In theory, we’d all like to be able to buy new artwork every couple of months. But unfortunately, due to budget and time restraints, this dream is hardly ever a reality for the majority of us—good art is expensive. It takes time to track down, and it doesn’t always suit our personal tastes.
The former head of Dara Science at Medium, Mike Sall, saw this need and sought to fill it—thereby creating Meum. Based in San Francisco, the membership combines data and art to create a truly customizable rental service that ensures you have chic decor available to you year-round.
“It’s like a revolving art exhibit for your home,” says Sall, whose own background in art—his emoji paintings are a thing of beauty—makes him uniquely positioned to understand the needs of both the artist and the customer.
Here’s how it works: For $28 a month (or an annual fee of $280), you get your first framed print in a custom frame. You can then swap it out every few months, for up to four times a year. The fee goes into your account, where you can build up credit in order to eventually buy one of the framed prints for $400. Each art piece is limited-edition and exclusive to Meum, and unlike other subscription services, you have a say in which piece you receive: You can actually choose from a list of tailored suggestions.
Meum’s Kickstarter campaign just started today, and the full service will officially launch on September 15. If this sounds interesting to any of you art aficionados, be sure to contribute—because once the service is available, backers will get first priority for shipping. In the meantime, you can get started by signing up and filing out a personal style quiz here.
We caught up with Sall to get the inside scoop on the service that’s sure to change the art rental game.
How is Meum different from other art rental services?
Meum lets you change your art over time, whereas most other services are single-purchase. Meum is also much cheaper—other rental services are generally $100+ per month—and we use data to provide personalized recommendations of art you’ll love.
Has your background in painting influenced how you run the company at all?
It definitely has. A big mission of Meum is to support emerging artists, which is based a lot on my own experience as one. We’ve also made it super easy for artists to get set up with us.
And on the customer side, I think my background is why I find it so important to share the story behind each artwork in a compelling, accessible way. So we’ve put a lot of time into telling those stories.
How do you choose which artists (and pieces) to feature?
It’s a combination of human curation and data. We want a wide variety of styles, colors, subjects, and artist backgrounds, so we’re open to almost anything. Generally, we pick artwork that has a great story behind it, and that has something uniquely visually compelling about it.
We’re also continually sharing the artwork with Meum members, so we learn which pieces are best suited for their tastes. If there’s one thing we’ve learned so far, it’s that people like all sorts of different styles! But everyone likes a great story.
If you had to pick one, what’s your favorite piece available on Meum?