Fifteen Minutes with ArtSocket

An up-close and personal interview with one of Toronto’s emerging entrepreneurs. 

Last month I was very lucky to grab a coffee with Dmitri Tcherbadji of the start-up ArtSocket. He sat down with me over a coffee and spilled his guts about his amazing e-commerce project and told me all about what motivates him and how he got started.

ArtSocket is “a boutique art gallery featuring prints by a select group of artists and photographers. All of the images in the collection are professionally curated and arranged thematically into “exhibitions”. Every drawing or photograph is supplemented with a short story about it”.

You can browse through exhibitions of art, find your favourite, pick, print and have them delivered right to your door! This can all be done through the easy-to-use site.  What really got me about the site was it’s ease of use, and how it embodied the very thing that it promised to do: create an accessible online space to art. It was, in essence, art at my fingertips.

Talking to Dmitri about ArtSocket has made me realize that the lack of art and push for the arts in our society has truly hurt us. Dmitri really made me think about the link between ethical living and art, as well as the impact that such type of forms of entertainment have on our lives and how we interact. Taking time away – from being in a situation that we can’t conquer, to having something akin to a writer’s block – can really help us to refocus and regroup, which exactly what I got from my brief and interesting conversation with this effervescent entrepreneur.

Needless to say, I left inspired and just had to share my experience.  Below is a transcript of my conversation with Dmitri.

Anita

 

1. What made you decide to create ArtSocket?

There needed to be a place for art, and though there are a lot of websites out there that let you do it, like 500px, Flickr and such; they are all amazing, but I thought that there must be another way to do it without it being a photo dump.

2. What challenges did you face in terms of converting and integrating the different pieces of art, both digital and print into the interface?

In terms of arranging the art, you are making art out of art. You have to have a theme in your head; you have to imagine—if this person goes into this part of the website or the gallery, you want this person to feel a certain way.

You want the person to feel why you arranged the pictures this way. It’s a challenge to achieve that because it’s really hard to gauge your feelings on other people.  For example, I will do an arrangement, and say ‘hey, it’s great, it makes sense to me”, but then I will have to go and ask some other people their thoughts.

3. Do you travel to different places to look art galleries to see if there are different things? Do you go to smaller ones, or do you look at big — is there rhyme or reason to what you do?

Basically I quit my day job and I’m thinking about just travelling around and visit galleries. If I see great art I will make sure to approach that person.

4. Do you have a team? Or is this just you? What is your process?

There is not much of a process, we’re not getting so many entries right now that we have to wait, which is great. I actually prefer to see somebody whose work is great and approach them in person. That is how I acquire much of what I have on the site.

5. Were you inspired by any specific galleries? 

So, what I thought of for this website was just to go in the opposite direction from Amazon, because everyone wants to have a huge website, a multi-billion dollar company—which is great and it’s an amazing business idea, but it’s very hard to accomplish. But, one thing that’s kind of my direction is to make it have a personality, right? When the people go there they know what they want in mind; this is a website just for art. Which doesn’t mean that it’s better than anybody else, but what I mean is that if you go there and whether make a purchase or not, you know that everything in there took a lot of work. That gives it that personal touch.

6. What type of payment system do you have with the artists? Do they get a certain percentage cut? 

I like to be as friendly with people as possible, so I’m always going to realize that business is all formalities. So basically, the only person I don’t get to sign a contract is myself; so if my photos are there and I know I’m not going to need the contract. But generally the first thing is: I will approach the person and be like, “you have great art work, and it would be amazing if you would like to submit something.” Or sometimes, people come up to me and say “I’d like to submit something.” I will then go through their art work – and I usually take the pictures and mock it up to what it looks like on the website. I will actually make the mock-up and send it to the artist and tell them that this is how it will look, and ask them what they think.

At that point, I’ve already picked the photos I think are going to go in the gallery. From there it’s the process of “is it going to work or not?” So, from there they either agree or they don’t. At that point, I have already asked them to review a contract that basically states that their art work still is exclusive and whatever they sell, they will get 75 per cent and basically I will ask their permission to use their art work to promote the website, ArtSocket.

7. What do you see next for this? Do you have anything you’re working on to improve the current interface or the process of receiving the artwork? 

