Artspace co-founder Cath Levene and one of her current favorite works, Chanel Blue, 2012 by Steve Miller.
While we love art, we rarely pry ourselves away from our laptops long enough to get to museums and galleries. But we get our fix in other ways, namely through Artspace, a genius site that is designed to help collectors and aspiring collectors (us!) find new artwork. Co-founders Cath Levene and Chris Vroom have combined their collective wisdom (she spent 14 years working at tech powerhouses like DailyCandy and Glam Media, while he ran an art non-profit called Artadia) to build a site that connects art lovers and artists from around the world. Not only is the site inspiring eye candy, but it’s also filled with fascinating artist bios, interviews, and curated collections. We asked her for advice on becoming a collector, the pieces she’s coveting right now, and more.
1. How did you come up with the idea for Artspace?
Artspace was the joint vision of my partner Chris Vroom and me. We come from totally different but complimentary backgrounds and both saw just a huge need in the market to help collectors and aspiring collectors discover, learn about, and buy artwork from all around the world and to help artists, museums and galleries reach new audiences.
2. How does buying and researching art online differ from traditional methods—galleries, museums?
Both methods are great for different times and places. There is nothing quite like walking into a gallery and museum and seeing the work close up. I love doing that and will continue to do that for a lifetime. With regard to buying online or sight unseen, it’s actually quite a joy too, because you come back to it often, read about the work, see it up close (through zooming and panning), immediately get the prices (which is often not the case in certain offline experiences), learn about the artist and their practice, get a sense for which museums are collecting their work, and of course buy work from all over the world 24/7.
3. I know you’ve been interested in art since you were young. What advice do you have for people who are trying to get into the art world now?
You are never too young to start. I started collecting right when I graduated from college. I couldn’t afford much but I always bought at least one or two works of art a year. Over time, that amounts to a collection. You don’t have to spend much either. When I started, I focused on benefit prints that artists generously donated to non-profit organizations they wanted to support. We have great works on Artspace in this category. For example, here is a fantastic print by Clifford Ross to support charity: water, plus a list of other non-profits we support through the sale of art by world-renowned artists.
4. What was the first piece of art you ever purchased?
A Ross Bleckner photograph from the non-profit organization ACRIA (AIDS Community Research Initiative of America), which I bought at a benefit for $100 when I was in my early 20s. It still hangs in my apartment and I love it. It is also amazing because ACRIA is now an Artspace partner! We offer great works by incredible artists to benefit this exceptional organization.
5. Which Artspace artists or pieces are you coveting right now and why?
The best thing about Artspace is that it’s curated with artwork by the best artists in the world. I can’t go wrong with anything. But if I had to pick at this moment, I can’t do just one. Here are a few:
- Tony Feher prints: I just love the color and texture of these prints. These are the first prints that Tony has ever done and we are honored to offer them on Artspace.
- Kate Shepherd: The vibrant lines and colors in Kate Shepherd’s work just resonate with me. I’d love to fill a wall with several of these works together.
- Steve Miller photographs: Steve has such a unique talent for combining both visual culture and technology to create works of art that are both intellectually interesting as well as beautiful. In this series, he has x-ray photographed objects such as soccer balls to snakes, but I have to admit I covet this Chanel bag—the photograph and the bag!
Ready to take the art-collecting plunge? Sign up for Artspace now and receive $25 off your first purchase.