The world of internet image social sharing has just gotten a little more crowded as Saatchi has recently sent out an email announcing that it is teaming up with PICTIFY – WORLD’S FASTEST GROWING ART WEBSITE to compete directly with Pinterest and the more exclusive art.sy to provide artwork images to a wider audience. One of the features of Pictify is that unlike the other two sites, a user does not need an invite to participate.
Saatchi online was started in 2006 as a vehicle for artists many of whom did not have gallery representation to connect with collectors. Boosted by the Saatchi name of Charles Saatchi the king maker of the Young British Artists and subsequent generations, artists were encouraged to upload their personal images and compete for votes to be featured and eventually get a sponsored show. In 2010 the site was relaunched to allow for artists to sell their artworks through the site. At the time, Saatchi online was also competing with Myartspace.com which was also set up in 2006 to attempt to eliminate the middleman and connect artists directly to collectors. Unfortunately, myartspace.com went the way of the dinosaur in early 2012. One of the common complaints with the Saatchi model was that due to eliminating any arbiters of taste, as the quantity of the artworks increased, the quality tended to decrease leaving potential collectors and enthusiasts at the mercy of those artists who seemed to have the best social networking skills, often at the expense of the eccentric loners that it was purportedly trying to promote. With the near global domination of Facebook, the relatively new site Pinterest has found huge social support from those who simply want an easy visual way to look at images provided by a vast social network. While Pinterest has been rapidly gaining popularity, its most popular posts are on fashion, weddings, and food with art being lumped into a single broad category that includes everything from etsy items to tattoos and Thomas Kincaide prints. The recent launch of art.sy was expected to address these issues by bringing the galleries back into the fold by selecting the arbiters or galleries while culling much of the wannabes in a very similar way that the major art fairs are effectively curated. Based on the help of a logarithm, art.sy participants are allowed to search through a pool of “tasteful” art to find something that matches their individual tastes based on color and genre. Art.sy is intended to be a rarified service that hopes to effectuate sales between collectors and major galleries for an undisclosed fee, the inclusion of museums as well as artwork from private collections is meant to reinforce the concept of high art.
With its recent push, Pictify appears to be a more specific Pinterest with elements of art.sy as galleries, museums, and other institutions such as Saatchi Online are encouraged to set up their own pages. While it appears that in order to compete, all Pinterest would have to do is simply add several classes of subcategories to its different themes, however in a world where there is a strict hierarchy in the form of taxonomies as well as a reliance on the individual users to classify the artwork, many problems arise. It is often difficult to find an item you are looking for when visiting a grocery store even when you know the general area that something such as flour will be located, however if you can imagine a warehouse full of brown cardboard boxes containing all of the items found in a typical grocery store, unsorted and marked with many different languages, it could be weeks before you stumble across a box containing flour.
Given that a recent scan of Pictify unearthed this image under street art, it will be interesting to see how things develop.
The recent press release from Saatchi regarding Pictify
We hope you’ve had a chance to look at the new platform for sharing art that
launched recently called Pictify, developed by the team that helped us create
Many thousands of art works have been posted by people all over the world, creating
their albums of favourite art, new and classic artworks of all kinds, for others to
You can now sign in using Facebook and share your Pictify posts with all your
Facebook friends; and there are new Pictify buttons which you can add on your
browser to make it easier to upload images on to Pictify. You can also add Pictify
buttons on your website for people to share your artworks with a huge audience.