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First Instagram auction house launches in Cape Town

Apollo Auctions is a social auction house found on Instagram for creatives of all types.
Joe de Wet, Johann Schwella and Blaise Janichon have founded Apollo Auctions, an art auction marketplace housed on popular social media site Instagram.

The three young Capetonian entrepreneurs are providing upcoming young artists with a marketplace to display and sell their work, complete with the necessary infrastructure to support the traditional sales, marketing and distribution aspects that many new artists struggle with.

The first auction already shows that the platform is working. Currently the piece 'To Hold To Love' by artist Danielle Clough is sitting on a $120 bid. The reason the trio has gone with US Dollars as the main bidding currency is to break into the overseas market easier. The next featured artist is Ross Symons, known as @white_onrice on Instagram, whose work will be going up for auction on the 10 December and the year will end with infamous pop culture artist, Jaco Haasbroek on 17 December.

Schwella, co-creator of 10and5 and one of the founders, believes that the social auction house will provide artists with the necessary tools to focus on their craft. "We live in a social age where quality content can spread easily but despite the depth of artistic and creative talent abundant in South Africa, few have developed the means to make a full-time living from their craft. The distribution and marketing of work creates many barriers, especially for individual artists who understand creation more than commerce.

"With this offering, we are hoping to actively address these challenges, freeing up artists to focus on their craft while the site offers the necessary marketing, sales and distribution infrastructure."

The concept was borne when the founders, all with strong ties to the art, media and auction world, saw an opportunity when many of their friends - while being amazing craftspeople - were not making the transition of converting their work into sales.

Janichon, renowned for starting The Bin Store & Gallery and Circusninja Street art brand in the early 2000s, says, "South Africa is renowned globally as artistic hub and Cape Town is at the epicentre of its creative heart. This, along with the prestige around campaigns such as Design Capital of The World and the annual Design Indaba, has firmly placed South African creatives on the map. We look forward to tapping into the potential of our artistic community, providing them with a hub where their work will have the necessary exposure, as well as the opportunity to convert that into sales."

De Wet, former financial manager of Cape Thoroughbred Sales one of the largest thoroughbred auction houses in South Africa, brings his financial acumen and knowledge of auctioneering to the venture. He believes that the Apollo Auctions offer an alternative to the localised offering of galleries. "It uses the global platform of Instagram media to promote artists' work across the world, ensuring that they get a greater audience without the heavy overheads and risks of a fixed location."

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