New website hopes to shake up ‘predatory’ art market

A new website hopes to be a game changer in Bristol’s art scene.

BrisArtlaunched in August this year, is sure to ruffle the art market.

Launched by Chris Luffingham, BrisArt offers Bristol-based artists a lower commission rate in a bid to level the playing field for smaller local artists.

Traditional galleries can charge up to 50% of the sale price of artwork in commission fees, but BrisArt allows artists to self-promote at only a 25% fee.

Chris explains: “We found ourselves with an art market dictated by the patronage of galleries which then impose predatory prices. Galleries determine what is considered “good art” and force a select few to inflate the price at which they sell their work in order to survive. »

Chris, raised in Bristol, argues that the financial pressures faced by small artists mean that “many artists simply cannot afford to pursue their craft”. He hopes the website will eventually “provide a platform for artists who are doing great work”.

BrisArt’s first month of activity was a success. Chris says he is delighted that the website has received “very positive responses”, instilling hope that there is a demand for the platform provided by BrisArt.

Local artist Nancy Chambers has high hopes for the future of the website – photo: Nancy Chambers

BrisArt has reached a compromise where its 25% commission keeps the business going, while ensuring that the majority of the profit goes to the artist, allowing the artist, in turn, to produce more work and reduce financial pressure.

Bristol24/7 spoke with a local artist Chambers of Nancy on his thoughts on the business model:

“Online galleries can be a great way for artists to gain exposure and reach new art lovers. Without the overhead of a mainstream gallery, BrisArt can afford to be more generous to its artists by offering a lower commission rate,” she says.

“Generally, galleries with a physical presence have higher overhead. The BrisArt website looks very professional and offers an interesting range of artists.

Looking to the future, Chris suggests it’s “not out of the question whether we have a Portrait Artist of the Year or a Landscape Artist of the Year” but the platform is “most certainly” tied exclusively to Bristol for the time, due to the city’s world-class art scene.

Ultimately, he says, “BrisArt has simple goals – to help artists thrive and to help people buy great art.”

BrisArt launched on August 12, 2022

Main photo: Nancy Chambers

Read next:

Listen to the latest Bristol 24/7 Behind the Headlines podcast on Apple Music and Spotify:

Back To Top