When you want to buy some great art but find galleries intimidating.
The app Wondereur is a service launched this past June by a group of Torontonians to blend documentary storytelling and art shopping. Built around a free iPad app (but usable with any web-browser), the project features a different artist every week, selected by expert volunteers with art-scene cred. Wondereur gives users a photojournalistic glimpse of that local artist’s life and work, and opens a simple channel for buying it. Profits are shared between the artist and Wondereur.
“It’s like a documentary with a call to action,” says co-founder Sophie Perceval. “We show you this photo-essay, this story, and if in the end you feel moved by the work, you want to buy it.” Since the focus is on emerging talent, prices for the works are in the low to mid-range—from just over $100 to a few thousand.
“It ended up being very positive,” says artist Julia Hepburn of her recent collaboration. She creates dark, nature-themed dioramas, which sold so strongly that her stay on the site was extended this summer—Hepburn was surprised when strangers started coming up to her at the Queen West Art Crawl to say they’d seen her profile.
And people are noticing Wondereur’s work. They just picked up a win at the 2012 Canadian Online Publishing Awards for Best Tablet Edition. Long-range plans include a establishing a global presence. “We’re currently discussing plans [with artists in] Berlin, Istanbul, Tokyo,” says Olivier Berger, another co-founder. Artists in those locales will join the base being developed here, in Paris, and in New York—giving international flavour to this homegrown concept.