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How This Art-Tech Startup Plans To Disrupt The Global Art World

Turbare speaks to founders Joe Anka & David Hutchful on how they are disrupting the global art market and creating opportunities for collectors and artists alike.

Author Will McBain Mon 22nd Feb 2021

Turbare, a new art-tech platform is on a mission to bring the artwork and life stories of the world’s best artists to a new generation of online collectors. From Kathmandu to Port Au Prince, Cape Town to Reykjavík and a myriad of art hubs in-between; podcasts, articles and online showrooms are breaking down the barriers that have separated art lovers, from the best creative talents outside the perimeters of the western dominated art world.

The platform is going one-step further, by utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) to offer ‘fair market’ prices to collectors, in a bid to shake up an industry that struggles with price transparency and is experiencing profound change.

For centuries, global art dealings have been analogues – European and US led – exclusive and slow to move. 2020 showed that’s all about to change. 

With much of the world’s population still facing lockdowns and curfews, galleries and exhibitions have shifted online, forcing the art world into the digital age.

Firms like UK based Turbare – named after the Latin word ‘to disturb,’ or ‘to agitate’ – uses AI at a time when artists from emerging art markets have shattered records at major auction houses Bonham’s and Sotheby’s. It is the art from these regions that Turbare’s founders want to bring straight to your door. 

Turbare says its model now has an accuracy of over 90%, which gets better with more data points.

“Art empowers the human spirit and we’re on a journey to discover the most inspirational artists from around the world,” says Joe Anka, one of Turbare’s co-founders.

Anka fell in love with art when he visited Ghana at the turn of the century, snapping up works from the likes of Ablade Glover and El Antsui, whose monumental wall-hanging ‘Searching for Connection’ clad the facade of London’s Royal Academy of Arts in 2013.

Artists from all over the world are being listed with Turbare, who spent 2020 combing through historical lists of auction sales and feeding the data into a specially designed computer model.

Characteristics of thousands of individual works are pumped into an algorithm. Dimensions of a particular piece, its theme, location, the country of origin of the artist and their age, and even external data sources like an artist’s social media following, and how many articles are written about them, are computed.

With this information, the machine learning model was able to gain an understanding of what aspects effects the value of an artist’s work, testing its predictions against historical prices.

Turbare says its model now has an accuracy of over 90%, which gets better with more data points.

Their AI Model forecasts over 1-, 3- and 5-year intervals of a particular artwork, guiding and affirming a collector’s choice of purchase as the value of global art skyrockets. 

Artists have unlocked the power of Instagram to connect directly with buyers, and with inventories and human appraisals made more difficult in the midst of a pandemic and expanding market, galleries are adapting digitally to survive.

Data from the UBS Global Art Market Report 2020 shows that 70 per cent of millennial collectors said they felt more inclined to buy art online since Covid-19 began. 

The same report found that 59 percent of collectors said the pandemic had increased their collecting interest; with 70 percent of millennials saying they felt more inclined to buy art online now.

Data from the UBS Global Art Market Report 2020 shows that 70 per cent of millennial collectors said they felt more inclined to buy art online since Covid-19 began.

Consumer trust in the prices offered virtually is one of the biggest inhibitors to potential collectors, as human led appraisals struggle to keep up with demand from work created globally.

 

It’s anticipated that with up-to-date estimates provided by AI, buyers can feel at ease with the long term value of their purchase.

As this pandemic lingers, brick and mortar institutions must rethink the way they sell art, as the millennial generation calls for representation and demands to hear from creators previously overshadowed. With fair market prices offered, benefiting both artist and buyer, tech and an increasingly global online community looks set to reshape the art world.

“Our machine learning model presents a transparent price,” says co-founder David Hutchful. “Collecting art should be seamless and enjoyable and we’re providing completely original artwork shipped with a certificate of authenticity wherever you are in the world.”

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