THE NEW DECENTRALISED ART ECONOMY
Platforms which will have Impact
Finally, a way to find stolen artworks in seconds
The Platform :Artsproof: www.artsproof.com
The Founders: Kobi Shmuel & Amit Roitman
About the platform: Artsproof
EVB: Etienne Verbist
AMIT ROITMAN –
Artsproof is introducing a new, comprehensive, real-time database of stolen and lost artworks to stop the illicit trade in stolen art, by allowing users to search and locate stolen artworks within seconds and avoiding the unwanted trade in stolen art.
EVB WHY do you do what you do?
Art theft and forgery are almost as ancient as art itself.
Criminal acts involving works of art happen more frequently than the public imagines.
Even today, valuable artworks are being stolen frequently from museums, galleries, and private collectors around the world.
Law enforcement agencies estimate the value of the lost art at 10 billion US dollars.
It is extremely difficult to find and take hold of such stolen artworks. In order to search a stolen artwork today, you’ll have to deal with large amounts of cumbersome paperwork, and costs of getting information and investigating the cases are steep.
Unfortunately, most galleries, auction houses, art dealers and private collectors do not usually vet before trading in artworks, they just trust on their “kin instincts” to decide if there as a problem with a certain artwork. Reality proves again and again that this is not nearly enough.
We want every artwork to be vetted before being traded, in a simple and fast manner, in this way we will take the fight against art crimes to the next level, and we will protect our precious cultural assets.
EVB WHAT DO YOU DO?
We offer a wide variety of solutions that fit art dealers, art galleries, art collectors, auction houses, museums, insurance companies, and law enforcement agencies, based on a simple, fast WEB system with various products and subscription options that fits everyone.
EVB HOW DOES IT WORK?
At the base of the system is the most extensive database of stolen paintings and statues in the world.
We are allowing users to search the artist name and see relevant stolen artworks of the artists, it takes only seconds to do so.
Furthermore, we are developing image recognition and processing algorithms, in order to make use of the system more efficiently and to allow the clients access to more advanced functions.
Using advanced technology means the clients don’t need to work hard – or work at all.
In order to improve our data and allow our users the best available data out there, we are allowing everyone that was a victim of an art crime to report it in our system for free, with a simple interface.
Our database has thousands of artworks with unknown artists, our users can explore these artworks for free and help identify the missing artists’ names, thus harnessing the power of our growing community.
Many times, a series of art crimes take place in the same geographical area – for example, in early 2019, in London, artworks were stolen from 10 different art galleries, all over London, using credit card fraud. Thus, Artsproof created an alert system that alerts all members of the community in real-time with respect to art crimes reported to Artsproof.
Last but not least is our mechanism for returning stolen artworks, Artsproof created an organized and orderly method of returning stolen artworks to their rightful owners.
The basis of our method is the possibility to anonymously convey information regarding stolen artworks. Artsproof does not care who stole the artwork, if it was part of some greater criminal endeavor, what it was used for, or how it got to where it is now – Artsproof’s only interest is to retrieve the artwork and to get it out of the black market. Artsproof’s team of experts – having experience in counterterrorism, intelligence gathering operations and military operations – examine the information. Artsproof uses information gathered through members of the community in order to locate the rightful owner of the artwork. Then, Artsproof may assist in the safe retrieval of the artwork to its rightful owner while creating a real financial incentive to do so.
EVB What will be the IMPACT of your platform ?
Our platform will become a must-have tool for the global art market, no matter what is the price of an artwork, it will be scanned and checked in our system.
When buyers and sellers alike, will use our system, it will create an important and meaningful dialog if the artworks scanned through Artsproof or not, and will help establish a reliable relationship between everyone in the market.
The global art world will understand how important it is to use the system, for every trade. Then, the entire art market will trade with artworks with ease of mind.
EVB What makes the Artsproof disruptive?
Disruptive innovations tend to be produced by outsiders and entrepreneurs in startups, rather than existing market-leading companies. The business environment of market leaders does not allow them to pursue disruptive innovations when they first arise, because they are not profitable enough at first and because their development can take scarce resources away from sustaining innovations.”