Basically, the way I see it right now is like a solid exhibit online. It’s a place to go and kind of be entertained in a certain way; it’s similar to going to an art gallery at your fingertips. It’s like a recipe for thinking beyond concrete terms.

8. How do you contend with legal issues when concerning the artwork? Does the artwork remain under the artist’s possession once they post it on your site?

I don’t agree with taking ownership; if you do this, this is your work that you did in your own time. I’m selling the right to print it and make money off it. I’m just kind of renting it.

 

Thanks to Dmitri and ArtSocket! If you want to be featured on our site, please get in touch with us at anita (@) devTO.ca. 

Tech in Toronto: April 11 – 18, 2013

Welcome to Tech in Toronto, your one-stop shop for events! We have pulled together all the technology related events in the city to one awesome place for you to check up on. Don’t miss another event! Check back every Thursday to see a new listing curated by us, here at DevTO.

So, what are YOU doing tonight?

April 25th, 2013

Toronto Salesforce Developer User Group: Mobile Developer Week
7:00 P.M. (Free)

April 26th, 2013

Lean Mean StartUp Machine Toronto
April 26th – April 28th
7:30 P.M. (Free)
[WIN A FREE TICKET HERE!]

April 27th, 2013

STC – Society of Technical Communication: Toronto Tech Brunch
10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. (FREE)

April 28th, 2013

Toronto Android Users Group - Workshop: Native Android Development with NDK
2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. (FREE)

April 29th, 2013 

eTail Canada - 2013 Hyatt Regency in Toronto
Monday, April 29th – May 1st ($1999.00)

DevTO - Near Future Trends in Tech and Building an Open Data ecosystem for all to access, not just elites
6:30 P.M. – 9:30 P.M. (FREE)

HackerNest - Toronto April Tech Social feat. Girls in Tech with Chris Ye and Judy Sims
7:00 P.M. (Free)

Windows Azure Conf. - Get Your Cloud on with Windows Azure
8:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. (FREE)

April 30th, 2013

Toronto Pivotal User Group - Where to Put your Data and Why
6:30 P.M. (FREE)

May 1st, 2013

Mobile Learning Lab - Pioneering a Mobile Photo App
7:00 P.M. (FREE)

May 2nd, 2013

EdTech Toronto Meetup - Survival of the Fittest: Native v. Mobile Web Solutions
6:00 P.M. – 11:00 P.M. ($7.00)

MedTech Thursday - Featuring Demo from Kangaroo Group
5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M. (FREE)

Responsive Design, Meet Web-app - Hack Away at Responsive Menu Concepts
6:30 P.M. ($5.00)

The DevTO Team
If you have an event that I have missed, please email me the info at anita@devto.ca.

So you want to create a Win8 app from your WordPress blog?

So #DevTO is giving out a Nokia Lumia 620 Windows Phone on May 30th! This is what you need to do to enter this contest!

  1. Tweet something with the link to this blog post with the hashtag #DevTO
  2. Visit http://ideapress.me/devto and get started at creating a Windows 8 app from your WordPress blog
  3. Go through the IdeaPress Step-by-step post http://ideanotion.net/ideapress-step-by-step/ to create your app
  4. Create a Microsoft Developer account and submit the app to the windows store from the Microsoft Dev Center*
  5. Finally, just complete this form when you submit it to the store.
*If you hurry and do this soon, IdeaNotion is providing a free service where they will even publish your app to the store after you have completed the wizard.
On May 30th  we will pick a winner from those that have completed these steps! So, spend an afternoon with some friends and get your blogs up on the store, plus get entered to win a phone!
The Developer Movement. Make sure to check this out and join the movement to get some points and redeem them for some great prizes as you submit apps to the store!
UPDATE: Contest Ended. The winner picked was Alex Conde who submitted his blog “Searching for Happy“. You can get it from the Windows App Store here. 

Jobs? We’re Here to Help!

We at DevTO really care about our community!

That’s why we are always striving to offer Toronto with the best speakers and events. In our continuing quest to offer the Toronto Tech community with support, we have several resources for you to check out for jobs and for information. Stop by and connect with the rest of your tech community.

LinkedIn Group
LinkedIn Job Board

Facebook Page (give us a ‘like’!)

Twitter

You can find jobs, updates and interesting information on events at all these different networks.

