See inside an NFT art gallery with 36 TV screens, 6 advisors, and space-themed dog sculptures. Investors can pay however they want.

·5-min read
The three founders pose for a photo. Marsh and Sandhu stand in front, either side, of a desk printed adorned brightly with Quantus Gallery. Ryan stands behind.
Cofounders Ryan Marsh (left), James Ryan (centre) and Josh Sandhu (right).Stephen Jones / Insider
  • Quantus Gallery is London's first permanent NFT art gallery. Insider took a tour.

  • NFTs are displayed on 36 TVs, alongside dog sculptures and physical pieces of art.

  • It has six in-house advisors to educate visitors about how to make, buy, and sell NFTs.

The idea of a physical art gallery that is dedicated to selling digital artworks seems slightly paradoxical.

But Josh Sandhu, James Ryan, and Ryan Marsh say it's the next logical step of a global market that surged to $41 billion in 2021, which is why they've opened what is London's first permanent NFT art gallery, Quantus Gallery.

An NFT — or non-fungible token — is a digital asset built onto a blockchain. It essentially provides a unique record of ownership. Many consider them to be modern-day collectibles.

Some consider NFTs as the future of art and highlight the fact that established art auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's are already in on the trend. Skeptics say it's a volatile asset and any popularity is merely a bubble.

Quantus' three co-founders have backgrounds in graphic design, art galleries, and finance respectively. They said they want to appeal to the "95% of people" who don't yet fully understand the asset. Opening a physical gallery offers something different, and gives more people a way into the market, they add.

Intrigued, curious and slightly skeptical, Insider went along to see what it's like.

Quantus Gallery is located in Spitalfields, a trendy area of East London.

A shot of Fashion Street in London, it shows 'Boris bikes' and graffiti depicting Boris Johnson as a clown.
The gallery is located on Fashion Street, in the Spitalfields area of East London.Stephen Joned / Insider

It's far from a normal art gallery, despite looking fairly innocuous.

The exterior of Quantus Gallery in London.
Quantus hosted a launch party on March 23.Stephen Jones/ Insider

The single room exhibition feels like a traditional art gallery.

Quantus staff mingle on three sofas are positioned within the open-plan, single room. The back wall is adorned with TV screens featuring NFTs. There is also a physical piece of art in the far left corner.
The gallery has sofas for guests to sit and enjoy the artwork (or in my case leave my bag).Stephen Jones / Insider

NFTs are displayed on 36 screens spread across the wall and pillars. There's also some physical art, including sculptures featuring what appear to be dogs, wearing space helmets.

Space-dogs, screens and skateboards.

Space-dogs, screens and skateboards.
NFTs are displayed on screens but sculptures and physical art is also on display.Stephen Jones / Insider

Electronic music plays and visitors are offered a drink if they fancy. The aim is to create a "feel-good atmosphere," said Ryan, who also owns a traditional art business Grove Square Galleries.

Exhibitions rotate every three to four weeks.

Four TV screens feature NFT art works by the artist Pierre Benjamin
Crypto Stars, by the artist Pierre Benjamin features a selection of historical figures.Stephen Jones / Insider

An NFT collection by the artist Pierre Benjamin, features cartoon-esque portraits of celebrities — including a clown that looks suspiciously like UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It's not just NFTs on display...

A picture by the artists Bluntroller is displayed on an easel. It features a women. The words Rouge are written across the top, in imitation of a Vogue magazine cover.
If investors buy Bluntroller's NFT, they also get the real thing included.Stephen Jones / Insider

Physical art by Bluntroller and Glen Fox can also be purchased as NFTs.

They cost anywhere between the equivalent of £5000 ($6570) up to £15,000 ($19,710) based on the collection.

Payments are designed to be as flexible as possible, with investors able to buy art using crypto but also traditional currency, Sandhu said.

The gallery also offers an advisory service to potential investors.

Three easels are positioned around a TV, showing a news report about the gallery's opening.
By offering a hybrid approach to NFTs the group hope to improve people's knowledge of the market.Stephen Jones / Insider

Quantus makes money like a regular art gallery by taking a percentage of profits made by artists, Ryan tells Insider. It differs depending on each contract but could be as much as 15-20%.

A glass room in the corner will eventually be an office.

Another internal shot of Quantus Gallery, a glass office with art works on the wall.
Brand launches and art workshops are some of the events that they plan to host.Stephen Jones / Insider

The gallery's 13 staff includes a six-person in-house advisory team, whose job is to educate visitors about how to make, buy, and sell NFTs.

The trio say this is what sets Quantus apart from other NFT galleries that have been established around the world.

More space dogs and sofas...

A black sofa sits against a white wall., featuring the words Quantus Gallery printed multiple times in a repeated pattern. Next to the sofa is a sculpture featuring a dog wearing a space helmet, and a bright pink picture featuring a woman.
The mostly white walls occasionally have some graffiti.Stephen Jones / Insider

Quantus also plan to monetize the space by partnering with brands and community organizations.

Not everyone is happy about it

Wrapped Frosties NFT on OpenSea
Screenshot of Wrapped Frosties NFT page on OpenSeaOpenSea

The group say they've been accused by some of "ruining" the NFT market by taking it offline. One self-proclaimed representative of the "NFT community" even phoned them to voice their disgust.

But there are more legitimate reasons to be critical of NFTs.

Mere days before Insider's visit to Quantus, the US DOJ charged two men with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering for their role in the $1.million 'Frosties' NFT scam. Ethan Nguyen and Andre Llacuna allegedly vanished shortly after selling all the tokens for their ice-cream inspired NFT.

It's one of a number of recent high profile 'rug-pulls' — scams where apparently legitimate creators cash out their gains, leaving investors with nothing — and other NFT related crimes.

Critics also highlight the environmental impact of creating and maintaining assets on the blockchain.

Having a physical art gallery helps to establish trust in NFTs, Quantus say

The three founders pose for a photo. Marsh and Sandhu stand in front, either side, of a desk printed adorned brightly with Quantus Gallery. Ryan stands behind.
Cofounders Ryan Marsh (left), James Ryan (centre) and Josh Sandhu (right).Stephen Jones / Insider

Scammers can sometimes take advantage of people's lack of knowledge, Marsh said.

Anyone can set up online but having a five-year lease and being able to speak face to face with people makes Quantus accountable, Ryan added. "You make a statement by having a physical premise," he said.

They insist Quantus is already set up to anticipate any potential regulations that could come into place — for example, by paying £600 a month for anti-money laundering compliance required by regular art dealers.

The trio are open about the fact that the gallery is a risk but want to set a precedent.

"There could well be a market correct but we know we're in this in for the long haul. We need to make this work," Ryan said.

Time will ultimately tell how safe a bet it is.

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