Our basic presumption is that in order to get the war against art crimes on the right track, the entire art world must embrace solutions which enable refraining from illegal art trafficking, with an emphasis on stolen artworks. Unfortunately, most galleries, auction houses, art dealers and private collectors do not use any tools before buying, selling and/or brokering deals with respect to artworks.
Since the current solutions are basically a manual check in the database, it causes them to be expensive per check, and takes a long time to get the results so there is no real incentive to use these tools, unless you are trading with artworks worth a lot of money.
By utilizing technology to tackle this issue we are allowing users to get information with affordable prices and within seconds and even automatically, so we are basically making our tools accessible for everyone in the market and allowing to check every artwork, no matter the artwork’s price.
Regarding art recovery – To this day, still handled by a small number of professionals, whether private detectives – some of them ex-police personnel, who served in art crime units and now use their expertise in the private sector – or governmental agencies.
But still, the numbers of retrieving stolen artworks to their original owners are still low.
The basic challenge here is that people who may have information regarding the stolen artworks are afraid to come forward and be exposed (since art theft is a criminal offense), Another major problem is the lack of sufficient information channels. If someone wants to come forward with information regarding stolen artworks, there is no anonymous way of doing so and even if they want, they can’t really, unless they are in the closed circles of this world. Another major problem is the lack of sufficient incentive: when you offer a prize of $10,000 for any information leading to the retrieval of a $1,000,000 painting – and that painting is worth $100,000 on the black market – there is no real incentive for returning the painting.
Basically, since we are using technology, implementing new methods to gather the information anonymously and creating real financial incentive, we are sure that the numbers will rise, we are already working on interesting cases and can see the results.
EVB What Is the Future of Art?..and what do you dislike
In our times, if you have enough money, it’s easy to implement ideas and thoughts into our minds. Therefore, in the near future, anyone with a large budget will be able to promote various artists and push them to a huge success, sometimes even way more than the artist’s real capabilities.
Eventually, it will blur the lines between quality art with a strong message and shallow art with no message at all.
In the far future, it could become even worse. But, I’m an optimistic person by nature, and if we’ll teach and Children and Youngsters about the true value of art, they will develop their own unique and wonderful understanding and taste in art.
EVB About the art market
Investing in artworks could still be a great alternative investment channel.
For the past 15 years I’ve been trading art from low level artworks to artworks at the highest level.
The art market can offer great investment opportunities but has challenges in it due to the fact that it’s a fashion driven market and that it’s changing gravely in recent years, due to new technology methods for trading art.
Add these challenges with people with know no proper knowledge and experience and it could be a very high-risk market.
In order to trade safely and enjoy the high profits the market can offer, people should work more closely with art professionals when making investments.
EVB What is your dream project?
As cliche as it sounds, a few years ago, I was a victim of an art crime myself – Someone sold me a high-end stolen painting, which led to a police investigation and a large money loss.
This was the incident that made me passionate about this subject.
Now, I’m happy and proud to say that I’m pursuing my dream project, the system is live and we are on the right track to help every artwork traded in the market to be vetted.
Creating visual art using virtual reality (VR) to create history content to educate Children and Youngsters
EVB What role does the artist have in society?
The most important role of an artist is to implement a new language of emotions into an artwork.
A quality artwork should have contrast – between black and white, happiness and sadness, compassion and cruelty, etc. The contrast’s importance is to create a tension that will deliver the message directly to the viewer and will create a meaningful public dialog.
EVB What memorable responses have you had to your platform?
Even before we launched, various art galleries heard about us and were calling us constantly and ask if we could check some artworks for them, it really made the necessity in our platform clear.
At another time, just after we launched, a man from Australia contacted us and shared a sad story about his expensive artwork that was stolen in Argentina, we took the case and register the artwork, and yet again, it made us realize that we could really make a change.
EVB What research do you do?
It’s important for us to stay updated on both the general art world and art crimes.
Reading – Art magazines, books, news websites and any resource we can put our hands on
Interviews/discussion with customers and people at the industry
Conferences – It’s important to meet people and hear about innovation and the latest research in the art world.
Author : Etienne Verbist