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Adding New Art into the Home and Office

January 18, 2017 by Meg Marshall0

2017 is well under way. Treat your home or office to some new life with some art from Partial Gallery. Online magazine called The Guardian reports on how some big international companies how by having art in the office boosts staff productivity.

“…being distracted at work is not always a bad thing. If the object of your distraction is a work of art, it can actually boost productivity, lower stress and increase wellbeing.” The Guardian

Partial Gallery, a Toronto based startup, is making artwork more accessible to everyone, and it doesn’t have to come at an extremely high price point either. We got the chance to chat with one of the co-founders, Tammy Yiu, to discuss this unique concept.

Q: What is Partial?

A: Partial is an art rental platform for local artists to connect with creative thinkers who want to bring original artwork into their homes or workspaces. Users can browse the catalogue and choose to rent-to-own or rent-and-rotate original artwork on their walls.

Q: When was the business started and why?

A: The idea came to me in 2013 when I lent a piece of art I had in storage to a friend. She had just moved to a condo, and while she was creative and independent, she just didn’t have access to the art she wanted. This got me thinking.

After many months of mulling over the idea, and eventually, doing some research into it led me to realize that there was a void in the art marketplace for people seeking quality original artwork for their spaces, but also minimal outlets for artists to share their work. The art market model was, for the most part, still very traditional.

We took the leap, and Partial was established in 2016.

Q: How many artists are represented at Partial and what types of art?

This piece of artwork is called “Pick Up Your Brush” by Carolanne Maclean. Photo is courtesy of Partial Gallery.

A: There are currently about 35 contemporary artists with work on Partial – some or more established on the Canadian art scene, while others are emerging talents. Their work spans across some different mediums including painting (naturally), wood, collage, and photography.

Q: What are some of the challenges you have faced with a startup?

A: Aside from the obvious ones (there never being enough time, or trying to move mountains on a budget), an unforeseen challenge has been trying to stay true to the original intent of Partial while still being open to outside feedback. It can be tempting to pivot for the purpose of more immediate revenue, and it can be difficult to opt to stick it out for a longer-term goal.

Another challenge that we were anticipating, but hadn’t anticipated to be such a journey, has been converting enthusiasm and interest into actual transactions. Spending money on art, and understanding art’s value, is one of the oldest concepts, yet is still a foreign concept for most of our market. Over time, it has been engrained in our minds that art is unaffordable and a luxury item, and we’re trying to change that thinking.

Q: What have some the successes been?

A: Some early successes have been the enthusiasm and active participation from the artist community. It is invigorating seeing how well-received the idea is by the local arts community, and it confirms our belief of Partial being a need for artists. Our recent partnership with Akin Collective, a collective of artists, further reinforced this.

As well, the positive response from people who first hear about the idea has been encouraging – it shows that there is the interest, and we just have to figure out how to tap into it.

Q: What resources or tools help you Partial succeed?

Sandra Brewster is the artist of the piece featured on this wall called “Dancing Girl”. Photo courtesy of Partial Gallery.

A: My co-founder Chris and I use Asana and Bootstrap, and we’ve found that the support of a few good mentors in both the startup and art world has also been very helpful. In the early months, I also sought out a couple of books and series on YouTube on the subject of startups.

Q: Why does art play such a large role in your life?

A: As a graphic designer by trade, I’ve always been interested in art and the opportunities around how to share that with people. Any form of self-expression – be it fashion, the food we choose to eat, and naturally, the art we’re partial to – is intriguing to me. As a child I enjoyed art, and now as an adult, am amazed by the courage and self-awareness it takes in artists to pursue their craft. If there is a way for to offer them a tool to share it with their community, and open up the world of art to more people, who knows how it might grow?

Spice up the office or home the next time a moment of inspiration is needed and turn to Partial and give the gift of art. And if the piece is meant to stay permanently, then the option to own it is there. Follow Partial on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see what great pieces are available.

Featured Image is courtesy of Partial Gallery. The photo features a piece of artwork by artist Carolanne Maclean. 


Meg Marshall

StartupTech Unleashed members and contributor! Meg is a startup enthusiast. Working closely with many businesses of all sizes, she clearly sees and appreciates the drive, passion, creativity, and motivation these entrepreneurs have. When she isn't chatting with inspiring people, she is exploring some of the city's tastiest restaurants or riding her horses.

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