Portugal artists get revved up

By Kimberley Lestieux, in Arts & Lifestyle, Art · 30-04-2021 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

Alex Dipalo and Gianvito Montrone are two Italian expats who launched their startup RevArt Gallery, in March of 2020 in Lisbon, to support and empower up-and-coming artists in Portugal. I talked to Alex Dipalo, co-founder, about their business, future plans and the country’s emerging art trends.

Where does RevArt come from? What does it mean, what does it symbolise?

RevArt comes from the French word rêve, which means to dream, because art makes you dream and also from the word revolution because our goal is to revolutionize the art market.


What pushed you to start this business with your co-founder Gianvito Montrone?

We are both very passionate about art. We were both on our own paths and we asked ourselves about this market, its potential, and realised artists today are really struggling. For an artist to get their work exposed in a museum, it is very complicated, and it often seems like there is no other option to showcase their work. With RevArt, artists have a platform where they and their art can be promoted, where we can give them certain contacts, B2B mentoring, anything we can do to valorise their art.

What exactly was lacking in the art world for RevArt to be born?

The idea came from noticing a lack of support and security for artists. We wanted to change this mentality, this way of thinking that being an artist is not a job. We wanted to show people it is a job, and it is difficult. We want to give artists financial stability. Also, our goal is to make art more accessible, to show that it’s not just for rich people, but for everyone. We saw that there was a problem to be solved, and since we know a bit about the market and are very passionate about art, we just decided to quit our jobs [in marketing and business] and launch RevArt.

You launched this startup in March 2020, how did Covid-19 affect that?

Unfortunately, we launched this project two days after Covid-19 really hit in Portugal. So, when we had just launched, we were hearing all these things about the coronavirus in the news, and we thought art can have an impact and help people. We then partnered with SOS Coronavirus – an initiative that helps buy medical supplies for hospitals – and decided to organize a charity auction and call on artists to donate their works and all the proceeds are donated to SOS Coronavirus. Until now, more or less ten works of art have been donated.

Right now, you, your partner, and some of your artists are at the Milan Design Week. Can you tell me more about the event and how important it is for your artists?

The Milan Design Week is very important for exposure and it’s very interesting for the artists. It helps bring up new talent. One of our artists is a part of the Students Association of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon (AEFBAUL), and we thought of creating a partnership with them to help art students – because it’s very hard in the beginning of their careers, especially right now with Covid – so he put us in contact with them and we had called on students and artists to send us their work. The best ones that followed the criteria were selected to go to Milan with us for the Design Week to showcase their art. There they had time to present themselves, their art, and engage with the public. There are 15 artists and several themes such as climate change or technology. They were inspired by these topics to create the artworks they would present. It’s a very prestigious event and it allows the artists to gain knowledge and experience. Most of them have never been abroad or it is their first time exposing their work, so it’s important for their personal growth as well.

Which artists are really standing out compared to the others?

Three or four of them have really impressed the public: Thiago Gomes, Afonso Neves, Francisca Faria and João Alves.

When it comes to the artists, we go through an organic application process. Artists will apply to be a part RevArt, we then select a few candidates, who then have to send in their portfolio and those who are selected have complete liberty to do what they want with their art.

Concretely speaking, how do you support and empower these artists? How many are you currently working with?

We want to create a digitalised art market. We give space for artists to expose their work, and each artist gets help from us in terms of communication, by exposing their work, connecting them with important people, and participating in activities that help promote their name. Right now, we have about 70 artists. The company is very fresh, so they are mainly Portuguese, but some are also Italian and Brazilian…we plan on expanding so we hope to also have very different artists from all over the world.

You and your partner are both Italian, why launch your company in Lisbon?

We decided to launch in Portugal because we believe that the country has a big potential when it comes to art, and we want to help the artists as much as we can. More and more artistical movements are growing here and also Portugal, has grown very fast in the past years. Between the connections there are here and the possible networking, it’s just an ideal place. Later on, when the timing is right, we plan to expand abroad and be everywhere.

Why do you believe Portugal has such big potential when it comes to art and what movements or trends do you see emerging in the future?

The country has a lot of potential mainly because of its street art. The municipalities here give space for artists to create, and a lot of galleries are opening too. Here the mindset is: art is everywhere. In hostels, shops, restaurants… They are very sensitive to exposing artwork and the art is mixed with movements from different regions like Africa and South America. Art in general in Portugal is a big movement, growing step by step. Right now, street art is the biggest trend and there are more and more famous Portuguese street artists. I think the next big trend that will arrive in Portugal is expressionism, it’s also a growing movement.

What does RevArt have in store for the future?

Our future plans? To do as much as possible for the artists, like acquiring commercial spaces in Lisbon to expose their art, creating more partnerships with ONGs and others, and generally just to sensitise everyone to art.




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