Batistin and Ama, Galerie XYZ, the virtual art gallery to reinvent the art market. Portrait

Batistin and Ama are the co-founders of Galerie XYZ. Artists for many years, they have both experienced the difficulty of making a place for themselves in a very closed and codified art market. Galerie XYZ has positioned itself as a new player to shake up the codes of art on its own scale and help independent artists. Thus, from its format, it does nothing like the others, since it exists only online. An original concept that puts the artist back at the heart of the marketing process, to give him back the power over his art.

Before Gallery XYZ, the birth of Batistin and Ama

Batistin is none other than the artist name of Eric CAMINADE, president of the artistic association CHEZ XYZ, creator of the XYZ Gallery. Born in Agen, Batistin was a professional fisherman. Enrolled in the Merchant Navy, in Saint-Jean de Luz in the Basque Country, he worked for five years, on small fishing units, traditional boats, during the 90s. He was already a painter. Practicing his art for 30 years, Eric CAMINADE lives to this day from his work. Refusing to go through intermediaries, too expensive while little invested, he markets his works directly to companies, individuals, or by internet. In addition to painting, Batistin is also a woodcarver and writer. He is the author of committed articles, poems, or the book La mère partie.

For her part, Ama, whose real name is Patricia KOHN, has been an artist for nearly ten years. 9 years ago, she met Eric in central France, by chance. At that time, Ama ran his own restaurant and therefore lived a very different life from that of today’s artist. The meeting with Batistin is a click, a revelation. She finally lets express an artist appetite never explored and changes her life to become a sculptor on metal.

Ama then finds himself confronted with the same problems as many artists.

It was really very complicated to sell. For me, it was brand new. When you are a restaurateur, the people who push the door come to consume. The clientele is acquired. When you’re an artist, people approach the activity in a different way. They visit, are curious, but do not necessarily come to buy. You have to talk about yourself, answer their questions, sometimes a little intrusive. I really wasn’t used to that way of doing things.

Patricia KOHN, known as Ama, co-founder of Galerie XYZ
peace in the world
Batistin and his painting “Peace in the World”

Sus to intermediaries, place to the art of the producer to the consumer

To make a living from his art, Ama opened up to the habits and customs of the art market. She now speaks quite easily with people, including via the internet.

To reach a wider clientele, I sought to recreate the physical relationship via digital. This is the only way to make sales to customers who are not nearby, and without going through intermediaries.

Patricia KOHN, known as Ama

However, she and Batistin, like most artists, are constantly solicited by companies such as galleries or art exhibitors. They announce that they can present their work, for a fee. From experience, few of these solicitations bear fruit, with companies then providing little or no follow-up. These unfortunate experiences then led to a fed up in the two artists.

The short circuit, which values the direct relationship between the producer and the consumer, has the wind in its sails. The French support this new way of buying, more ethical and advantageous for all. But what happens to art in all this? Why in this new world, wanted by all the supporters of a better life, the artist still struggles to find his place?

Eric CAMINADE, known as Batistin, co-founder of Galerie XYZ

Together, Eric CAMINADE and Patricia KOHN launch Galerie XYZ. They then propose to discover, after the peasant basket, the Cultural Basket.

Galerie XYZ, a platform for expression and visibility for artists

With Galerie XYZ, Batistin and Ama seek to ensure that artists find their place in society, like the baker or any merchant. They then develop a solution to allow artists to communicate about their work, in a short circuit, adapted to the art world. The objective: to promote artists and the development of a reasoned and sensitive investment.

Galerie XYZ then presents itself in the form of a showcase website, offering artists the opportunity to benefit from a virtual art gallery. Thus, everyone manages their own gallery. The artists have their own domain name, are not restricted in the quantity of works exhibited and benefit from the support of the association. As part of Galerie XYZ, Ama is in charge of the animation of social networks and the relationship with artists.

ama batistin artists co-founders gallery xyz
Ama and Batistin, co-founders of Galerie XYZ

I help them understand the association and the art world. In reality, artists often make a total confusion between the art market and the artistic approach. They are also regularly little aware of how to operate on social networks.

Patricia KOHN, known as Ama, co-founder of Galerie XYZ

In addition to visibility on the platform and on social networks, artists are also put in touch with partners. Among them are price distributors, the publisher of the quotation dictionary, or a digital art printer…

Some features of the XYZ Virtual Gallery are open access. After creating his account, an artist can then access the categories “exhibition” and “contest” in particular. He also has the possibility to feed his own blog to write articles and work on his SEO on search engines.

The artists in our situation are very numerous. Some began to want to join us in our approach, so we decided to set up the association to be able to offer it to all artists in France, or even the world, to help them present their art, sell it.

Partners of choice who contribute to the value of the virtual gallery

The whole concept of Galerie XYZ is based on benevolent and respectful exchanges of artists. The association therefore develops partnerships with companies to facilitate the sale of the works of art of the member artists.

