Quintana Wins Fellowship From .406 Ventures Firm
Sophomore Founds Art Gallery Website
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 13:10
One can go to an art gallery and potentially purchase works by both respected and newly-emerging artists without leaving one’s room. That is the premise behind Quabblejack.com, an online art gallery startup project by Claudio Quintana, CSOM ’16.
Quintana recently received a two-year fellowship from .406 Ventures, a venture capital firm. “My understanding is that they were looking for people from the local startup ecosystem,” Quintana said. “Their mentorship is one of the things I am most looking forward to.”
During his fellowship, Quintana will be working on Quabblejack.com, a monthly art gallery competition for well-known and local artists, sculptors, and designers. Each month, there is a theme that the curators of the gallery will work with in order to select relevant art. The first exhibition, beginning Nov. 1, is called Dream and centers around the theme of dreaming.
“The concept is to create one-of-a-kind collaborations with artists,” Quintana said. “One of our missions is trying to make their work accessible to the public. Anyone can go on the website to appreciate the artwork, but the goal is to sell these works as well.”
The website will have a simple, clean, and modern look, according to Quintana—a look that reflects the artistic quality of the work it showcases. The website will not have ads, and will gain revenue through vending the art instead.
Quintana characterizes his startup as a social business. The site functions as an online store where those looking to purchase art can easily do so. He is also working on a philanthropic element to the business wherein the website will show how some of the proceeds for each piece will go toward specific causes.
Quintana accrued the contacts in the art world necessary for his startup through previous work and a lifelong passion for art. “We want to encourage education in the arts,” he said. “Our hope is to bring art to people who may not usually be able to afford it.”
The project involves collaboration between artists and curators while also allowing for independence in artists’ creative processes.
“Sometimes, the artist creates a great piece, but doesn’t know to market it,” Quintana said. “That’s where we come in and it’s very exciting.”
Quintana emphasized that the website would not hinder the creative process.
“It’s interesting because I have been on the artist’s side of this,” he said. “I respect the creative process. When we are involved with the artist, it’s about how to market the artists’ work. Most of all, we want to leave their creative process alone.”
He added that artists appreciate input from curators while still also wanting to maintain their creativity. Curators find artists in their local areas and help them come up with ideas. Once a week, Quintana, the curators, and others involved with the project hold a conference call to discuss the artwork as a group and decide which pieces will go in the collection.
Quintana’s work is mostly on the business side of the company, overseeing the retail and financial angles. His aim is to give a positive experience to artists, curators, and customers alike.
The fellowship is an opportunity that Quintana appreciates not only for its financial benefits but because of the people he has met through it.
“Being in an environment where I can connect with other passionate people is an amazing opportunity and quite valuable,” he said.
Quintana also discussed this idea in terms of the BC community. “I think it’s really exciting to be a student at BC right now,” he said. “We really are becoming a hub for business and innovation.”
Several factors have contributed to this rise, according to Quintana, including earlier start-ups that have gained traction and alumni connections, and leadership by a number of faculty members. He mentioned associate professor of information systems John Gallaugher in particular.
“He has been the catalyst for the growth that BC has had for startups,” Quintana said. “The scenery has changed and it’s exciting. Boston is not Silicon Valley, but we definitely have a unique ecosystem here.”
Gallaugher reciprocated Quintana’s praise. “He’s exceptional, a real standout, and it’s quite an honor that .406 has selected him as part of their elite group,” Gallaugher said.
Quintana is not sure about the future, but said that in five to 10 years he would like to be working as an entrepreneur in venture capital. He is passionate about bringing in a social element to business while still preserving the integrity of his business models.
Quintana’s number one priority with this new startup is to buy and sell his work so that more people will invest in and fund the project.
“If there’s anything I’ve learned, I’ve learned that you can’t predict the future, but I can focus on what I’m passionate about.”