show me anybody who located

Featured on Dec 13, 2010

Laurence Lafforgue

"Life is short - get on with it!"


I am a French-born, New York-based long-time digital start-up entrepreneur and also an art collector. My first art acquisition was an indulgence of my childhood fascination with Japanese manga, a limited-edition print (263 of 300) of Takashi Murakami's Into the Dream (Jumbo Corn Head Mushroom) that I acquired at a French art fair for just 100 euros, 12 years ago. Upon making that purchase, it dawned on me that too few artists were producing original, attainable, collectible limited-edition prints—and that the deficit of entry-level pieces was hurting the contemporary-art world. That's why I decided to start ArtWeLove, a curated collection of totally exclusive limited art pieces, created in partnership with some of the most vibrant voices in contemporary art.

Who’s in the picture with you on the left?

Adam, he works with us.

Can you talk a little about Adam and your team?

We're a group of art passionates and tech nerds, all based in NY. We kind of all do everything to be honest, mostly working with leading artists to select great works and then working with our collectors to get the word out. I think what's interesting with us is that we all come from a fine arts background, as well as technology, so both worlds are very familiar to us. We know who are the top artists, we can really understand their works, and make it easily accessible to our audience. The fun part is bringing works that typically are found in top galleries and museums and to use completely new channels, like Twitter and Facebook, to get them out to an audience who is culturally interested and who want to start collecting but who would not necessarily go to a gallery to search for work.

Your FAQ says that ArtWeLove selects artists “based on the artists’ career, his relevance in today’s artworld discourse, as well as our members’ preferences.” Can you go into more detail about your invitation process?

The ArtWeLove team and friends of the company scout the art scene in NY and throughout the world on a very regular basis. Most of us have been collecting for a while so we have relationships with established artists who seek to democratize their practice. In addition, we've developed a learning platform that gets a lot of traffic from people seeking to learn about contemporary art. We look into which page gets the most traffic and the most "love" from members and we infer what they might like to be able to collect. So the process is definitely curated and selective, but it's also informed by what our audience loves.

Who built/designed your site, do you have an in-house team?

We worked with The Barbarian Group and graphic designer Emma Welles, they were the ones who did the Subservient Chicken campaign for Burger King way back. They are awesome.

Are there any specific challenges in designing a site that features fine art?

Yes, there are many challenges, it's got to be very visual and the work has to be the hero, but you also have to help people navigate through a lot of educational content and help them buy.

You raised money to start Art We Love, do you think it would be possible to bootstrap a site like yours?

I think it's possible to bootstrap up to a point and that's what we actually did. Ideally you want to bootstrap until you have a prototype ready, a beta out that can be validated with key users (in our case art collectors, first time art buyers, artists, art world professionals, etc.). Then it becomes a lot easier to ask for seed money.