So, I recently had the great fortune to sit down with Start-up Chile serial entrepreneur (and storyteller, as it turns out) Artur Maklyarevsky to talk about his recently launched startup, JuicyCanvas, where users can discover and customize art. It’s an innovative new platform that is taking contemporary art and customizing it by letting repressed creatives collaborate with artists to make truly unique pieces. Artur told me tales of New York art parties, overcoming personal struggles and where he finds his daily creative expressions. Here’s his inspirational story.
Tell us a little more about what inspired JuicyCanvas.
Our inspiration was twofold.
Back in NYC, during the late 90s and the early 2000s, I would throw pop-up painting parties where artists and non-artists alike would paint, side by side, on the same canvas. The melding of masters and hobbyists produced surprisingly fantastic pieces and a synergy that lies deep in the heart of JuicyCanvas.
But it wasn’t until visiting Buenos Aires, while working on my first startup, that I encountered what would be the catalyst for the JC concept. There, I had the idea to connect the local street artists with galleries in Brooklyn – but in a new way. Leveraging the power of technology, galleries would be able to ‘commission’ original works from stencil artists.
Although there was great interest on both the sides of supply and demand, the supply-chain model did not scale very well. Hence, JC was originally created to both solve those inefficiencies and, more importantly, to increase its direct reach to consumers and global artists. But that’s a moot point now.
Basically, I find the world lacking individual visual expression – which for the most part is due to the side effects of the industrial revolution and mass production. We aim to change that and return the “custom” back to “customer.”
What’s the greatest thing about JuicyCanvas?
We believe creative expression to be a primary requisite of happiness. Unfortunately, for most people, creativity is suppressed by career choice, family responsibility, or the contemporary urbanization and industrialization of society.
For tens of thousands of years, we have shared and sold custom-built products with each other. The Industrial Revolution, for all its benefits, also brought with it mass production and homogenization. The individual’s voice was snuffed out. We aim to bring back that voice and put ‘custom’ back into ‘customer’ by enabling the once passive consumer to engage in the fundamental act of creation.
JC’s appeal is that it gives buyers more than just the usual, passive pick-and-buy-a-product transaction.
With just a few simple clicks, it offers the user an experience: the chance to create art and become an artist (which for some might have been a lifelong dream).
For the first time in consumer art history, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” truly comes to life. “Non-artists” all over the world will now feel proud to show off their new collaborative artworks to their friends. Bold statements during dinner parties such as, “why yes… I made that piece there with this new artist I discovered from Buenos Aires,” and “oh, this is from my new summer t-shirt collection that I co-created ” will become commonplace.
JC makes this dream possible. If you think about it, the dream is what motivates people to buy feel-good items all the time: from clothes that make people imagine they look cool, to the sports car that makes people imagine they look successful, to the dream vacation that makes people feel adventurous, JC is in the same business – the dream-making business.
How has your experience been with Start-Up Chile?
It’s been extraordinary. There is nothing like moving to a foreign country to bring feeling of entrepreneurial adventure and gusto! You are literally forced to “Think Different.” And to top it off, being under one roof with 300 other startup founders from all over the world – feeding off of everyone’s drive – is exhilarating. SUP is like a sleep away camp for founders.
What is the coolest/most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
Coolest : You are on your own schedule. Hardest : Focusing, because multi-tasking is a constant.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Quit your day job. Move to a 2nd world country. Embrace Change. Stay Flexible.
If you could have lunch with one person, who would it be, what would you eat, and what would you talk about?
Steve Jobs. Oranges. Is the afterlife as well designed as it could be?
Biggest startup challenge?
“Crossing the Chasms” and finding the right VC.
Web App or site you couldn’t live without and why.
Google Analytics. Obvious reasons.
What’s your music-streaming site of choice, and what’s currently playing?
Dublab.com & SoundCloud. Currently : Ian Pooley.
Where can our readers reach out to you?
Daily Creative Inspiration?
Thanks, Artur! Check out JuicyCanvas to discover and customize your own piece of artwork. Cool startup, cool founder, and even cooler name.