Everette Taylor became an art buff by accident. In 2017 he stumbled into owning his first piece — The Red Whisperer by Jonathan Henriquez — after winning a raffle at a speaking event in Boston. Since then he’s been hooked on the art world, peppering his LA home with pieces from well known and unknown creators. But with his discovery of his love of art also came a commitment to fixing a lot of the issues he saw in the space.
In the midst of his journey as an art collector, Taylor kept running into the same problems: How do you actually find and discover artists? Better yet, how does a person without connections to elite galleries and wealthy people find artists? How do you transform the art industry from being exclusive, to inclusive of minorities and marginalized groups of people?
“I walk into art galleries and people don’t even acknowledge my presence” Taylor told Afrotech.
Searching for the answers to these questions led Taylor to realize that the art world has an accessibility problem. Artists don’t always have access to big galleries, which means that art lovers and potential buyers may never see their work. Also, people who may not know a lot about art, but are interested in it, may feel intimidated when going into certain spaces and not seeing people who look like them.
Today, Taylor is announcing the launch of ArtX, a company that aims to help creators get their work to the masses, empower artists to tackle daily issues, and make art more mainstream. Hailed as a marketing genius by Forbes, Techcrunch, and Fortune, he hopes to use his entrepreneurial expertise to enrich and expand the art world.
ArtX will consist of three arms: media, technology, and community.
The media bit will come in the form of artx.net, a platform for artists to share their work and connect with art lovers, fellow creators, and collectors. The technology component will consist of paid and free software tools catered towards artists through a platform called ArtX Amplify. The paid version is an AI tool that will allow artists to easily promote their work on social media and build their followings. The free services will include things like an invoice generator and a business directory so artists can have access to resources like accountants and financial advisors.
“One of the things I hear most from creators is that they don’t have a good grasp of the business end,” Taylor said.
The community portion of Taylor’s new endeavor will support artists financially through a scholarship launching in May. The assistance includes helping with rent, buying supplies, or even getting to Art Basel in Miami to showcase their work.
“I see it as a community first above everything. We want to give back to the art community, rather than taking from it” he said.
Taylor wants to make art more mainstream and transform it from a space that’s built on exclusivity and access, into one that all people can enjoy without fear of judgement. He wants art to stop being associated with fancy galleries with wine and hors d’oeuvres. He wants the average person to be an art lover, collector, and buyer.
“I’m trying to be Drake, I’m not trying to be Mozart,” Taylor said. “The amazing thing about Drake is that people of all ages and all backgrounds enjoy his music. And it’s not only for this small base of people. Right now art is very much this very exclusive community of people, and I’m trying to break that shit.”
Another part of Taylor’s mission is to make the art world more inclusive for minorities and get them involved in the wealth creation that comes with owning art.
“I want people, specifically the black community, to realize how important it is to invest back into our creativity and artistry,” he said.
Taylor hopes that ArtX will be the spark for people who don’t have the connections to be involved in the art world as it currently exists.
“When people see that people like them can buy art and have access to art, it inspires others.”
Taylor’s big bet is that using digital media and technology will cause a community that has traditionally lived in galleries or different pockets of the internet to come together to collaborate and support each other in one place.
“Millenials and the generation that’s coming after is getting smarter,” Taylor said. “Smarter about investing, smarter about wealth building. There’s an explosion in the art space. People are making a lot of money and it’s something that a lot of marginalized people and underrepresented people are not a part of.”
This new venture from Taylor is different than any one he’s launched before. While his other companies were based off of data and the success of past models, this one is different. It’s driven by his passion and energy towards making art, its creators, and the wealth that comes with it, more accessible to everyone, not just a few.
“For the first time in my life I’m doing something and creating a company that I’m actually super passionate about and I want to work on.” Taylor said. “I’m very fortunate and I’m very blessed to create the successful companies that I have thus far, but this hits different.”
Taylor says this is just the first phase of ArtX and that the product we’re seeing today will have additions over the next several years. He’s playing the long game, and its one the art industry and everyone who is a part of it should be looking out for.
(Words by John Ketchum for Afrotech)