Art by Students is an online marketplace where art students can exhibit and sell their artwork online. The site is the brainchild of Dominik Kuhn. While pursuing an MBA at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, he met many art students who wanted to sell their work but felt they needed recognition before trying. This inspired Dominik to build a platform for art students to sell their artwork online. “Art by Students is a place where young artists can take the first step to make a name for themselves,” he said. Read more about Dominik’s venture in our interview below.
AJ: At what point did you realize that you could turn your artwork or creative product into a business?
DK: There are almost 250,000 art students in the U.S., and there is so much talent. Many of these art students are not yet known but create great artwork every semester that would be suitable for a buyer. With Art by Students, I want to close this gap, and therefore, I am convinced that I can make Art by Students a success.
AJ: How do you define success for your creative business?
DK: Success for Art by Students would be defined by a combination of several factors. First and foremost, it would be about helping students to achieve their own goals and aspirations. Whether that’s getting their name out there as an artist, selling their first pieces of art, or finding a dedicated customer base that appreciates their unique style and vision. Secondly, connecting the listed art with customers who are looking for unique art of emerging artists and have them buy art. Finally, I would consider it a success if I am able to create a positive impact on the art community and promote emerging artists with my platform.
AJ: Where do you find inspiration?
DK: I find my biggest inspiration and motivation in close people. Especially my parents, who founded their own company almost 50 years ago and showed me from an early age how fulfilling it is to have your own business.
AJ: What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
DK: The first surprise would definitely be that I came to Baylor University as an exchange student from Switzerland. After one semester, I decided to transfer to Baylor altogether and finish my degree there. The second surprise is that I don’t have an art background. I was interested in art and liked to go to museums, but I didn’t bring much knowledge with me. I am now slowly acquiring this knowledge step by step.
AJ: As creatives, we can be continuously creating and refining our art. How do you handle perfectionism?
DK: In my eyes, perfection is the enemy of progress, and for this reason, I try to release a minimum viable product and then continuously make adjustments to the platform based on feedback.
AJ: What advice would you give to someone who wants to begin selling their art or creative product?
DK: The best advice I can give to anyone considering starting their own business is to just do it. It’s hard to find the right time, and that’s why I advise everyone to just try it. If it works out, great; if not, the next opportunity is already waiting at the door.
AJ: What’s something that surprised you about running a creative business?
DK: The biggest surprise for me was definitely that creative people have a different mindset for business. As an entrepreneurship major, I like to get things done. Creative people need more persuasion to convince them to use my platform. I also had to learn first how different advertising has to be to art students.
AJ: Running a business brings joys and challenges. What advice would you give to someone about handling the highs and lows?
DK: Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It’s a hard road, and that’s why not everyone does it. But entrepreneurship can also be compared to a heartbeat; it goes down and then up again, and even if you are in a deep hole, you have to keep going, and there comes a high.
AJ: What’s a cause you are passionate about and why?
DK: One thing that is close to my heart is helping students. On the one hand, I do this with Art by Students, but I also have another startup in Switzerland with which I support students during their studies with online tutoring.
AJ: And, of course, we have to ask you: what brings you joy?
DK: What makes me happy is when I can get up every day and work on projects that interest me. Working on Art by Students as well as the startup in Switzerland fulfill me and make me happy.
You can learn more about Art by Students at artbystudents.com.
Editor’s Note: This interview was edited slightly for length and clarity.