Richard and Tatiana Zalan, founders of the Vernissage project: "Art is a powerful tool to build a new world"

Richard and Tatiana Zalan, founders of the Vernissage project: "Art is a powerful tool to build a new world"

Based in Dubai, Richard and Tatiana Zalan are creating an ambitious digital project that will help develop communication between emerging artists and experienced collectors. The Vernissage platform will combine the functions of a marketplace and a social network. Artocratia spoke to Richard and Tatiana about this unique project, the art scene in Dubai and the world of NFT, which is still a mystery to many.

Can you tell us how you got into art? What is your background?

Richard: We have always collected art. We didn't go to Christie's, of course, but we always tried to surround ourselves with art - oil and acrylic paintings, mostly from different parts of the world. For me, one moment in our collecting was very important: somehow art students from the Middle East came to us in Australia, they went from house to house selling their work. We bought some and I think it's one of the best things we've done for art.

Tatiana: Since I was a child I was good at drawing and I was invited to go to an art school, but as time went by I got more into music and ballet and I continued to like art history. And then, by chance, I found Marina Alvitr's Telegram channel and realised that this was what I needed.

What kind of art do you collect?

Tatiana: We mainly collect salon art, but there are works that are now of great value. For example, prints by a famous Australian artist, Pro Hart. There are also works by Sidney Sheldon.

How did the idea for your project Vernissage come about?

Tatiana: The idea was born about two years ago. We do digital art. As you probably know, NFTs are divided into two segments: utilities and artistic. Richard and I have always been interested in the latter. Because utilities have nothing to do with art, they are more about marketing than aesthetics. In addition, blockchain technology started to interest us in 2016. We then organised a community of people in Dubai who were interested in cryptocurrency.

Richard: Yes, we wanted to share our knowledge with others.

Tatiana: Then we created the company Planet Blockchain, and organised meetings twice a month, inviting people who run different projects. Thanks to this project we got to know a lot of specialists and the technology itself. This is how we came up with the idea of creating our marketplace. In other words, we went from technology to art, not the other way around, as is often the case.

Richard: The idea came to me personally, thanks to photographers. I thought they …