As a UT student, I recently noticed a few of my friends posting about selling their artwork on a website called ArtStartArt, fast forward to my internship with Sara Hussey Public Relations, and to my excitement, ArtStartArt is one of our clients! I’m thrilled to introduce you to the founders of ArtStartArt, Erik Culver and Alok Marwaha. Read through our Q&A and learn a little bit about the inspiration behind their website.
**BONUS** For the next two weekends, you have a chance to see the artists of ArtStartArt in person at the East Austin Studio Tour! On November 10-11 and 17-18, shop original artwork from 35+ students from universities across that state. Click here to learn more and RSVP for free.
1. What was the inspiration behind ArtStartArt?
EC: When I graduated from art school, I realized my friends and I had created a huge amount of artwork but none of us knew what to do with it. Most of the work was collecting dust at our parent’s house or sitting under our beds. As the years passed, I realized many of us have an appreciation for original art, but the cost is typically a barrier to acquire it. I knew the quality of work being produced at universities and knew ASA could be a great opportunity to bring it to a bigger audience.
2. I’ve seen a couple of my friends post pictures about their involvement with ArtStartArt at UT. How do you feel ArtStartArt has begun to impact the creative space around campuses?
EC: I’m hopeful that it’s started to empower students to put their work into the world more and helped them realize that there really is a demand for the work they are creating while in school. It’s a challenge to be an artist as a lifelong pursuit, and my hope is that ArtStartArt has started to impact the creative mindset in a way that breaks “traditional” ideologies about how to make it as an artist.
3. What are some of your favorite ways to see art in Austin?
EC: I like it all. I am a sucker for a great museum. I don’t go to the Blanton enough, but when I do I’m always inspired. I love seeing original art displayed in restaurants and coffee shops. While I don’t think it’s the best venue to sell art, I love looking at artwork while I’m eating a nice meal or enjoying a great cup of coffee. Perhaps my favorite “way” to see art, is just to see a piece properly framed and displayed in a person's home.
4. You guys have a pulse on the latest trends coming out of your artists, what are some styles you’re most excited about?
EC: I think what excites me most about the work the artists on our platform are producing is that its diversity defies any set of trends. I could speak at length about the dozens and dozens of particular pieces that excite me, but I think what’s cool is that there’s a “style” for everyone. I really encourage folks who are purchasing art to buy work that they like and focus less on what might be trendy at any given moment. What excites me most about the art is the energy and exploration at this period in an artist’s practice.
5. What should we be looking for from ArtStartArt in the future/ how will it continue to grow?
Our goal is to bring ArtStartArt to universities nationwide and that is one of the fundamental focus of our efforts over the next year or two. In the shorter term we’ve got some fun things around the corner, like a large group exhibition in Austin coming up in November, and we’re currently working to add around 10 new universities (mostly out of Texas) to the platform over the next 2 months. We’re always going to have new work and new artists to discover, so just join our newsletter to stay plugged in to everything that comes next.
Founded in 2018, ArtStartArt (ASA) is an online marketplace committed to making it easier than ever to purchase original artwork from the best student artists at top universities across the country. Every month ASA introduces a new collection of art, hand selected by knowledgeable curators and available for a limited time only. The marketplace is proud to give five percent of each sale back to student art programs. For more information visit ArtStartArt.com and follow along on Instagram and Facebook.
About The Author
Hey guys! My name is Sonam Mehndiratta and I’m from Potomac, Maryland! I’m a senior at UT Austin, majoring in Advertising and minoring in Computer Science! In my free time, I love attending concerts, going to the farmers market, and enjoying the outdoors with my friends! I can’t get enough of Austin and it’s safe to say I won’t be leaving anytime soon!