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Art in IT: Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Tymofeev) explains what is in common between IT companies and art galleries

Just like Microsoft, Netscape, Andreessen Horowitz, Ukrainian large and medium companies also start to use modern art to decorate their offices. Artworks have become a great thing to invest in, and IT entrepreneurs also join the tendency. Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Tymofeev), the founder of venture fund Adventurеs Lab, explains why this phenomenon exists and what benefits it gives to the business.

Indeed, investing in art becomes more and more popular nowadays. For instance, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen invested more than $100 million in masterpieces; the American trader Steve Cohen bought to his collection artworks of Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, and Picasso; the M&C Saatchi founder Charles Saatchi has works of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin in his collection that is exhibited to the public.

In Ukraine, Ruslan Tymofieiev (Ruslan Tymofeev), the founder of venture fund Adventurеs Lab, is one of those who follow the same approach. In his company’s portfolio, there are such IT startups as SALO, Streamhero, EduDo, and Reface. All of them are innovative, and therefore, Tymofieiev wanted to make the atmosphere in the office accordingly.

For example, the working area is decorated with paintings from the Ultra C series by Victor Sydorenko: these paintings show athletes, and they create a working mood and motivate for achievements. The café area is decorated with pop-up works that help people chill and feel comfortable. 

Ruslan Tymofieiev says that he collects works of both foreign and Ukrainian artists. He also uses his collection when taking part in organizing art exhibitions and events. In November, the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Jersey has welcomed such an exhibition. It shows the development of contemporary art in Ukraine during the perestroika (“restructuring”) period and the first years of independence.

Apart from using art for creating a particular mood in offices and using it for cultural events, artworks can serve as social capital. Tymofieiev notes that every piece of art has a history behind it: who owned it, who sold it, at what price, where it was exhibited, how they got its value, etc. Talking about such stories can help people find a common language. Even in the business world, where people tend to value their time a lot, such small talk can bring many benefits and let people trust each other.

Another thing is that having artworks in the office shows that the company cares about employees and has good taste. According to HR specialists, people feel more connected to the place of working if there is art. And as for the taste, Michael Ovitz, the most powerful talent manager in Hollywood and a famous collector, once said that paintings, books, and glassware always add credibility to a company.

Apart from Adventures Lab, other offices in Kyiv have also decided to use art as decoration. SupportYourApp and coworking space Kooperativ gradually turn their working spaces into modern art galleries. Instead of using simple printed mediocre pictures, they obtain pieces of modern art that cost from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Giving While Living is a popular trend in the world. It really appeals to me. It’s much better to spend money on sustaining viable initiatives rather than hoarding until you die. And I believe in the vitality of art more than in anything else,” sums up Tymofieiev.

The founder of Adventures Lab adds that investing in artworks also helps artists create the best combination of a pragmatic approach with aesthetics.

According to the founder of Adventures Lab, purchasing paintings by Ukrainian artists can enhance the reputation of Ukrainian art at the international level. By placing the artworks of Ukrainian artists in their offices, IT entrepreneurs not only help the artists but also acquaint foreign partners with contemporary art of Ukraine, thereby increasing the value and significance of these works.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.