This fresh concept is here to bring back the human element of art curation within a digital space
Ninth Editions is an online art gallery working to expand the reach of emerging artists by connecting first-time and seasoned art buyers to a new well of fine art. Toronto-based founder Ashley Mulvihill launched the digital gallery in 2018, a natural next step from her extensive work in curation, including cultural programming at The Drake Hotel. In conversation with Designlines, Mulvihill talks about changes in the art world, creating a new online gallery model for the Canadian market, and how Ninth Editions enables emerging artists to tell their stories in a new and authentic way.
First things first, where does the name come from?
Nine is a very significant number in my life, plus, this happens to be my ninth job in the art world. I just wanted to have something that was personal, but not necessarily my name. Alas, Ninth Editions was born.
What makes this model unique in comparison to the traditional gallery?
For starters, we’re entirely online, which enables us to offer a full refund to shoppers within 14 days, because nobody should live with art they don’t love. We’re trying to take a local approach to printing and sourcing artwork, and we’re offering pieces at more approachable price points based on the context of the art.
What drove you to launch Ninth Editions, and what is its main goal?
I think getting people to think about art is the main goal. I would love for people to feel confident that they can own art from real artists. Everybody can participate in the art world, it’s just a matter of understanding what is available. I often hear people say, “I’m not an art person”, but if you like history, beautiful things, and storytelling, then you’re absolutely an art person. What it really comes down to is making art and the art world feel more accessible.
What type of buyers do you work with and what’s the process like?
It’s differentiated by private and corporate buyers, people who are buying for an aesthetic versus those who are buying for a story. Some people decide based on how the art makes them feel or think, whereas others have a more visually thematic perspective where they’re trying to curate art for a space that is in the same aesthetic sphere. There are people that fit in between. In terms of the buying process, we offer a curated selection for people to look through and pick what they’re interested in and buy as if they were buying anything online. We keep the process easy and approachable to show people that art can be for everyone. We also are open to hearing and answering any questions that buyers have about pieces to make the process as smooth as possible.
Do you work exclusively with Canadian artists?
I’ve begun recently working exclusively with artists based in Canada. I think there’s so much talent here and not nearly enough opportunity for artists to sell their work, and I think that the stronger the base of the Canadian art market, the better it will serve artists over time. I’m constantly looking and meeting with artists through shows and online research to find work that resonates with me. I also think it’s important to keep the collections constantly evolving since the interests and tastes of buyers are always evolving, and I want Ninth Editions to reflect that.
What has been the greatest victory or highlight since you launched?
I would say that working with and mentoring up-and-coming Toronto photographer Isabel Okoro has been a big highlight. Isabel has a lot of talent, vision, and an amazing story to tell, but at the time when I connected with her, she had never shown in a commercial gallery. When participating in Art Toronto, we sold her artworks to the Art Gallery of Ontario, which was a major victory for both of us. That moment made me realize how I can support someone’s career.
I understand you’re the official art partner at Bonne Choice. What has that collaborative experience been like?
It’s been amazing. Carlo, the showroom owner, has been a colleague of mine since we both worked for The Drake. We’ve worked on other projects together as well, so it felt like a really natural fit. We’re going to continue to roll out new collections at the showroom in Etobicoke and see where it takes us.
What can you tell us about the latest collection to be released?
We’re excited to announce that we will be releasing our new collection on August 14th, featuring 18 pieces from Keerthana Jayakumar, Margaux Smith, Rachel Crummey, Stephen Attong, Justin Rousseau, Adrienna Matzeg, and Jasmine Cardenas. NINTHEDITIONS.COM.