Bluethumb's Mission is getting art on walls

Bluethumb’s Mission: Why We Exist

Bluethumb's Mission: George and Edward from Bluethumb

On a mission: brothers and Bluethumb Co-Founders George and Edward Hartley.

Who We Are

George here (on the left) and this is my brother Edward. I thought you might like to know why Bluethumb exists.

Two of my close friends are artists. Our dad was a painter (turned accountant). In 2011, they had nowhere to sell their art online. If you were a musician, writer, designer or illustrator, you could manage your craft and your career yourself online. But not as a fine artist. So my brother Ed, friend Phil and I set out on a journey to change that.

We are now Australia’s largest marketplace for original fine art, and what an amazing, tough, fun journey it’s been to build. We’ve grown by helping artists be successful artists.

Bluethumb’s Mission and Milestones

Bluethumb’s mission is literally:

Bluethumb's mission

Bluethumb’s mission is help artists move art from their studios to collectors’ walls.

Simple right? We try to build the best tools for artists to be successful online. We’ve hit a bunch of great milestones along the way: representing 10,000 of Australia’s best artists; 15,000 original artworks sold; 100 artists who’ve been able to quit their jobs to be full-time on their craft. It’s not easy building a start up, but compared to being a career artist, we have it easier.

Continuing Our Mission

In 2017 we were growing rapidly and faced a tough choice: launch outside Australia, or build and launch a remote art centre program to bring in some of Australia’s best Indigenous artists. We chose the latter.

This was a choice where we think the long term impact of doing something good will pay dividends. Australian art has an unbroken 60,000 year history. Many of our most revered artists are Indigenous and in remote communities art sales are often the only source of earning income. But these communities have only been able to sell art to visitors who can make it to these remote places, through fine art galleries or at art fairs.

We’re doing what we can to improve this. As I write this, we have over a quarter of Australia’s remote Indigenous art centres listing their artists with us.

Bluethumb's Mission: Iluwanti Ken receiving her Bluethumb Art Prize Award

Iluwanti Ken with her Bluethumb Art Prize Award, which she received for her birds nest basket.

Indigenous art sales on Bluethumb now make up a significant percentage of total sales, from a base of almost nothing two years ago. Jimmy Donegan from Ninuku and Papalankutja art centres was a prize winner in our 2017 Bluethumb Art Prize, as was Ilawanti Ken of Tjampi Desert Weavers with her wild grass and feather basket in 2018. Most importantly, it’s fantastic to be able to give remote, Indigenous artists a way to sell their artwork across Australia.

Why We Love Our Mission

My favourite part of what we do is spending all day with friendly, passionate people building something worthwhile to support Australian artists. And we only get to do it because of people like you. I’m so grateful you found us.

Here’s to the next 7 years of celebrating Australian art! Check out the newest art on Bluethumb.

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