AI and the Generative Art Market

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AI and the Generative Art Market

As the world is becoming increasingly digital with innovative technologies, the online art market is found to be no exception. While still in its early stages, the online art market is experiencing a digital transformation. Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are disrupting the art market by presenting a wide array of opportunities in aspects such as creativity, safety, fraudulent art detection, smart recommendations, and digital marketing. Some key players in the AI-based art marketing industry are Artfinder, Artsy, and Kellify. Emerging AI-generated technologies in the online art trade market are art forgeries detection through machine-learning algorithms, augmented reality, and virtual reality.

AI-Based Art Marking Key Players

Company #1: Artfinder

  • Headquartered in London, Artfinder was established in the year 2010 and then re-launched in 2013 as a marketplace for both artists and art lovers. Artfinder’s platform connects people with more than 10,000 independent artists across 108 countries through machine learning-based recommendation algorithms.
  • According to the Independent, Artfinder’s platform works like Spotify, recommending artwork to people based on their tastes. The platform's algorithm also offers art recommendations based on visual similarities of paintings, sculptures, or photographs that were previously selected/purchased by the buyer.
  • The platform's search tool is incorporated with useful filters such as art price and color to help buyers streamline their search. Artfinder sets itself apart from its competitors by allowing buyers to connect socially with artists and build lasting relationships. The company strives to build an art community where the world's many artists can "make a living doing what they love".
  • The company’s website claims to add 15,000 new works of art each month. Artfinder has raised $2.2 million in funding, the most recent of which was raised in 2016. Artfinder is also found to be the very first art marketing company that works on being socially and environmentally responsible. The company claims to provide “a sustainable art market for all”.

Company #2: Artsy

  • Established in 2009, Artsy is a global online art marketplace for people to learn, discover, and collect art. The company partners with more than 3,000 agencies and some of the world’s leading art museums, galleries, fairs, and auction houses to develop the largest available platform for art.
  • Artsy utilizes cutting edge technology to constructively balance the demand and supply of art globally. The platform features more than 1 million art pieces, design, and architecture created by over 100,000 artists, both modern and historical.
  • The company’s platform is powered by its technological framework called The Art Genome Project. This classification system maps the aspects or “genes” that tie artists, design objects, architecture, and artworks through time. Artsy has over 1,000 genes in its pioneering art framework, including styles and movements, design movements, and visual qualities.
  • Through ‘The Art Genome Project’, Artsy enables its users to find “endless opportunities for discovery” by connecting art that is made today with art containing similar characteristics that were made “decades or even hundreds of years ago”. The platform also offers the means to learn more about design and art through its database of 26,000 images of architecture and art.
  • Artsy has raised over $100.9 million in funds so far. The most recent funding was obtained in 2017 when Artsy raised $50 million in a Series D round with Avenir Growth Capital as the lead investor. In the same year, Artsy acquired the New York-based tech company ArtAdvisor Inc. for its data insights and machine learning capabilities within the art marketing space.

Company #3: Kellify

  • Fintech startup, Kellify, was established in 2017 and is headquartered in Genova, Italy. The platform developed by Kellify utilizes artificial intelligence to provide recommendations of art pieces, helps in fraud prevention, and aids art investments. Kellify’s technological framework enables investors to identify artworks, auction pieces, or collections that have the highest chances of obtaining a short term return on investment.
  • The platform’s algorithms are based on deep learning and machine learning techniques. The algorithms used can identify emotional, rational, and irrational “characteristics that favor the liquidity of an art work”. With the help of its AI-based algorithms, Kellify offers vital information to art collectors and investors to make well-informed decisions and reliably effective investments.
  • According to Fintech News, the machine learning algorithms are developed based on “real-time analysis of billions of historical data” compiled by financial specialists. This approach that combines big data and artificial intelligence technologies is called Quant-as-a-service. Kellify not only provides the real value and trends of art pieces but also offers AI-based investment recommendations on “passion assets of all kinds” such as vintage cars and fine wines.
  • The company raised $1.7 million in funding through a Seed round in 2018 with Alberto Adorini and Riccardo Bianco as its lead investors.

Emerging AI-Generated Technologies

Technology #1: Artificial Intelligence to Detect Art Forgeries

  • Detecting forgeries is a critical challenge in the art world and the task of identifying fake artworks has been reliant on human expertise for a very long time. In recent years, however, the advancements made in artificial intelligence has disrupted the art space and is continuing to influence the market in various applications such as art authentication.
  • The first AI-based system used to detect art forgeries was developed by the researchers from the Atelier for Restoration and Research of Paintings (ARRP) in the Netherlands and Rutgers University in New Jersey in 2017. This AI detection model was able to identify fraudulent art pieces by closely comparing the brush strokes used to create the artwork. The model combined machine-learning and neural network technologies to develop the detection algorithm and obtained a success rate of 80%.
  • In 2019, two researchers from Massachusetts published a paper on their neural network model that was trained to identify forgeries by copycat artists such as Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. According to IEEE Spectrum, the model was able to differentiate fake paintings from their originals at a success rate of 90.4%.
  • A well-established platform, Art Recognition, utilizes an AI-based algorithm to authenticate artworks with precision. The company was able to develop a scalable solution to tackle the world’s art forgery problem. The art recognition algorithm scans the art piece’s brush strokes and provides a corresponding heat map that locates the painting’s most suspicious regions.
  • According to an article published by MindMatters, artificial intelligence can be used for many significant applications such as art authentication and can also aid in the “much less sensational role of sorting out controversies over who painted what”.

Technology #2: Virtual Reality

  • This immersive technology offers great opportunities in the art industry by taking paintings to the people in a convenient, fast, and interactive manner. Virtual reality has made waves in the art space in the form of VR art tours. Some of the leading art galleries in the world offer its audience with a 360-view of their art shows as an alternate means of attending art exhibitions and events.
  • Through VR-enabled applications, people can have immersive experiences with exhibitions and galleries without having to be there in-person. One such example is the Kremer Museum which displayed the 17th-century Flemish and Dutch art, the Kremer Collection, as a VR museum tour without the need for actual physical space, in 2017. The collection’s paintings can be observed from all angles and can be accessed from any part of the world with a VR headset.
  • Another example is the National Museum of Finland and its VR adaptation of The Opening of the Diet 1863 by Alexander II. This interpretive application allows people to go into the painting, walk to different locations, and converse with the art-subjects.
  • According to Victoria Chang, the art director at VIVE, the Louvre is working on launching its very own VR exhibit of the Mona Lisa. With a VR headset, people will be able to walk close to the painting and observe it from all angles.

Technology #3: Augmented Reality

  • Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality provides a more scalable solution by altering the person’s current environment and can be experienced via a digital tablet or smartphone. To offer users more information, several museums around the world have developed accompanying AR-based applications as a step above the usual audio-based tours.
  • Lumin is an AR technology that provides audio and visual contextual data, about art pieces when a person points his/her digital device at a particular object. An example of this application is the Detroit Institute of Arts 2017 Lumin Tour which enabled the audience to see an ancient Egyptian mummy, both inside and out, through the app’s x-ray option. This technology also provides a motion-tracking feature that helps people navigate through the museum with an interactive map.
  • Several companies have developed AR-based platforms that combine both the digital world and the physical world of the art market such as ARtscapes which specializes in converting its artworks into a unique life-like experience. AR is also being utilized to transform street art into storylines such as the Armenian composer, Aram Khachaturian, and his music displayed as an AR mural.