Commissioning artwork can take hotels and designers a lot more time than they initially think. Hotels constantly need to stay up-to-date in every facet of the industry, and design teams need an easier way to discover artwork from global and local artists that is consistent with changing trends. By blending technology and art, Ari Grazi and Gavi Wolf found a solution to curating artwork for hotels: Indiewalls.
“As we were growing and watching the art market more closely, we listened to what people needed and we repeatedly heard from the hospitality industry that they were starved for artwork from real and local artists,” Wolf, co-founder of Indiewalls, says.
The pair, who had already created an app, took what they know about technology to make an online, customizable program where hoteliers could choose varying mediums and styles to find unique artwork. Grazi, co-founder of Indiewalls, says, “There’s a huge trend in hospitality design where owners, brands, and designers are looking to deliver curated art collections and work with local and emerging artists to have artwork custom commissioned for their properties. There wasn’t a great research tool for a hospitality team to put together art packages and experiences.”
The Indiewalls process begins with tailoring the art collection to the specific hotel. While some designers and owners may know what art they want, others may need more assistance choosing which artworks to put where. Wolf says, “We really partner with them and help the brands and property put together proposals for different types of art directions prior to even looking at art. We help with brainstorming and we might bring up some artists whose stories really align.”
Indiewalls has different outlets of curating original artwork. The online portal has over 100,000 pieces from 2,000 artists globally. Sorted by collection, users can search with keywords of medium, geography, and price. Soon, color will be a searchable option. The process is meant to be easy to use and saves valuable time for designers to focus on other aspects of a hotel’s creation.
“The catalog feature and opening up the Artist Community directly to designers has really helped with what we call the ‘Pinterest problem.’ This is essentially when a designer does initial discovery finding some artwork on Pinterest, puts it in a mood board, it ends up in a rendering, and then the owner actually wants to buy it only to find that they can’t get in touch with the artist or it’s expensive.”
Hotels can also post an open call to the Artist’s Community by filling out a form that highlights, as Grazi says, “their art needs, aesthetic preferences, budget, timeline,” and visual cues. Another option is the Brand Collectives platform, where a brand can choose artists and mediums they want as a brand standard. Owners can then travel to the customizable website and choose which artists and medium they want for their property that’s an already approved brand standard.
Artists are also recognized through the platform and are offered opportunities to be featured in properties that may not have found them without Indiewalls. Artists apply to the Artist Community open platform with a resume and portfolio. A team from Indiewalls then chooses the artists, and once approved, their pieces are featured in the searchable program. Indiewalls looks for artists that are diverse in various mediums to support the many art needs of a hotel. “We see Indiewalls as being a one-stop shop for a property that might have a diverse art collection need,” Grazi says.
Indiewalls is planning on keeping up with popular trends to stay relevant in the future. While expanding the Brand Collectives platform, Indiewalls wants to stay on top of trends including sculpture and art installations that are becoming more prominent in hospitality.
Traditional means of curating artwork can be difficult and often limited. Emerging programs like Indiewalls that are customizable can help hotels choose the best artwork for a unique space, which make a difference in a hotel’s aesthetic success. Wolf says, “We see ourselves as disrupting the way that the commercial industry and hospitality industry have previously purchased artwork. We’re really excited about what we’ve been able to bring to the playing field.”