Phillips introduces Dropshop, a groundbreaking platform designed to bridge artists and collectors. A step towards a more direct and transparent art market.
Phillips, a prominent name in the auction industry, is delving into the world of e-commerce with the launch of Dropshop. This innovative digital platform is conceived as a space where limited-edition artworks and collectibles, commissioned directly from living artists, are offered straight to collectors.
When the platform makes its debut on August 20, Cj Hendry, a 35-year-old Australian-born, Brooklyn-based artist, will be the first to display her commissioned works there. Hendry, renowned for her captivating drawings and sculptures, has accumulated a robust online following. She is set to release one hundred bronze inflatable crowns through Dropshop, although prices for these pieces remain under wraps.
Phillips disrupts art market dynamics with Dropshop, a platform connecting artists and buyers. Limited edition releases directly from artists. Cj Hendry’s sculptural masterpiece kicks off the launch. 👑 pic.twitter.com/3j43yK2I57
— Artifact Labs (@ArtifactLabs_) August 11, 2023
One of the compelling aspects of Dropshop is Phillips’ promise to artists: a 3 percent share from any resales of their art via the platform. This is a significant departure from standard practice as resale royalties are seldom a feature in auction houses. This is Phillips making a bold attempt to set a new industry standard.
As observed by Christine Miele, the newly appointed Phillips retail sales director, the market dynamics for art sales have been visibly shifting. She noted that more artists are beginning to favor self-representation, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. With collectors growing more comfortable purchasing artworks from emerging artists via social media platforms, this transformation has been significant.
“In developing the platform, we wanted to rethink how the traditional model for an auction house might be expanded,” Miele explained.
Before joining Phillips, Miele was at the helm of the Kehinde Wiley Shop, a merchandise platform launched by artist Kehinde Wiley in 2020, designed to raise funds for a Dakar-based nonprofit.
While Phillips’ Dropshop is a fresh entrant, it isn’t without competitors. Existing platforms with similar digital models include Avant Arte and Exhibition A, founded in 2021 and 2010 respectively. However, where Dropshop distinguishes itself is in its strong backing by a major auction house and its unique commitment to artist resale royalties.
When queried about the future direction of Dropshop, a Phillips spokesperson hinted at an exclusive strategy. The house is eyeing collaboration with “blue-chip,” “self-represented” artists, though specifics remain confidential for now.
In conclusion, with the unveiling of Dropshop, Phillips is not just dipping its toes into the e-commerce realm; it is making a splash with a platform that addresses the changing needs of artists and collectors alike. As it stands, Dropshop is poised to challenge the traditional structures of art commerce, paving the way for a more direct, transparent, and equitable market.
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