Where art is concerned, the pursuit of freedom persists—freedom of expression, freedom of thought, the freedom to create. But what about freedom of space? Well, that’s where Loupe Art comes in.
Loupe Art Home Screen 2017. Image: Supplied.
Loupe Art is a visual art streaming experience. It’s hard to define it as being just one thing—an app, a website, a virtual gallery—but what can be said with certainly, is that it provides an innovative way to consume, appreciate, and admire art.
The app, which is the number one ranked lifestyle app in thirty-five countries, employs a similar technology to that of music streaming services Pandora and Spotify. Designed to showcase an infinite array of stunning visuals alongside your streaming music platforms, Loupe Art creates a virtual ambience that can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection.
Loupe Art Speed Slider. Image: Supplied.
By creating an easy to use way for consumers to stream cutting edge contemporary art right into their homes, Loupe Art is not only transforming the way we interact with art—but also the way we buy it. Original art and fine art prints of a select variety of artists featured on the app are also available for sale.
The Loupe app v2.0, which launches this week, provides users with even more channels than before, featuring works in everything from photography to street and fine art, by both emerging and established artists. Each Loupe channel can be personalised to stream by colour, artist, or by a curated theme, with the new version of the app also allowing users to customise streaming speed and edit channels for the home or workplace environments.
Loupe Art Detail Overlay. Image: Supplied.
Using Loupe Art is ridiculously easy. The interface is user-friendly, the controls and customisation features are simple to understand, and all it takes is a couple of minutes gazing at the stunning visuals flitting around your screen to appreciate the appeal of the app—and why it’s just so popular.
I had the opportunity to chat with Loupe Art CEO and Founder Dot Bustelo recently about the app, technology, and all things art:
Loupe Founder and CEO Dot Bustelo. Image: Supplied.
Outlet Magazine: To start with, explain to us what Loupe Art is.
Dot Bustelo: Loupe streams artwork from around the globe with a connected marketplace. We provide an experience of atmosphere-enhancing visuals in residential, commercial and public settings, allowing users to purchase artwork (prints and originals) as well as art-focused businesses to guest-curate collections from their own galleries, festivals, museums and more.
Outlet: How did the app come to be?
DB: I worked at Apple for many years on the Worldwide Product Marketing Team. My role was to travel around the country introducing Apple’s professional music software, and music production techniques to world touring bands, DJ’s and producers. I am also a long-time electronic music producer myself and started my career in music equipment sales. The vision of Loupe was born while working in the music industry, spending long hours in recording studios, and constantly looking for visual inspiration to support the creative energy in the room.
I began thinking about what the over 150 million people streaming music at home were doing with their TVs. And I thought about the technology of streaming music, which has become the accepted norm. Why not apply this technology to visual art?
Outlet: Is there a significance behind the name?
DB: Technically, a “loupe” is a hand-held magnifying glass used by photographers, jewellers and geologists to look more closely at their work. There is also the double entendre. When you use the app, either web streaming or on your Apple TV, you are immediately immersed in these infinite ‘loupes” of streaming art.
‘Metallic Red Passion #3’, Daria Pletneva (ARTI) / Loupe Art. All Rights Reserved.
Outlet: What sets Loupe Art apart from other art-focused apps?
DB: Loupe has completely revolutionised the way people consume and purchase art, by allowing them to enjoy art digitally first in their homes and by streamlining the art buying process. Because of this, Loupe has outmatched its competitors and has reached #1 Lifestyle App on Apple TV in 35 countries (and is in the top ten in 75 countries!)
Outlet: How do you select the artists and artwork featured on the app?
DB: Channels can be guest curated by partners such as galleries, festivals, and museums. In addition, our team of curators are experts at selecting visually arresting art from most established and emerging designers in all mediums, making sure that Loupe always has something for the user to discover. That’s why Loupe user sessions are on average over two hours long!
Outlet: Who are some of the people, apart from yourself, who help to run, maintain, and curate the app?
