Digital Innovation in Art Award 2022 Spotlights two Longlist Nominees COHART & ZARASTRO ART
Ahead of the shortlist announcement later in September for this special 20th-anniversary edition of the Digital Innovation in Art Award 2022, we are highlighting some of the most inventive projects, companies, and people who have entered the competition this year. Hang in there, because this year again, we aren’t disappointed - the ingenious projects we are reviewing are creating an exceptional competition!
Included in our longlist is COHART and Zarastro Art. These companies are working hard to help millennials discover art and artists, and providing a platform for global artists to showcase their art online. Representing a diverse selection of artists from all around the globe, both companies aim to remove obstacles for everyone, from artists, art consumers, to art collectors.
Not only are these companies using technology to innovate the way art is accessed, but also the way art is exhibited. They provide high-quality services, such as curation of art and exhibitions, and use proprietary algorithms to represent a great diversity of artists in the best possible manner.
So, without further ado, let’s begin with COHART’s innovative project.
COHART is a female-led company that helps millennials discover art and connect with visual creators. The company’s goal is to dismantle obstacles between creators, their art and their audiences, by employing tech-enabled curation, chat venues and live streams, and exhibitions which offer the sale of both digital and traditional art collections.
The team has an extensive background in art and tech which translates in innovative ways to expand the way this generation interacts with art. Building the platform we have CEO Kendall Warson who had previously built art shows that have seen more than 100k visitors in the US and China, Shyvenin S’ng, a gallerist private art dealer for more than 20 years as COO, and Harley Trung, an experienced startup CTO through techstars and YC.
Here’s a few words from CEO and Co-Founder Kendall Warson about COHART:
‘’At Cohart, we believe everyone who owns art is an art collector, but so few of us have the confidence to stand behind that notion. We believe technology has the power to change that. Technology is rapidly scaling access to art, enabling the next generation to come forward and participate with confidence. They are transforming market dynamics through a prism of social values, transparency, and community – and uplifting a celebration of creators and their ownership, monetization, and stories. The intermediary model is antiquated and becoming obsolete, and there has never been a better time in history to be a key stakeholder – a creative or a collector.
Our company welcomes the next wave of blockchain technology, globalization, and socially driven commerce as the future of the digital art world experience. We are harnessing technology to bring an immersive, interactive, and human-centric product to life, to capture the next generation as they drive innovation forward. Our product revolutionizes representation, discovery, and nice community building. Our mission is to use technology to broaden access to art, for everyone, on a global scale. ‘’
With this team, COHART is making it a whole lot easier for people to find the precise art they love. Because let’s face it, finding art today can seem impersonal and sometimes noisy. COHART rises up to the challenge by offering consumers art they like through the proprietary algorithm they’ve built, which facilitates discovery by genre, mood, vibe and social signaling. Meaning – no more endless searching.
Their users are loving it. COHART is seeing more than 3,000 creators worldwide join their private beta, and a smashing 100% consumer referral rate within the first six months of their launch. And they all come from different backgrounds ! COHART sees a 70% traction happening with visual artists, a 20% traction of Artsy networkers with the remaining 10% being ‘newbie consumers’. They have generated a generous amount of sales for their users, which shows the team’s business skills and the consumer’s trust in their platform.
Many people believe in COHART’s achievements and potential, which is why they have many investors like Mark Jung (founder of IGN gaming) and Carrie Schwab supporting their company. And we do too! We are delighted to have COHART as a nominee.
We are also very happy to present the second company, ZARASTRO Art for our DIAA award.
Finding new and innovative approaches to meet the challenges of connecting artists and lovers around the world is Zarastro Art’s main aspiration. Guided by their vision, Zarastro Art take it upon themselves to empower artists that represent distinct geographies, cultures, and talents by making their voices heard and their art accessible in the digital world.
On their platform, we can find a diverse global cross-section of both established and emerging artists supported in exposure that enables collectors to access their works through lovingly curated exhibitions. Serving both the artists and their collectors, Zarastro Art has services that not only curate exhibitions, but contextualize exhibitions with curatorial texts, artists’ statements, and revealing interviews.
Zarastro Art’s team, driven by a shared lifelong passion for art, are anchored by two fundamental values for the platform. The first is a commitment to painstaking curatorial practices, while the second is a commitment to diversity. Zarastro Art lives up to these values by collaborating closely with culturally diverse artists who utilize a broad range of media to explore vital contemporary themes. Working together toward this shared vision, the platform’s team and artists harness the potential of digital media to communicate bold visions and rich, nuanced narratives. Their founder elaborates on their Mission:
“Zarastro Art harnesses the potential of technology to communicate rich, nuanced narratives by prominent contemporary artists. We believe that innovation in the art world will integrate contemporary art into the lives of people through unique experiences that inspire new ways of looking at and enjoying art.” – Haydar Taygun – Founder of Zarastro Art
Ultimately, the platform’s founders hope to provide seasoned collectors with a new type of experience while helping aspiring collectors make their first purchases with confidence.
A few examples of the work can be seen with the three inaugural exhibitions that showcased on their platform during their launching back in May 5th, 2022:
1.“Cultural Threads”, an exhibition that centers on a feminist reading of our conceptions of women’s work which features video art by artist Nancy Atakan.
2.“To Be Good and To Live”, an exhibition curated under four sections that manifest the zeitgeist, entailing sixteen photographs by Ferat Özgür capturing different periods and cities of the past two decades that encapsulate the artist’s career.
3.An NFT collection by Kübra Cenk Uslu called ”The Many Faces of Transcension” which explores the ebbs and flows of the connections between human beings and nature.
Since then, their platform has been seeing great success, with an invitation to physically exhibit the art of the artists on their platform in Contemporary Istanbul 2022, allowing collectors both access to the artists and the unique business model.
All this is done with Zarastro Art keeping security at the forefront of their business by using a secure SSL encryption, selling NFTs through OpenSea, and for the sale of physical artworks, a payment processing system that is PCI DSS compliant.
We are so happy to have both of these groundbreaking platforms as nominees for the Digital Innovation in Art Award and can hardly wait for the Autumn Announcements. Stay tuned!