Mozumbo: less is more

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Morgan Sizer

While many online art platforms are anything but choosy in the work they offer for sale, one new business is bucking the trend by tightly curating its exhibitors.

Mozumbo is an online fine arts gallery and digital consultancy that guides global art collectors through the evolving online landscape while providing a curated gallery space of exceptional pieces. Its founders have consciously chosen to eschew a scaling model commonly adopted by online platforms as it intends to limit the number of artists represented to fewer than forty.

“People talk about online galleries ‘democratizing’ the art world – a term I am personally very uncomfortable with,” says Mozumbo co-founder Morgan Sizer. “As we have witnessed in the music industry, the internet has provided a platform to enable anyone to create an online presence and distribute their creative output.

“In my opinion, there are two problems which arise out of this – firstly, customers become overwhelmed with choice, and secondly, to be blunt, good art gets diluted by a flood of mediocre and bad art, making the search for good works increasingly difficult. Choice is good, but too much choice can be paralysing.”

The company believes that the decision to operate as a niche player in the online art market allows it to effectively grow and maintain strong relationships with represented artists, and continue to uphold curatorial integrity for collectors.

Sizer explains: “We feel that we cannot develop meaningful artist careers if we spread our resources across too many artist partners. Secondly, our business is built on the premise that we maintain a strict curatorial standard – I don’t believe we can maintain this curatorial focus with more than forty artists represented.

“In terms of selection, we look for serious artists whose work we believe fits within our curatorial theme – that is work which demands a rigorous process, be it conceptual, technical or time-consuming.”

Sizer says his customers are international collectors overwhelmed by the choice of online artwork, who are aligned with Mozumbo’s curatorial philosophy.

“Many online galleries operate as an open platform to allow artists to showcase their art to as wide an audience as possible. We don’t want to be everything to everyone,” he says.

“Our focus is on working with a select number of artists in creating an intimate and informed art discovery experience for art buyers, by building a technology-based platform to enable richer artist/audience engagement. We have a number of site enhancements in the pipeline which will move us toward realizing this goal.”

Hiscox’s recent report on the art market highlighted the fact that art collectors are becoming increasingly confident in buying art online, sight unseen. Sizer expects this trend to persist, and sees the online art market as an exciting space in which to participate.

“It’s fairly new, with no one single solution to effectively address online art buyers’ needs,” he says. “Within this context, an array of opportunities exist for artists and art sites to figure out innovative ways to present their work to new audiences. “

With this in mind, Mozumbo is also a digital consultancy that aims to help artists present and promote their work online.

“Though there is an increasing awareness by artists that having an online presence is important, simply having an artist website is not enough,” he says.  “There are 800 million websites on the internet – having a website is the very first step toward effectively promoting an artist’s work online.

“That’s where we step in – within the very fluid online environment, we assist artists in developing the online commercial and promotional parts of their business so that they can focus on creating great work.”