Cathal Murphy, Managing Director of Art Box Worldwide, got into the job “by accident”, he says. “I actually studied Music at College; I played and taught Music for several years until I met my partner, who is an artist. My grandmother had always made a point of taking us to the National Gallery, so I knew a little bit about Art, but it was only after meeting my partner that I started to get into the tech side of it.”
“It was during a group exhibition; I was helping my partner install her work, when one of the other exhibitors approached us and asked, ‘when will the technician be finished with your work and able to help me?’ That’s when I realised – there’s a market here. I started to do technician work and was Technical Manager of Galway Arts Centre for several years.”
Cathal Murphy moved to Maurice Ward Art Handling in 2011, where the Art Box was developed. “The idea for Art Box came from a phone call with a lady in west Galway”, Cathal says. “She wanted to get a £500 painting to London, and the transportation was going to cost £800. Quite reasonably, she told me this was ridiculous.”
Transportation was expensive because the lady lived in a remote area, and it was initially for clients like her that the Art Box was invented. “Moving artwork in a city is easy, but if you live in west Galway, rural Scotland, or at the top of the Alps, someone has to travel far out of their way to get to you.”
The solution Cathal came up with is the Art Box. A reinforced box is sent to the customer, the customer packs the artwork into the box, and it is picked up by a courier, fully insured for the journey. “We had great fun trialling the prototype models; our Director gave us artwork from her own collection with which to road-test the Art Box. ‘Do what you can do to them’ were her words. We tested out different materials and threw the boxes around until we had a product which could take a beating.”
The Art Box uses gallery-standard polythene wrap and polyethylene foam, which gives the product a clean look and provides excellent protection. Each Art Box is then insured according to the value of its contents. “If a customer tries to organise insured transportation themselves, the first question an insurer will ask is ‘who packed it?’ If the answer isn’t ‘a professional art mover’ it’s very hard to get insurance.” Cathal has been transporting art in Art Boxes since 2012, and 5,000 boxes later, he has yet to have an insurance claim.
Art Box Worldwide is already equipped to send its boxes anywhere, but the company plans to develop its operations further to offer a consistently high level of service and ease of access globally. “Because even in the last twelve months I have seen the art market become more globalised and move further into online sales”, says Cathal. We are proud to work with Art Box Worldwide on all sales made through Buy Art | Buy Now, Mall Galleries’ online collection of original and affordable artwork.
Thanks to the input of partners like Art Box Worldwide, using Buy Art | Buy Now is among the easiest and safest ways to purchase art, and as Cathal Murphy expands his business across the globe, so will we.