The DevTO Team

 

FREE Windows Azure Workshop!

Extra! Extra! We have a great event for you! Microsoft Canada is hosting a special event specifically geared towards Startups to learn more about Windows Azure. The event is being held at MaRS on April 29, 2013 from 9:00 A.M to 4:00 P.M.

The Windows AzureConf 2013 is happening on April 23rd, so in conjunction with this big event, Microsoft is hosting a free workshop offering information on how to accomplish things using “Windows Azure offerings like Mobile Services, Web Sites, Service Bus, Virtual Machines, and more!”

Bring your laptop; this is a free event and breakfast will be served.

Here is some more information on the event:

Windows AzureConf – A Workshop for Start-ups in Toronto


When: Monday April 29, 2013 from 9:00am to 12:00pm
Where: MaRS Centre – Room CR3 (101 College Street, Toronto)

How to Register: Register Here (It’s a free event and breakfast will be provided between 8:00am-9:00am)

Learn More: Get Your Cloud On With Windows Azure

Hope to see you there!

The DevTO Team 

Tech in Toronto Thursday: Events for April 18th – 25th, 2013

This is a big weekend in Toronto, with two very amazing and awesome events running this weekend. As you all know, FITC is in town! Starting Sunday, April 21st to Tuesday, April 23rd! Tickets are still available here. The second big event is the NASA Space Apps Challenge at the ROM on April 19th to April 21st. Find out more and join the wait list here.


April 18th, 2013

Toronto-Titanium: Third Thursday Code Jam: Titanium Models
7:30 P.M. (Free)

Toronto Hadoop User Group (THUG) - Hadoop 2.0: What’s Coming?
7:00 P.M. – 9:45 P.M. (Free)

Mac Users Group GTA - Demo of Transparency in Adobe Illustrator
7:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M. (Free)

Toronto Code Retreat - Code Retreat @ Bento Miso
6:00 P.M. (Free)

April 22nd, 2013

Toronto Hadoop User Group (THUG) - Cloudera Sessions
8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. ($150.00)

April 24th, 2013

3D Printing Group - Introduction to 3D Printing
7:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. (FREE)

Toronto Accessibility & Inclusive Design - Socialize and Network
5:00 P.M. (FREE)

Toronto.NET Hackers - Xamarian.Android apps with C# and .NET (Mono)
7:00 P.M. (FREE)

The DevTO Team
If you have an event that I have missed, please email me the info at anita@devto.ca.

How to win a free FITC ticket courtesy of @WebNotWar

So it’s that time of the year again when FITC hits town and brings with it 82 speakers (if I counted them right). We’re giving out a free ticket randomly to someone on Twitter via TwitterTwitterChickenDinner.com. All you have to do is tweet this:

Try ideapress.me to convert your WordPress blog into a Win8 app that you can submit to the store #devto

And if you’re curious about it, try it out, it’s really easy and will create the app for you to submit to the store yourself. If you need help make sure to follow the great folks at IdeaNotion on Twitter.

We’ll pick a random winner Wednesday April 17th at 12pm EST.

Pssst…there’s another giveaway happening right now for LeanStartupMachine. Get the details here.

 

Lean Startup Machine Returns April 26

 

On April 26th to the 28th Lean Startup Machine (LSM) returns to Toronto for its next go around. Lean Startup Machine is a three-day workshop where attendees learn the fundamentals of Customer Development and Lean Startup principles to validate their ideas for a new product or service.

You can pitch your idea t build a team of like-minded people to see if that idea can move the market or you can join a team, or bring your team to the event to help you take the next step with your idea. LSM is all about helping you to test your idea. We

LSM was founded by Trevor Owens who has built his own company based on helping innovators validate their ideas and challenge their own assumptions and biases. Currently Trevor is working on a book titled “Build Measure Learn” to help innovators like you learn how to put your ideas to the test and see if they can soar or if they need a course correction or two.

#DevTO will be giving away two tickets to LSM Toronto this Wednesday. All you have to do to participate is follow @devto and tweet:

#devto take me to #LSMtoronto http://bit.ly/17Bkkvj

by day’s end on Wednesday to have a chance and help us spread the word. Good luck to everyone and thanks for your continued support of #DevTO, you are why we do what we do.

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