Tinder-like app for art buyers and artists debuts in SA

Read time 2min 20sec
The Exhibid app
The Exhibid app

A new smartphone app, called Exhibid, hopes to become the 'Tinder for art buyers', connecting those looking for art with those selling it nearby.

The app uses GPS technology to serve up all the artworks available in a user's immediate geographic area, similar to how the popular dating service Tinder works.

The app's built-in bidding system allows the potential buyer to make an offer. Once a bid is accepted, payment is made via a secure payment gateway and buyer and artist are connected via the app to arrange collection.

Exhibid creator and artist Cedric Vanderlinden says inspiration was drawn from the dating app as he believes the art world faces many of the same problems as the dating world when it comes to finding the perfect match.

"I've always believed that finding the right artwork is like falling in love, in that it is incredibly difficult. In both instances, you have to meet the right person at the right time in the right circumstances, which is almost impossible," he says.

Vanderlinden says many working visual artists struggle to make sales because they have neither the means nor opportunity to exhibit their work formally, with the result that potential buyers see only a limited selection of what is available on the local art scene.

"Galleries act as tastemakers and gatekeepers and they wield an enormous amount of power.

If you're going to a gallery, you are seeing only a few selected artists, and from those artists you're only seeing a few selected works. Even if you like the artist, there's nothing to say that what he or she has on show is exactly what you are looking for."

The app has been in development for two years and was launched recently in SA. Each artwork will stay on Exhibid for three months. There is also a 'discover' mode, which will allow users to virtually browse art from other cities.

"This is one of the major markets that we are trying to activate - every artist that I know is sitting on a stockpile of artworks that have been shown but just haven't found the right buyer at the right time for the right price. If someone makes them an offer and they decide to accept it, surely it's better than just sitting there gathering dust?" says Vanderlinden.

The app is available for free download from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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