The future of art is multi-dimensional; Artivive is making sure of that.
Founded in 2017 by Sergiu Ardelean and Codin Popescu, the pair began with high hopes of using emerging technology to change the art world’s approach to creating and sharing works. We spoke with Ardelean to learn more about his award-winning app and how it all started.
With a professional background in advertising, Ardelean had long been interested in augmented reality and frequently tried to incorporate the tech into client projects when he worked as a creative director at a marketing agency.
Years ago he had a fateful realization about the tremendous potential in bridging the gap between the highly guarded ivory tower of fine art and the mysterious, at-times overlooked industry of immersive innovation. Fueled with a desire to showcase his vision for augmented reality, Ardelean guerilla-style hijacked a show at the Albertina, a prestigious museum in the heart of Austria’s capital. Little did he know that later Artivive would partner with the gallery on a permanent exhibition.
“I couldn’t shake the thought of making AR art engagement easy, [so] finally I decided to start a company with my friend and co-founder, [Codin Popescu],” Ardelean said.
The Artitive team considers how people consume content in formal and informal ways, splitting the company’s focus between the technology they’ve created and strategizing about what that technology can do to change expectations about interacting with art. “[Honestly] it’s not about the tech, it’s about storytelling, connecting traditional and digital spaces,” Ardelean shared. “You don’t go [to museums] for the tech, maybe once, but it’s what comes with it. You go to museums to see the artworks, not the AR. You go to be part of this world [of art].”
As detailed on Artivive’s website, the AR start-up aims to provide mobile tools and easy-to-understand tutorials for “artists to create new dimensions of art by linking classical with digital art. The digital layer opens doors to a whole new world of possibilities.” Fortunately for curious creators, the app and registration are entirely free.
Ardelean and Popescu have strategically worked on developing relationships both within artist communities—there are over 50,000 users in the Artivive network—as well as several hallowed arts-world institutions—Artivive has been used in 15 international museums, 40 universities and in over 92 independently-curated exhibitions worldwide—serving as the conduit between creators and established organizations.
“Discovering Artivive was an incredible revelation for me,” said Julie Gratz, co-founder and executive director of Kaleida Studio. “Using their app for the first time I was able to combine my animation work with my physical artwork. It is a perfect tool for multi-disciplinary artists, and has allowed me to curate almost 10 augmented reality art shows over the past two years with other artists in my community. AR has allowed me to create work that feels like a full embodiment of my vision for a piece. I’m very grateful for Artivive, and so excited for where the technology is headed and what that means for art.”
Ardelean sees Artivive and similar products as a separate medium; a new form of art and discipline. “We like to compare AR to photography and film and look at how those developed into art forms themselves. Back when both were new technologies artists just experimented with [their potential].”
In imagining the future of Artivive Ardelean sees his company as a marketplace for connecting creators and institutions together for funding and exhibition. “Compared to our competition, we’re here for art, everything we’re doing is for art, artists and for sharing art.” he said. “We don’t add advertising into our app experience. We want to bring all the stakeholders together to give artists the opportunity to work with our network of other artists and institutions.”
As for those other institutions Artivive offers a myriad of ways to partner to #bringArtToLife, the company hashtag. Visitors to Artivive-enabled exhibitions are encouraged to download the app on their own phones, therefore cutting out the hardware museums would traditionally need to purchase and maintain for guest usage.
While more and more arts organizations are taking hold of AR’s abilities, Ardelean knows it takes time to assimilate the technology into a space traditionally resistant to quick change. “Augmented reality is a new skill [for many]. You have to have people download the app, get used to the process, see it in action and continue to do so,” he said. “Fine art in-general has a presumptuous image. [You have to work to understand it], you must be astute, cultured. What we’re doing is making it accessible and playful and trying to get new and different types of people to engage.”
Want to start creating with Artivive? The arts app is currently hosting an open call in partnership with the United Nations. In celebration of the UN’s 75th anniversary, users can submit original poster designs and synced animation loops inspired by the mission of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. Eager artists can submit up to two pieces by the end of July and an international jury of UN representatives and professional creatives will select the 10 best for display in an exhibition in New York City.
Special thanks to Sophia Batchelor.