Artist Molly Herman, whose art was featured in “Still Alice” starring Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart, is among the artists on Curina, a high-end art subscription service.
While furniture as a service has caught on in recent years – think companies like The Everset and Fernish that offer rental terms for furniture and home décor items – most have always viewed high end art as something of a personal investment.
One New York-based company is working to change that, offering product from area artists for limited engagements. Curina was started two years ago by a Mio Asatani and Undran Tserendorj while they attended Columbia University’s business school and offers its customers one-of-a-kind works of art via subscriptions. They liken Curina’s model to Rent the Runway for fine art.
Asatani said when she moved to New York from Japan, she lived in an apartment with a lot of blank, white walls and missed the personal touches that art can bring.
“I wanted one-of-a-kind art, not poster art or art from big box stores. Galleries weren’t interested in talking to me because I was unable to afford pieces,” Asatani told Home Accents Today. “This personal experience drove me to think of ways to make original art more affordable and accessible. Even though there are so many artists in New York, there’s no way to connect with the artists and they’re struggling to get exposure. They want to get the art out of their studios.”
Asatani said the price points offered by Curina are $38, $88 and $148 per month per piece of artwork, with an option to buy at the end of the lease. She said the model is aimed at two particular consumer bases.
“One group is really interested in purchasing the artwork after a few months of rental. They’re really the ones who want to try before they buy,” she said. “The second group of people are typical millennials – they’re business professionals who sign a one- or two-year lease and don’t want to own artwork but want to enjoy it for as short or as long as they want. They would rent an artwork for one year or two years, the duration of the lease.”
There are also applications that interior designers could find useful as well, such as using the art in the space for portfolio photography. Asatani noted that Curina could also have applications for real estate stagers who need finishing touches. Also, by visiting art fairs, open studios and heavily perusing platforms such as Instagram to bring undiscovered artists to the fore via product offerings and videos on the website, Asatani said Curina almost acts as a sort of talent agency.
Curina is currently being operated out of a Columbia University-based business incubator program and is one of the few startups there to receive a substantial amount of funding. A pre-seed round of funding was completed in the fall with another round planned for early this year. Asatani said as Curina continues to grow and develop, the next steps are vital for ensuring it sustains its early successes.
“We’re going to be looking at a new group of artists to have more art to have more of a collection that’s enticing to a young consumer as well as having enough inventory for businesses we’re partnering with,” she said. “We’re looking for real estate companies and furniture rental companies that we could partner with. We’re starting to establish ourselves as a brand that champions and empowers the local artists from Brooklyn. We can even look at areas outside of Brooklyn to scale the company.”