London’s NFT galley matches traditional art with new collectors

Josh Sandhu and James Ryan’s venture into NFTs is bringing the bricks and mortar experience to an expanding market which has traditionally only been digital. Art-based NFTs have been part of the first wave of fast-appreciating values in the space, but NFT art galleries have generally only been online experiences. Until now that is.

Before the pandemic turned everything on its head, Sandhu purchased an empty London art space, turning it into an independent art advisory business. He followed this up with the opening of Quantus Gallery, which is actively advising clients on the NFT investment space. This includes how to buy NFTs using cryptocurrency and how you can install NFT-based artwork in your home.

The business is now estimated to be worth over £70m and was fielding over 6000 inquiries before it even formally started working with private clients. Its success in London, which already has a highly competitive art scene, is indicative of the growing appetite of ‘new wave’ investors in NFTs.

Virtual gallery tours inspired an NFT business

Sandhu told us that part of his inspiration came for setting up virtual tours of his traditional art gallery.

“I’ve always been involved in the crypto space, and I saw NFTs as another interesting use case,” Sandhu explained. “I like the non-fungibility of the tokens and the idea of using them within the art market. The market represented an immediate use case for them.”

In the middle of 2021, while considering the launch of a second gallery, he started looking more closely at NFTs and decided to buy some. He also noticed that a lot of traditional artists were asking about NFTs as a possible way of broadening their reach. Collectors and investors were also making enquiries.

“We are in the business of providing people with an experience of coming in to see art, so it just made sense,” Sandhu explained. “We are not just representing solely digital art here, NFTs can also be backed by a tangible asset. We can do all of that, and combine it with a whole networking, community and physical space which helps our clients get to know other collectors as well. A large collection acts as its own membership club.”

Crypto bear market will take away the hype

Obviously cryptocurrency is going through a tough time at the moment, and we asked Sandhu what he is seeing in the NFT space. Like some other market participants we have spoken to recently, he feels the turbulence in the market is a good thing. “There’s been a lot of nonsense polluting the space, a lot of negative press, and some of the prices have been largely hype-driven. The art market is secondary to this. We are seeing an influx of new artists keen on getting involved in NFTs and it helping us to reach a wider audience than we could have done before.”

The fine art market is starting to use NFTs as an effective way to promote traditional / legacy artists. NFTs are in effect acting in a similar manner to the OTC market for stocks. They help artists to raise funds and provide dealers and investors with an easier road map to follow. Bigger names in the market like Damien Hirst are getting involved.

Sandhu says he anticipates an explosion in this market, but new participants needs to proceed with caution and evaluate opportunities not just based on the artist but also the gallery that stands behind them. “A lot of bad projects have been saturating this market,” he says. “It’s hard to access the serious investment market now without a gallery. From our side, we are just working with represented artists.”

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