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Art by the Meter

"Snake" by Gunjyo

We are all used to buying cloth and even space by the meter. But art by the meter? Tokyo based art gallery ART-Meter is making it a success.

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By selling art by the meter, ART-Meter is opening up the Japanese art market to both artists and art lovers.

“It is all about finding your own rhythm in life,” explains Kazuko Tomita, manager of Art-Meter. “Being a full-time artist is unrealistic these days. Many people who want to make art, but work full-time, have limited time for art.”

ART-Meter,” she continues, “lets these creators make art at their own pace with no time limits. It gives people who wouldn’t normally have the means to display their work an outlet for showing it.”

This allows ART-Meter to feature artists from all walks of life. Anyone can join explains Tomita. Any level, age, nationality or gender is accepted, as long as the creator resides in Japan. As a result, ART-Meter now represents nearly 3,000 artists.


ART-Meter’s friendly staff welcome all creators

To make the company’s surprising concept work, ART-Meter applies two golden rules. It sells only flat art like paintings, sketches, or anything else on paper or canvas, and all artists must start at the same price level.

ART-Meter has organized its system into five pricing levels. At level one, a square centimeter is priced at 5 yen (about 5 US cents). So a piece that measures 10 by 10 centimeters fetches 500 yen (a little over 5 dollars).

Artists who have sold a total of 2,000 square centimeters move to level two. At this level, the artist may add 1 or 2 yen to the square centimeter price. To move to the next level and add another 1 or 2 yen, they need to sell another 2,000 square centimeters.

This process continues all the way to level five, at which time the artists can choose their own price per square centimeter. Surprisingly, even with many artists at level five, prices are generally very modest. Most prices actually run between just 5 and 8 yen per square centimeter.

Detail of ART-Meter Site
A detail of the ART-Meter Site shows the gallery’s huge variety

This very democratic approach to selling art creates opportunities for creators who may otherwise have few chances. “ART-Meter is a good stepping stone for artists looking to get some publicity and move to the next step,” says Tomita. Most move to bigger art galleries or end up doing collaborations with other artists.

“Art should be fun,” she says. “It shouldn’t be an experience only meant for museums. We want art in your life and in your house, on a personal level. Even if only one person likes your picture, it is great to know that one person appreciates your art. That is what’s important.”

If you are in the market for undiscovered artists, visit the ART-Meter website or visit their brick and mortar store in Tokyo’s trendy Jiyugaoka. Interested in joining? Japan based artists can sign up for free (Japanese explanations only).

ART-Meter will be at the Tokyo design Festa vol. 31 held on May 15th and 16th, 2010. If you are in Tokyo be sure to visit and stop by their booth!

Design Festa Vol 31

Top Image: Detail of “Snake” by Gunjyo (the measure tape is not on the original)

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Comment (日本語もOK)

So interesting…I like the idea.

srokama
May 14, 2010 (2567 days ago)

Thank you Srokama! It is a neat idea! I’m hoping they’ll add more than 2D art to their site.

Sierra
May 14, 2010 (2567 days ago)

I guess that non-flat art, like pottery and sculptures, could potentially be sold by volume, priced 10 by 10 by 10 centimeters.

Kjeld Duits
May 15, 2010 (2566 days ago)

this is so cool! A new way of appreciating art =)

ayara
Jun 8, 2010 (2542 days ago)

What a fabulous idea! As a textile artist (and not Japanese) I couldn’t take advantage of this, but maybe us Europeans will pick up the idea soon.

Guerilla Embroidery
Sep 6, 2010 (2452 days ago)

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http://www.japanesestreets.com/reports/923/art-by-the-meter
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