High-end art galleries often don’t display work that falls under a certain price range, as all of the handling and promotion that goes into the artist exceed the return of a low commission. Indiewalls does not have a minimum price that artists must adhere to, and while there is no maximum price point either, Mr. Grazi doesn’t see pieces topping $5,000.
That’s not to say that the art Indiewalls works with isn’t worthy of gallery space. In fact, many of the sixty-five artists who display through Indiewalls have shown in galleries before. Photographer Brian Hamill and painter Diana Delgado are some of the more recognizable names found on the Indiewalls website, both of whom have had multiple exhibitions. Still, anyone who wants to collaborate with Indiewalls is urged to apply as a new artist through the company’s website; so far, over one hundred have. And, whether they have fifty exhibits under their belts or are recent art school graduates with minimal exposure, all Indiewalls artists are on equal footing; displaying their work side by side, in restaurants and shops in the same neighborhoods, their art is being viewed by the same buyers.
“Indiewalls minimizes the snob factor and the intimidation factor. At a gallery, you might feel like you need to act a certain way or wear this or that. But you’re in your comfort zone when you’re at your favorite coffee shop and get to see cool art on the walls,” Mr. Grazi said. “We’re minimizing the barrier to entry of purchasing and viewing art work.”
In this respect, Indiewalls is not competing with New York City galleries. It is selling different art to a different consumer. That consumer may be someone who just moved into a new apartment and needs to decorate, but doesn’t have a bloated budget to furnish. It might be someone who has never bought art before, who can’t name a single gallery in Chelsea, but who buys clothes at RIFF or drinks coffee at The Grey Dog – two of the nine Indiewalls-inhabited venues (fifteen others have registered Indiewalls accounts and are scheduled to go live on the site soon).
RIFF happens to be located around the corner from the Bowery Hotel, so we took the opportunity to peek in on our way back from the interview. Inside the music-meets-fashion den, we saw photos and prints decorating the walls, though not all of the art was collected through Indiewalls. The ones that were included a print of a very young Mick Jagger looking serious and potentially swoon-worthy, and a pencil and ink drawing created by Mr. Grazi’s brother, Joseph Grazi.
While the Indiewalls art at RIFF was priced fairly high (about $2,500 for each piece) in comparison with other art that Indiewalls shows, we can see the appeal of buying art in a casual environment, regardless of price.
“There is a middle ground between an art gallery and posters.com. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a mass-produced print? Why not buy a one of a kind or limited edition piece from a local artist for less money?”
Art at its democratic finest – for the people, by the people.
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