Ashley L. Wong is a project partner and judge at the Art Challenge. Ashley is Head of Programmes and Operations at Sedition, the online platform for leading contemporary artists to distribute their work as digital limited editions. At Sedition she oversees the launching of new artists and development of programmes and strategic partnerships that inform new development on the site. She has worked extensively in the arts and creative industries as a digital producer and project manager of exhibitions, events and online programmes. In this short interview, Ashley explains how Sedition works as a business.
Ashley, could you tell us what Sedition is all about?
Sedition is an online platform that sells digital editions of art by some of the world’s most renowned contemporary artists. It is the evolution of the traditional etching or woodcut print multiples where high resolution videos and images stills are distributed as digital limited editions. Works are held in your Sedition account and can be viewed exclusively on any screen or device through the browser or using one of our free iPhone/iPad, Android or Samsung Smart TV apps. Works are securely stored in the cloud in the Vault of your Sedition account and come with a digital Certificate of Authenticity that is signed by Sedition and the artist. Sedition works directly with the world’s leading contemporary and digital artists including Tracey Emin, Bill Viola, Yoko Ono, Universal Everything, Elmgreen & Dragset and many others. Works are affordable from as low as £5 up to £1000 and it is free for anyone to join and become an art collector of the digital age.
What main problem does Sedition solve?
Sedition provides an innovative way to sell digital videos and images as limited editions. It presents a model for artists working in the digital medium to sell and distribute their work for screens. Works can be experienced on any connected device or screen presenting a new way to collect and enjoy art at home or on the go.
In terms of customer groups, who do you primarily target?
Our customers are art collectors, art lovers, and early adopters of technology. Since prices are much more affordable than for many traditional artworks, this allows more people to participate in art collecting. We hope to make art collecting more accessible to the everyday person. We envision art to be as necessary in everyone’s lives as music and literature.
How do you differ from traditional solutions of art distribution?
Works on Sedition remain in the digital realm and are not physical artworks. There are many online aggregators that sell physical paintings online or images that can be printed, but works on Sedition remain digital and are to be experienced exclusively on TVs, tablets, computers and smart phones. Works are also held in the cloud and not on your local device. This way you can access your art work anywhere you go. You can however also download the artworks into our iPhone/iPad or Android apps in a secured environment, so works can be viewed even when you are offline. Sedition presents a unique model to sell the works as digital limited editions where edition sizes range from unique artworks to editions of 100, 500 and up to 1,000. In a world where digital files can be infinitely reproducible, Sedition presents a way to limit the numbers and create value through scarcity. Once all editions are sold out, works can also be resold on the Sedition Trade platform which allows people to sell their works at any price.
How would you describe your business model?
Sedition sells art as digital limited editions. We earn a percentage of the sales which is shared with the artist. We also have a number of corporate deals with hotels and license the works to view in hotels rooms and public spaces as another revenue stream.
What marketing channels do you use?
We use email marketing as our primary means to engage our members. We use social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote the new artworks and artists.We often partner with publications to launch and promote new artists and artworks on Sedition and we often participate in art fairs, festivals and exhibitions like UNPAINTED in Munich, Sonar+D in Barcelona, Art Basel Hong Kong and many others.
To make a business successful, what would you say are the skills you need?
Your team needs a variety of complementary skillsets. For example, a strong development team is integral to developing the features and maintaining the site for an online business. A strong marketing and customer support team is also valuable, as well as business development skills to build up the necessary partnerships to make your business thrive.
What are the top trends you see happening right now?
At the moment we are seeing the art world embrace digital technologies including digital storytelling. Of course people are very obsessed with Big Data and what it could tell you about your preferences – what kind of art you like and recommending more of that. We hope to see more people investing in digital art in the art market and gallery world. The value of digital work is still being negotiated but we’d like to see how this develops and how digital art will be collected and preserved for the future.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Make sure you have a good network and you know your audience. Make sure you find the right partners who can complement your skills and knowledge and can cover all the bases. Be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses and research the market. A good network is important to ensure you can build the right partnerships to support your business and give it the leverage that it needs to get noticed.
Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Art Challenge on 22/23 January!
Images: Xylosidase by Damien Hirst and Burning Flower by Mat Collishaw. Courtesy of www.seditionart.com.