She works in particular with the organization COLLECTIONISM, an organization specializing in the sale of works of art under lease. If the concept of leasing is known, it remains to this day not widespread among artists. With this bank, a buyer can go through leasing to get a work of art. This is particularly interesting for a company, because the amount of monthly instalments can pass into overhead costs for accounting. It is therefore deductible from the taxable amount.

Galerie XYZ also collaborates with the reproducer “Impression d’images”. As part of its partnership with the virtual gallery, artists benefit from an offer adapted to their scale. Thus, when they make a sale, they pay the printer who prints individually and on demand, rather than in batches.

Another partner of choice, the Akoun Dictionary, art quotation dictionary. Thus, the association covers 30% of the quotation costs to be in the dictionary.

The XYZ Gallery also builds relationships with partners who offer their services or make them accessible at discounted prices. The art magazine, Art and Design, offers a page of visibility or an exhibition during the competitions. Visimuz, publisher of digital art books, offers artists to expand their library of books at very affordable prices. Or theMuseum of Fine Arts of Bordeaux,which provides artists with tickets to the museum.

metal sculpture ama patricia kohn co-founder gallery xyz
Metal sculptures by artist Ama, co-founder of Galerie XYZ

Galerie XYZ, an economic balance against a backdrop of solidarity

Conceived as an association, Galerie XYZ is open to artists who join it. Anxious to offer an affordable solution for all, far from traditional galleries, Batistin and Ama have voluntarily opted for a derisory contribution. Member artists then access the gallery for an annual fee of €30.

A lot of artists are really very fair financially. However, there was no question of making it free. As much to give a minimum of credibility to the gallery, as out of respect for the project and our work.

With this approach, the two co-founders do not seek of course to make profits but to cover the costs incurred by the activity of the site. Domain names, artists’ business cards, posters, service provider for the maintenance of the site…

gallery xyz virtual cultural basket
Galerie XYZ, the cultural basket in the form of a virtual art gallery

To supplement the turnover of the contributions, the Galerie.XYZ also offers companies to participate in the form of sponsorship. Thus, in return for a donation of 120 euros / year, they benefit from an advertising display on the website. Seeking to bring together companies and artists, the gallery allows companies to support the artist of their choice.

Also, unlike art galleries, Galerie XYZ does not take commission on sales. It is intended to be a vector of visibility for artists, but not an intermediary. Therefore, it does not offer the sale of works of art via the website. A “buy” button is available but it generates a contact email between the potential buyer and the artist.

Proposing a marketplace system, with online sales, would pose different concerns. The main thing is that it would cost much more to set up and maintain. As a result, we would be forced to charge more for the membership fee, which goes against the concept.

Give echo to the initiative, just the right kind

Thanks to the concept of the virtual gallery, the association was able to continue its activity despite Covid-19. Ama explains that they do not suffer the closure of exhibition spaces like traditional art galleries. On the contrary, as the platform is made to facilitate online contact, she notes an increase in exchanges.

To continue its development and continue to offer new marketing solutions,Galerie XYZ does not hesitate to go off the beaten track. Thus Batistin and Ama are now working on the tokenization of works of art. A very recent market, still confidential, but already in full expansion. Which consists of buying works of art or parts of works of art with virtual currency (Ethereum).

In this way, buyers do not necessarily own the entire work, but open the art market to a form of shareholding. The approach is then less oriented towards art lovers, than for investors. A logic of speculation on the value of the work and the artist, with the aim of resale and surplus value.

To extend its influence and concern artists throughout France, Batistin and Ama are fore forelaborating links with partners throughout France. Recently, they began to turn to the Bordeaux region with a first contact for partnership: the Museum of Fine Arts of Bordeaux.

“When we are looking for a partner company, in addition to those on the site, we are looking above all for regional partners for local artists. This is a fairly recent initiative, so we still have a lot to do in this area.”

Installation in the Bordeaux region, the opportunity for a change of scale

Currently, Eric and Patricia live in the Alps. An installation that aimed to bring Ama closer to his family, but which poses significant difficulties on a daily basis, both for the XYZ gallery and for their personal lives.

Today, we have an hour’s drive from the mountains for the slightest trip. The first town is 50 km away. It’s very pretty and peaceful, but for everyday life, it’s extremely restrictive. We want to move for energy in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It’s much easier to get around and it’s a setting that makes us want to.

An upcoming move to Nouvelle-Aquitaine is therefore to be expected. A clear break with their current way of life, but a return to the roots, especially for Eric CAMINADE, originally from Agen.

For my part, I have already had the opportunity to make a small incursion of three months on the Bassin d’Arcachon and Bordeaux. I fell in love with this region and I can’t wait to settle there.

Patricia KOHN, known as Ama

In addition, moving to a region that is easier to access should facilitate the development of Gallery XYZ. Ama and Batistin plan to make real exhibitions with local member artists to create a place of real contact. An experiment already tested in the Alps with an exposure for the benefit of an animal shelter. For each sale of artwork, a percentage was then donated for the animals.

To cultivate the difference with traditional art galleries and showrooms, Gallery XYZ should continue to take possession of unlikely locations. The opportunity to further enhance the brand image of partner companies, by humanizing them and associating them with artists.

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