It was hardly a surprise to the art world when Eyestorm, the online and offline retailer of multiples, announced that it had appointed David Ross, former director of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) as non-executive chairman of its board. The press had already amply reported his precipitate departure from the museum late in the summer, to join Eyestorm.
What is new, explained Mr Ross to The Art Newspaper, "is that previously I was on the board, now I have accepted the job as chairman. I am looking forward to guiding the company in its future strategy".
The strategy will continue, according to Mr Ross, "the same direction the company already started taking eight to nine months ago, when there was an imbalance between e-commerce and retail." This means that the firm will be selling less over the internet and more through "third-party partnerships", through deals signed with retailers, including Conran and other furniture stores. These should be the key to the profitability of the company, which has still to make money despite its high profile. "The current plan is to go into profit in spring 2002," said Mr Ross."We are trying to find ways in which artists can be supported and encouraged, and a direct way for them to side step the art world," he said. "This is wonderfully democratic, it is moving artists outside the circle of those who can afford original art. We are also putting our artists into relationships with the worlds of advertising and communications.
Eyestorm sells limited editions of photographs, sculpture and paintings, made in with a variety of “new high-tech processes”, most of which are basically photographic reproductions, by a stable of artists, which includes household names such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, and lesser-known ones. It also sells reproductions of photographs by Magnum photographers.