Berlin is a city obsessed with art, and that very much includes photography. And ARTFLAKES, a marketplace for artists to sell their images as prints, is the latest to take advantage of that, with Thursday’s launch of its integration with Instagram.
Users can now instantly put their Instagram pictures up for sale from their smartphones, through the nifty feature of tagging them with #af or #artflakes after uploading. Purchased images are then printed by ARTFLAKES, and mailed to the buyer.
The work of co-founders Niklas Bolle and Mathias Fiedler, and backed by the IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, the site has enjoyed success since launching in November 2010, but has up till now been aimed at professional artists and photographers. Nearly 40,000 use the site as a marketplace, with 620,000 images for sale. The company has shipped to nearly 180 countries, and even provided 20 prints for the Bundeswehr cafeteria in Camp Marmal, Afghanistan.
This international trend is reflected in its business model. There are two workshops where pictures are printed in Germany, and one in LA to cope with the business emanating from the US – one third of all orders. Mathias said: “As the business grows, we are going to try following the markets with our workshops.”
The idea for the business came when Niklas was working in a gallery in Leipzig. “People used to come and say, ‘oh you must sell prints.’ At that time the technology was just coming out, so I founded a business.” Similarly, the latest move is a response to more recent technological advances. Niklas added: “The smartphone is a massively growing part of the photography business, we want to open up this market.”
With the Instagram filters, it is much easier to make pictures look better, and now it’s easier to have physical proof of your art – although Instagram prints will be limited to gallery size; 30cm x 30cm.
There are other similar services which have already integrated with Instagram – the main competition in the US, Instacanvas and Instant Canvas, have already gone down this route – but the ARTFLAKES team hope their hashtag feature will provide a simpler means to share pictures.