Netflix for Paintings?

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TurningArt is a startup that lets you make a queue of prints by various independent artists, try the prints out in your home or office, and exchange them as often as you like. After you've lived with the print long enough, you can trade it in for the original canvas, watercolor or collage; you just pay the balance of the original's cost (and your subscription fees count as credit toward the purchase price).

Check out how it works, below the fold. . .

Easy, right? (As an artist, my anxieties are greatly allayed by the fact that they're shipping prints around in those tubes, not the originals).

TurningArt's basic idea is to make a variety of art from relatively obscure artists accessible at low prices. And while I've heard some criticism along the lines of "but you can get affordable artwork already online - check etsy," I think TurningArt satisfies a slightly different market than etsy. Many people are reluctant to commit to an artwork - especially an abstract, out-of-the-ordinary piece - until they've seen it in their home. Other people might like to give art as a gift, but are hesitant to select a piece for someone else, in case they don't like it (art is highly personal, and original art can be awkward to return). Finally - and I like this idea best - a subscription could be awesome for a plain, white-walled office or common space. The ever-changing artwork would be a conversation starter, and it would be fascinating to see how visitors and co-workers reacted to the different styles and artists. (Presumably, knowing you didn't drop $2K on it would free your peers up to be brutally honest.)

In the end, I don't know if TurningArt will succeed or not, much less become the next Netflix. But I do like seeing entrepreneurs trying creative, art-centric business models. So good luck to Jason Gracilieri, his "dynamic coalition of art-loving geeks," and all the artists they represent. (And for any interested artists out there - find more info on joining TurningArt here.)

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