If you missed the launch last year of powerful art collector Charles Saatchiâ€™s foray into the online networking, donâ€™t worry you are not the only one. We only recently learned of the growing phenomena that are the Saatchi Galleryâ€™s two online spaces for artists, Your Gallery and Stuart. Realizing the potential of tapping into the MySpace format, Saatchi started Your Gallery to provide a free online platform for artists. A New York Times article last month reported that since launching in May the site has, "contributions from about 20,700 artists, including 2000 pieces of video art. Everything there is for sale, with neither the buyer nor the seller paying a cent to any dealer or other middleman. About 800 new artists have been signing up each week."
Capitalizing on this instantly successful formatâ€”that demonstrates artistsâ€™ need for self promotion and to communicate with other artistsâ€”Saatchi launched a sister site in November called Stuart (student art) to cater for the worldwide student art community. The result? In one month 1300 students created web pages for themselves there. They now have upwards of 6 million visitors a day.
Itâ€™s not only the students and professional artists who are benefiting from these online galleries, Saatchi himself is fascinated by the opportunity to see so many artistsâ€™ work from all over the world in one place. He says he spends hours each day looking at work on both sites, though for now he is leaving it to others to snap up the creations. As the rest of the art industry, dealers, gallerists, museum directors and collectors, gets involved, Saatchi is just enjoying the spectacle.