or do you sell Romanian artists?
Artsy features works by Romanian artists such as Șerban Savu, Răzvan Boar, Miklos Onucșan, Mircea Cantor, Theodora Axente and Marius Bercea to name a few.