Being creative is a gift that not everyone has nor understands. But a deep passion for making beautiful things doesn't always come with the organisational skills required to find platforms that showcase creative works – and in turn, art lovers need an easier way of finding great pieces of art without having to travel to galleries all over the world, or rely only on familiar names when shopping for new pieces.
Port Elizabeth professional artist and gallerist Cedric Vanderlinden has come to the rescue of artists and art lovers alike, with his mobile application Exhibid, which aims to give a helping hand to struggling artists.
The Exhibid app provides a free online gallery for visual artists to showcase any unsold works.
Speaking to Huffpost SA about the app, Vanderlinden said the idea was sparked by frustration that the country has hundreds of thousands of artists, yet very few get the opportunity to exhibit in art galleries – especially those who are marginalised.
"Many working visual artists are struggling to make sales, because they have neither the means nor the opportunity to exhibit their work formally," he said. The result is that potential buyers see only a very limited selection of what is available on the local art scene.
"Every artist that I know is sitting on a stockpile of artworks that may have been shown, but just haven't found the right buyer at the right time for the right price. If someone makes them an offer and they decide to accept it, surely it's better than just sitting there gathering dust?"
Vanderlinden added that what his team is trying to do with the app is to create a groundswell of support for the local artistic community, and with that use of technology, make it easier for South Africans to buy and sell art.
Drawing on the same principles as location-based dating apps, he said, Exhibid will help to overcome this challenge by showing potential buyers all locally available artworks in their area.
"In a wide and disparate geographic area, having neither the opportunity nor the means to easily exhibit their work, how do artists connect with art lovers?"
This "art in your pocket" app enables users to browse for and bid on art outside the confines of the traditional gallery space. It is up to the artist to accept or reject a bid, and once a fair price is settled on, the artist and the buyer are connected directly via the app .
Secure payment is made via the app, and is only released when the GPS signal indicates that the artist and buyer are in the same location for collection – which protects both parties.
Vanderlinden added that artists who had registered on the app could also apply for the Exhibid Exhibition Fund, which gives them R1,500 towards the costs of hosting a physical exhibition in return for promoting the app via their marketing materials and social media.
The response to the app has been overwhelming, and while he is not sure of the number of people who have registered yet, Vanderlinden has been receiving a lot of phone calls from people interested in the app in Johannesburg and other cities.
He hopes that like many other apps of this nature, this one will change the art industry radically.