DB: Loupe’s managing partner Karrie Bran, owner of The Kagency, a New York-based events company representing 400 venues and a client list of luxury brands, has been an indispensable partner on Loupe’s journey. Our core team of curators, product designers and developers is also extraordinary—everyone is incredibly tuned in and creative—and has been integral in helping the vision and brand of Loupe come to life.
‘Lamb’, Chip Haggerty / Loupe Art. All Rights Reserved.
Outlet: How do you balance commercialisation with appreciation? Or do they feed into one another?
DB: Loupe at its core is a response to commercialization—to the noise and oversaturation of digital content surrounding us today. By placing the Loupe artwork in carefully-designed streams within our unique interface, we’ve created a singular experience of tranquillity, regardless of how diverse sometimes edgy in style and genre the artwork is.
Outlet: How do you bridge that sensorial want art inspires to touch, see, and feel, with the virtual presentation of art?
DB: With Loupe, you get the best of both worlds. The user can stream a gallery of their favourite pieces, and if that sensory need is unavoidable, he or she can purchase a print or original through Loupe and have it delivered right to their door. Loupe seamlessly combines the virtual and physical consumption of art in an all-new, groundbreaking way. By streaming the artwork on a 4K TV right in your living room, you can have an intimate, sensory experience with it. You can see and feel how well Loupe blends directly with your home décor, ambience and colour schemes in real time.
Outlet: How do you think the app will impact the way we consume and appreciate art? And how do you hope consumers and audiences will interact with the app?
DB: I want Loupe to be an essential part of how people experience art. Hearing about people walking into a faraway hotel, cocktail lounge, airport terminal or other memorable space and seeing extraordinary art streaming on ultra-thin LED displays and other ubiquitous surfaces—a picture that they can’t get out of their mind—that is what I want Loupe to accomplish. They smile retelling the moment they first caught a glimpse of Loupe, the music that was playing, the company they were with… the experience of Loupe. They return home and continue to enjoy Loupe with their friends and family, building infinitely customizable playlists of visual art.
We are applying streaming technology to visual art so people can be as immersed in art as we are with music. I hope to expand the physical experience of great art–like that first visit to the Louvre–to infinite physical locations, times of day, and moods.
‘Memory’, Chris Alvanas / Loupe Art. All Rights Reserved.
Outlet: Has any art featured on Loupe Art made it into your own collection?
DB: Absolutely. Works by DESOTO, Khalilah Birdsong, James Porto, Nicole Kutz, Austin Phelps and Sascha Dean Biyan. I have my eye on an Elena Vizerskaya, Niki Zarrabi, and Michele Oppenheimer. It’s such a fascinating and personal experience to observe what art moves me to want to live with it when I see it appear on a 55” TV screen in the privacy of my home.
Outlet: Are there plans to develop the app even further or to add additional features? And if so, how and what?
DB: We are about to launch v2.0 of Loupe, which will add more streaming options such as stream by colour and artist. Additionally, the new version will allow users to customise their stream speed and edit channels to fit them to different environments, with “Safe Stream” filtering artwork appropriate for the family and workplace. These new features offer unlimited possibilities for the home, the office, and present a mesmerising way for users to discover new artwork.
Outlet: What does the future hold for Loupe Art?
DB: By launching on Apple TV, we were able to enter global markets at launch. Apple populates all Apple TV App Stores around the world with our service.
We plan to expand our sponsored art channels, installations, events and marketplace sales into Europe and other global markets.
Loupe launched the paid guest-curated channel program in 2017, allowing museums, galleries, art festivals and other art-centric business to have a channel on our platform. A stunning channel launched in January by New York Art Gallery/Art Installation Services company ARTI.NYC. Talks are underway with many other exciting art-centric brands and partners who see the opportunity to be part of a new global art platform.
‘The Seer’, Alea Hurst / Loupe Art. All Rights Reserved.
Many thanks to Dot for taking the time to chat with us.
If you’d like to learn more information about Loupe Art or how to use it, head on over to loupeart.com.