One Art Nation: Empowering Art Collectors and Professionals
Mar 31, 2022
We sat down for a chat with Subkit, who were interested in hearing about our entrepreneurial journey in the art world. Here’s how it went…
What's your business, and who are your customers?
One Art Nation (1AN) - www.oneartnation.com - is THE trusted source of online art market education across the globe. We initially targeted the platform towards emerging collectors and art lovers looking for the basics of collecting. It soon became clear that our membership included established collectors as well, who were seeking information on succession planning, donating collections to non-profits, etc.
Therefore, we recognize and work with the best-of-the-best in the industry to create relevant content that demystifies the art world and empowers collectors and professionals. Through working towards transparency, we increase the confidence in the art-related decisions of our members. And best of all, our growing library of 200+ on-demand videos is available free to art lovers and collectors in all corners of the world!
Further, our Professional Development courses offer all types of professionals with the right tool kit when it comes to art and art-related practices. For example, our Art Advisory 101 and Art Advisory 201 programs act as a much-needed benchmark for art advisors, offering them best practice techniques in their field. Meanwhile, our Art Wealth Management course offers wealth managers, private bankers, family offices, and other financial advisors a true understanding of how the art world operates. It is the only active and accredited continuing education program that focuses solely on art wealth management.
Tell us about yourself
We have been friends since high school, and although our studies and employment brought us to separate corners of the world, we always remained close. When we both returned to Canada after many years abroad, we sat down over a glass of wine, and voila! The idea was born. We came about it quite organically, as we recognized a dire need for accessible information for art collectors. The art market is known for its complexity and lack of transparency. For those just getting into the market, it can be quite intimidating. So, we wanted to help educate both aspiring and established collectors in an interactive yet non-threatening environment. And in 2013, at Art Miami, we officially launched One Art Nation.
Regularly, we hear from art lovers how, by nixing the jargon and cutting out the intimidation factor, One Art Nation has fueled their love for art via our accessible and relevant education. And just knowing how much we would’ve appreciated such a resource when we first aspired to collect keeps us going each day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
1AN has a reputation as THE go-to source of quality online education. We create content that is both diverse and engaging, equally for first-time buyers, established collectors, industry professionals, and generally, those with a passion for art. As such, we have built a strong community with a common interest: ART. We are very proud of this.
Further, we have partnered with some of the most influential companies in the industry, including Art Miami Productions, US Trust, Deloitte, Chubb Insurance, Bank of America, Bonham’s, OCAD, and more. We have been helping leading professional associations and businesses bring relevant art market education online for eight years now. And we have earned our reputation by providing leading-edge technology, unparalleled service, real-world experience, and unwavering commitment to the success of the 1AN Community, whether art expert or art collector.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Our biggest challenge, which many business owners can relate to, has been the pandemic, as we were forced to adapt quickly to the unprecedented crisis. As business owners, our survival instincts kicked in to navigate the unknown waters of lockdown over the past two years, from canceled projects and art fairs to adjusting to the loss of partners (galleries, artists, etc.) being forced to shutter. But at the same time, it provided an opportunity to get creative. For example, we formed a new academic partnership, a direction we may not have ventured in pre-pandemic. We also took the time to relaunch the website, with a strengthened focus on our incredible network of art experts and professionals. So although we weren’t chasing art fairs from New York to Miami to the Hamptons and back, we managed to not only stay busy but even to strengthen our position as a trusted resource in the art market.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
To start, know that there will never be a right time to start a business, so don’t wait for it. But you can either look at that as the thing that holds you back from starting or use that to push you to go for it – asap, immediately. Be realistic with yourself and your business. Initially, we approached One Art Nation with a sense of false optimism. We were so excited to start making our mark, but we soon realized that in thinking we were going to dominate the art world on day one, we would be failing in a matter of months due to drastic disappointment. Instead, it was clear that the new keyword was: perseverance. And then the key to perseverance is not to lose that excitement we had on day one.
And hand in hand with excitement, have fun with it. We’ve both had lulls over the years when we’ve forgotten to have fun with the business. We’ve gotten bogged down with details with a risk of burning out. But we’ve learned to recognize this in ourselves and each other. At that point, we’ll take immediate action to see an exhibition we’ve been meaning to attend at a local museum or run over to an opening at our favourite gallery where there’s sure to be wine, music, and industry contacts to catch up and laugh with. When you don’t have any fun with the business, you run the risk of losing your drive and failing at your goals.
Courtney Christensen, Christopher Barnekow, Kathleen Guzman, Alasdair Nichol