One Art Club and the 'lucky dip' subscription model

A new art club is set to make starting a private art collection as easy as subscribing to your favourite magazine.

The One Art Club will send members a limited edition artwork every two months, and every delivery will be a complete surprise. 

Founder Evie Kemp, who’s known for her bright animal-themed prints, has worked in the art and design world for nine years and has seen first hand how much it enriches people's lives.

She doesn't want to see art collections remain a luxury for the elite.

"I'm a big believer that in 2016 anyone can be an art collector, and display pieces in their own home that spark joy, tell a story, express personality, inspire confidence or create a mood."

Kemp previously worked as an art stylist, sourcing and advising on art inside private homes - her experience led her to thinking about how to get art to a wider audience.

She saw the way people got a kick out of discovering a love for pieces they didn't find themselves, which planted the seed for The One Art Club.

The subscription-based art club is likely the first mail order art club in the country. It combines the concepts of magazine subscriptions with a traditional lucky dip.

Members choose their subscription package, from monthly to annual, and every two months a framed, limited edition print arrives in the post.

Each piece of art is a surprise, and Kemp is keeping quiet on which artists are likely to be featured.

"It's a mix of emerging and more established artists, across a range of styles and mediums but each one remains unknown until the delivery date.

"Each artwork comes with some background information on the artist and work, so you're either going to be introduced to someone amazing and new to you, or it might be a coveted, limited edition piece from an artist you already admire."

All the work has been commissioned by The One Art Club and is strictly limited to the club's members.

It has been easy to transfer a subscription model into the art world, Kemp says.

"I think of it as the grown-up equivalent of a lucky dip, with the anticipation and excitement being a huge factor in the overall experience."

Unlike some subscriptions, The One Art Club doesn't deal in samples or 'throwaway' products. Each work is commissioned to a high quality, with the aim for the valuation to increase overtime.

The fact the art originates at the club means people always have an anecdote to explain where it came from - something Kemp says is important.

"So much attachment to art comes from the stories we surround them with, and that starts with the purchase - ask a person about that painting on their wall and they're sure to have a tale about how they only just won it at auction against all odds, or they stumbled upon an artist’s studio, or their grandmother swapped her wedding ring for it."

Initial reaction to The One Art Club, which launched this month for registrations ahead of the first delivery in February, has been positive.

Kemp's worries that the personal nature of artistic tastes would make people wary seem to have been unfounded.

"The reaction has been pretty amazing. As it's such a new concept, we've been really pleasantly surprised at just how many people are instantly receptive to it and how it works.

"This is for people who want that little feeling of risk and the associated payoff, who maybe already own art but want to try something new, or for those that don't know where to start."

The artists involved are also excited to be on board, she says.

"Artists have reacted to it as a way of introducing art to a new audience, and making having beautiful pieces in your home as easy as ordering dinner."

Evie Kemp.

The club can be an easy and affordable way of building a collection. Kemp hopes it will take the stress out of the process, which involves finding potentially valuable art and framing it, for newcomers.

"The One Art Club handles all of that and delivers art ready to pop straight in place. It opens your mind, introduces you to new artists and inspires you to see differently."

Full subscriptions see now available in New Zealand and Australia and Kemp hopes to extend to the rest of the world as soon as possible.

At the moment the art just comes in one format and size, but in the future the club will branch out to include different themes and mediums of collections.

This story first appeared at The Register.