Home You’re Now a Virtual Art Curator, Smartphone Not Required

You’re Now a Virtual Art Curator, Smartphone Not Required

Online retailer Zazzle has launched Realview, a tool that gives users the ability to visualize how posters, prints and canvases will look on their walls before they buy them. The technology behind Realview reminds us a bit of the scanning behind QR codes in the way it connects the digital world and the real world. It’s not quite augmented reality because it’s not live. Instead, this is a useful tool for anyone who just wants to visualize art on their walls before buying it. Realview does not require a smartphone, which makes it more accessible to the mainstream.

Here is how Realview works: A user prints out the Zazzle Wall Marker and tapes it to the wall in the space where they’d like to hang the art. Then the user takes a photo of the room itself, and uploads it to Zazzle.com. Users can see the work with the choice of 80 different frames around it and 40 varying mat finishes.

A few years ago, I worked at an art gallery in Chicago. Ann Nathan Gallery, to be exact. Ann was a seasoned gallerist who knew practically everyone in the Chicago art community. Collectors would stroll in, stand in front of huge 4′ x 5′ paintings of the Chicago cityscape, and shake their head “yes.” Then came the hard part: Trying to visualize how that piece would look on the wall of their home. The collector, of course, would come into the gallery with an idea of how much space he or she had, but buying it on-the-spot was pretty risky. So, the gallery’s art handlers would take a trip to the collector’s home with the not-yet-purchased work and place it. If the collector approved and decided to buy, the work could stay. If not, it would go right back.

While this extra trip demonstrates the utmost care and responsibility on the gallery’s side, wouldn’t it be great to envision how the piece looks without going to all that trouble?

Do you think Zazzle’s Realview technology will ever come to the Art World? Give us your reactions in the comments.

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