Published July 29, 2022

About Testudo

By The Testudo Team

Hi there! Thanks for visiting Testudo. We’re a platform built to celebrate artists and to create the next great community of artists, collectors, and enthusiasts.

We partner with a curated selection of the best emerging artists working today to share their work with our collectors. Our model offers collectors the chance to discover incredible new artists and pays our artists a higher percentage of sales than the traditional art market, which offers them more freedom to create.

While we hope a work always remains with the initial collector, if the need arises, collectors have the ability to resell a work to a new loving home. When that work sells, the original artist receives a portion of that sale through a royalty. Our closed ecosystem offers collectors a way to resell work and ensures artists remain engaged in that process.

With a heightened focus on inclusivity, transparency, and security, we’re on a mission to establish a more equitable and accessible art market for all.

Learn more about how we got started here:

Benefits for Collectors

We started Testudo because we were disappointed with how exclusionary the existing art world can feel. Testudo is built to benefit all collectors, whether they’re just starting out or seasoned pros. We’ve talked to dozens of people and heard many times that people believe art collecting is only for the mega-rich. We know that isn’t true. 

We provide the content you need to gain a better understanding of the art world. Our Editorial section offers guides that will help you on every step of the journey. Are you curious how to start learning about contemporary art? Click here! Looking for different ways of viewing artwork? Click here! We’re answering all these questions and more to improve your understanding of art.

Testudo encourages real connections with artists. Through our Studio Spotlight video series, we’re taking you behind the scenes to get a deeper understanding of our artists and what inspires their work, in their own words. 

As we foster these connections, we also give you the opportunity to purchase their work without the traditional hidden-prices and exclusionary waiting-lists that plague the art world. 

A crucial aspect of Testudo is the ability to re-sell artwork to other collectors. We built our website to function as a closed ecosystem. While all the art you’ll find on Testudo is direct from the artists we’ve selected, once you’ve owned a work from Testudo for a year you have the ability to re-sell it to other collectors. When the work re-sells, we’ll work with you to bring it back to our headquarters for reinspection and send it to its next loving home. We created this functionality to give collectors more control in managing their collection long-term.

As you build a collection on Testudo, we help you keep track of it. On your collector dashboard, we show you all the art you’ve purchased, the digital certificates of authenticity, and all information for every transaction - with a simple way to set artworks available for resale. An art collection is developed over time; we’re here to serve yours as it develops.

Image Credit: Kate Parvenski

Benefits for Artists

We designed Testudo with artists in mind. We want to use our platform to give artists more opportunity to make a living creating their work at an earlier stage. To achieve that goal, we ensure the artists keep 90% of the list price for their work, a much higher percentage than the traditional art model. 

We’re working to ease some of the common pain-points artists face to allow them to focus on their practice. We help our artists photograph their work and ensure that when their art sells they aren’t preparing the shipment themselves. 

We believe we can build an art market for everyone. A major benefit to artists on our platform is the ability to participate in their own secondary market. When collectors resell work through Testudo, we enforce and collect a resale royalty each time and give it back to the artist who created the work.

Historically in the United States, artists have no opportunity to participate when their artwork resells. We’ve made it our mission to give more artists this opportunity. Read more in-depth on the history of artist resale royalties and why we support them here.

Image Credit: Kate Parvenski

Our Values 

Inclusivity

  • Our diverse community of artists work across a range of mediums. Through interviews and commentary, we offer approachable context to explore their respective practices.
  • We are committed to creating the best collector experience possible. We also believe that collecting is not the only way to support artists and engage with their work.

Transparency

  • At Testudo, artists keep 90% of the list price so that they have more to fuel their creativity. Whenever an artwork resells on Testudo, the original artist receives a 5% cut of that sale. 
  • Our prices are not upon request. All pricing information is available for any collector to see.

Security

  • Ensuring art reaches its new owner safely isn’t easy. We partner with experienced art shippers to manage packing and shipping so that artists and collectors can avoid these headaches. 
  • Our closed ecosystem enhances security at every step. Works only enter directly from the artist. Every time an artwork resells on Testudo, it returns to our facility for inspection and verification.
Image Credit: Kate Parvenski

Why is it called Testudo?

In Latin, Testudo refers to the tortoise. Just as the shell is the source of a tortoise’s strength and protection, we are establishing a closed ecosystem where artists and collectors can thrive within a platform committed to equity, transparency, and security. The tortoise embodies our vision as a symbol of longevity and endurance; we aspire for our company to stand for the same.

Who is behind Testudo?

Testudo was founded in 2021 in Brooklyn, NY. Our team is eager to build the next great community of artists and collectors.

Co-Founders: Kirby Voigtman & John Dennehy. Kirby & John met at the University of Michigan in 2013 and married in 2021. After moving to New York, Kirby spent six years working on Wall Street at RBC Capital Markets as a credit trader and analyst. John honed his eye for e-commerce and merchandising working as a manager at Bespoke Post, a men’s subscription box startup. Both are passionate collectors, specifically of works by queer artists and ceramics.

Curation: Connor McNicholas. Connor is a New York based artist and independent curator. Their recent solo exhibitions include Where Remote Futures Meet Remote Pasts at M 2 3, New York, New York (2020), and The Shape of Time at Super Dakota, Brussels, Belgium (2019). Their work has been presented internationally, including exhibitions at Andersen’s in Copenhagen, Denmark; Berthold Pott, Cologne, Germany; Sharp Projects, Copenhagen, Denmark; Tobias Nearing, Leipzig, Germany; and the International Center of Photography, New York, New York.

Content: Kate Parvenski. Kate is a Brooklyn-based multimedia producer with a passion for art and storytelling. Her work focuses on documenting and showcasing artists working across a variety of mediums. She has been a co-producer for the Make/Time interview podcast with craft artisans, a video producer highlighting artist programs at Textile Arts Center, and project manager supporting creative teams at Parsons School of Design and StoryCorps. Kate holds a BA in Art from Vassar College and an MA in Media Studies from The New School.

Sign up for an account to receive our weekly newsletter, follow us on social media, or contact us here. We look forward to building this community with you!

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