There’s not a whole lot you can’t find on the Internet these days, and now Seattle entrepreneur and UW alumnus Wayne Bishop is adding fine art to the list with an iPad app that allows artists to submit their work for enthusiasts to view.
Minted in 2012, Galleries HQ is a mobile content platform available online and on the iPad that aims to bring the work of independent artists to the web in a digitized fine art gallery.
The app focuses on providing a low-cost platform for artists to promote themselves, and a consolidated place where art buyers can browse. The bootstrapped startup is managed by Bishop and his wife and currently showcases the work of 65 different artists from various countries. Customers cannot make purchases through the app, but can contact artists about specific work.
Galleries HQ’s main interface uses an interactive map with dropped pins for the artists and organizations located in the area. Viewers can browse by tapping the pin to see the artist’s information and example pieces.
The app also has a search component that allows potential buyers to search for basic categories like “impressionism” and “abstract.” It’s a content platform similar to Urbanspoon or Evernote, only instead of finding the perfect Italian restaurant, art buyers can browse for the perfect landscape.
Where independent artists can fall victim to an endless pool of personal websites and cooking blogs, Bishop said Galleries HQ provides the opportunity to hand off the heavy-lifting marketing to the experts and rest assured that still life enthusiasts can see their work — even if they’re across the world.
The platform is available to artists without listing or commission fees, making it a lot cheaper than other live gallery options. Bishop and his wife are also the founders of Arbutus Software, but have recently turned their full attention to Galleries HQ. They’re currently the sole funders of the project, but Bishop said they plan to use Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sources to avoid having to charge artists.
Of course, the app is hardly meant to replace the live gallery experience. But Bishop says it has a different purpose.
“The app works as a discovery tool for art collectors, travelers and students,” he said. “We think every artist has a valuable story to tell and needs a great way to tell it — not only locally and in person, but globally through technology.”