Since the emergence of COVID-19, electronic galleries are becoming increasingly more desired. Loupe was ahead of the curve in the digital age, creating an online art experience that may change the course of art viewing forever.
In today’s world, most of what we enjoy–music, films, TV shows, even books–can be seamlessly streamed across all our devices. Why should viewing art be any different? Enter Loupe: the world’s first streaming electronic gallery. Loupe is a free app on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Android TV and can be accessed on the web at loupeart.com. With Loupe, you can stream art by the artist’s name, by color scheme, or via curated channels—from the tranquil to psychedelic. The motion arts channel draws in the viewer with an array of dynamic short video pieces. While streaming, the screen slowly pans over the details of the piece while a menu allows the user to read more information on the art and artist.
If you’re struck by a particular piece, you can buy prints directly from your screen. Now, growing your own art collection is as easy as buying movies from pay-per-view. New work is added frequently; Loupe’s channels are under constant revision to keep the experience fresh. Loupe lets you customize your viewing experience by changing the pace of the artwork and enabling safe streaming options so only work and family-appropriate art appears.
For peak ambiance, pair Loupe with music. Loupe’s electronic galleries are as carefully curated as their art and are available on Spotify. The dynamic platform is utilized to reinvigorate liminal spaces like waiting rooms, airports, and hotels. Anywhere you can put an LED screen, you can have an entire, ever-changing gallery experience.
Music & Art: The Perfect Pairing
Founder and CEO Dot Bustelo worked for Apple as part of the team that developed a software platform for the creation, recording, and mixing of music. “I became fascinated with the building of tools for creating and experiencing creativity, the intersection, and evolution of artists and technology,” said Bustelo. Bustelo sought to pair a dynamic visual component with music to bring another layer of atmosphere to a space. “Streaming in your home compliments what you’re doing . . . For me, it creates a heightened state of inspiration and elevation of my environment. It adds an energy that moves throughout the space that I find both calming and invigorating. It’s a continual sense of something ‘new’ that helps me think new thoughts,” she said.
Loupe is pioneering a new frontier where the art world and technology meet. And for those who may not live near galleries—not to mention those of us currently quarantined in our homes—Loupe makes experiencing art more accessible than ever. Loupe isn’t out to replace museums and galleries. It is an entirely different, complementary experience. “I don’t think of it as changing how we encounter art, more so expanding how we can experience art,” Bustelo said. “Just as streaming music doesn’t strive to replace going to a concert. Music lovers like myself can’t get to a live show or see our favorite bands anywhere near as often as we’d like. Streaming allows me to enjoy my favorite musicians and perpetually discover new music.”
While there’s a unique elegance to a museum or gallery, it’s not always possible to control all the variables of your viewing experience. With Loupe, you get to decide on, and change, the context in which you view a piece. Not only does Loupe bring accessibility to the art world, but it also gives artists exposure to a growing audience. “As the number of artists accepted onto Loupe increases and more people are streaming Loupe, we will be able to offer an even more customizable experience, in much the same way that we all use Netflix and Amazon Prime differently,” Bustelo said.
A Global Reach
Netflix made the work of filmmakers from around the world accessible to anyone with an internet connection. The accessibility of a new audience to the art world is one of the elements of Loupe that excites Rachel White, the electronic gallery’s chief experience officer, the most. “I think the ability to experience art in this novel manner allows for ‘non-art world’ audiences to discover, enjoy, and potentially buy thousands of pieces of art that they otherwise may never encounter,” said White.
The opportunity for people across the world to engage with artwork in immersive electronic galleries without having to leave the couch excites artists as well. According to Loupe’s curator, Nicole Kutz, the platform serves the kind of worldwide, instant exposure that is becoming the new normal for artists in the digital age. “The digital age has transformed not only how we view art, but also how artists create. I think this became especially true with the rise of Instagram as an artistic outlet,” said Kutz.
Discover New Artists With Electronic Galleries
While displaying and selling art online is no new concept, she finds that it is more common for people to view art through scrolling rather than in museums or galleries. Just as the word ‘loupe’ shares its meaning across several languages, the platform’s popularity translates around the world. Loupe’s global reach not only extends to users but to artists from around the world, from Sao Paulo to Shanghai. “Loupe provides a unique opportunity for underrepresented artists to have their work displayed in a variety of settings and seen by users throughout the world,” Kutz said. “I focus my outreach on artists that are either emerging or mid-career, as well as artists based outside of the United States. I strive for our roster to be as global as our users. I think it is important to see all ethnicities, backgrounds, and cultures interspersed throughout the channels.”
Despite Loupe’s kaleidoscopic catalog, there is a “Loupe edge,” as Kutz calls it, which creates a moody yet inviting atmosphere. “Art generates an experience the moment it is conceived, as the artist creates with their own rhythm. Loupe harnesses that rhythm by imbuing our lives with art, immersing our living spaces with creative energy and flow,” White said. According to Bustelo, Loupe’s vision hasn’t strayed from its original course. While technologies and partnerships may evolve, at Loupe’s center is the relationship between the user and their experience with the art on their screen. “Ultimately the goal is to create a beautiful visual art experience that can be enjoyed in every home, in any public space—anywhere with an available screen,” White said.
Editor’s Note: Loupe is now available for free on Pluto TV under Explore (Channel #694) and to Comcast Xfinity Flex & X1 users in “Apps” under “Life at Home” (you can also say “Loupe” into the Xfinity Voice Remote).