ARTiSTORY brings together AI firm obode and the National Gallery

Art and cultural IP specialist ARTiSTORY has brought AIoT technology eco-brand obode, a member of China’s Midea Robozone, together with the National Gallery, London, to create a smart-robot vacuum cleaner featuring designs inspired by three great artists and supported with innovative digital marketing content.

The smart robot, obode P8, launching to market this spring, will be available to purchase online at Kickstarter. P8 is one of obode’s most advanced AIoT products, and is part of what Midea Robozone calls “the new wave of tech life”, combining technology and art.

As part of ARTiSTORY’s living artists programme, Finnish designer and illustrator Janine Rewell was commissioned to create new contemporary artwork for obode P8 inspired by three masterpieces in the National Gallery: Ambrosius Bosschaert’s Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase, Claude Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond and Vincent van Gogh’s iconic Sunflowers. The three artists shared a fascination with nature and benefitted from advances in science and technology, such as the newly invented microscope which Bosschaert may have used to study the flowers he painted in detail. Images of the new artwork will be created as stickers to be applied to the robot cleaner by the customer.

The collaboration is being supported by a digital marketing campaign arranged and led by ARTiSTORY. This includes a film shoot in the National Gallery, bespoke narrative, and interviews with the artist Janine Rewell and the National Gallery Company’s B2B and Brand Licensing Director.

“This exciting collaboration is a great example of how ARTiSTORY’s licensing programmes can bring together cultural IP with cutting-edge innovative products and immersive digital storytelling content,” says Yizan He, CEO and Founder of ARTiSTORY.

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ARTiSTORY’s Seasons of Impressionists creatives set to travel the world with uin Footwear

Art and cultural IP specialist ARTiSTORY has licensed global creative rights excluding China to the Spanish footwear brand uin for launching a new collection in partnership with the National Gallery Company, London.

The DTC brand, known for its colourful art-inspired footwear, has chosen ARTiSTORY creatives inspired by timeless classics housed in the National Gallery, London, by the great artists of Impressionism: Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Georges Seurat and Edgar Degas. The exclusive collection, entitled “A Timeless Journey”, combines ARTiSTORY’s contemporary take on masterpieces such as Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Monet’s The Water Lily Pond  with uin’s innovative and comfortable footwear, perfectly showcasing their core passions – travel and art.

“uin Art Travel Shoes is determined to create a new category of travel shoes, combining simple but natural and comfortable products with creative artistic patterns,” says Fernando Acevedo, Cofounder and Chief Designer of uin. “We are excited to set forth on this timeless journey together with images of the National Gallery’s masterpieces.” 

Seasons of Impressionists is one of the 17 creative collections available to be licensed via ARTiSTORY’s unique “Artefacts to Merchandise” and storytelling model, inspired by the archives of its museum partners.

ARTiSTORY’s Founder and CEO Yizan He says: “We’re delighted to be working with uin on this collaboration with the National Gallery Company and look forward to joining this timeless journey with our partners, witnessing art stories travelling the world.”

Q&A: Natasha Dyson, co-founder of ARTiSTORY

A specialist in cultural IP licensing, ARTiSTORY was co-founded a year ago by industry trailblazers Yizan He and Natasha Dyson. Over the past 12 months the company has secured major partnerships with some of the world’s leading cultural institutions, including the National Gallery, London; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Dunhuang, China, and the Brooklyn Museum, New York.

We caught up with Natasha ahead of the company’s appearance at Brand Licensing Europe this week to talk about how arts and culture licensing works in practice, and the company’s plans for 2022.

You’re a fairly new business. Can you give us a bit of background on you and Yizan and why you founded ARTiSTORY? 

We are indeed, we’re celebrating our 1st birthday at BLE.

Both Yizan and I have been working in the licensing industry for many years, gaining experience that compliments the other. I have a varied background working for agencies and brand owners, as well as my own consultancy, covering all sectors and age groups for the EU market. In fact, this year is my 20th anniversary in licensing.

Over the last 18 years Yizan has developed award-winning licensing programmes across Greater China and North America. He was voted one of the top 250 IP Strategists in 2011 by Intellectual Asset Management Magazine and regularly sits on the judging panel of the Premier Asian Licensing Awards and China Licensing Awards.

There are two key reasons that Yizan and I decided to set up ARTiSTORY. Firstly, art and culture licensing is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global licensing space at the moment.  Secondly, Yizan has spent the previous five years building multimillion dollar licensing programmes for the V&A, British Museum, National Galley, MFA and the MET in China, but his dream was to expand globally. When Yizan and I reconnected just before the start of the Covid pandemic, the idea to set up a business in Europe was born. This rapidly expanded into becoming the global business that we are today.

Can you explain how ARTiSTORY operates? What are your core areas of business? 

ARTiSTORY is a master licensee for our museum partners.  Our license provides us with an extensive range of product categories, everything from fashion to home goods, through topop-up stores and themed hotels, which we can sub-license to retailers, brands and manufacturers.

There are three core pillars to our business: creative development, licensing, and content developer.

ARTiSTORY invests in developing usable artwork that transforms “Artefacts to Merchandise” and appeals to our core target audience: Gen Z and Millennials, art fans and overseas audiences. We have an extensive team of creatives including researchers, designers, content writers and immersive experts, who not only create beautiful designs but ensure that we tell the story of each artefact or artwork though the content we develop.

Once the creative assets have been developed, we license these to global retailers, brands and manufacturers. Our licensing partners have access to exclusive pre-approved artwork that is delivered as layered files to allow customisation, and can immediately be used on products and packaging, thus reducing the time that licensees need to spend on the design and approval process.

Finally, we support our licensees by creating various forms of content such as narrative, live streaming from museums, short-form videos and social media challenges on TikTok. Licensees and retailers can break down the content to use for packaging, swing tickets, in-store POS and for digital marketing purposes. We also work with retailers and brands to create in-store immersive experiences.

Why do you think heritage licensing is such a strong sector at the moment? 

A key appeal to brands and retailers is the longevity and security that art and cultural licensing provides. The global pandemic has sped up the digitalisation of the museum and cultural sector and this digital shift is changing the way that younger demographics engage with art and culture. At ARTiSTORY we are designing digital, sharable tools and engagement strategies which are opening up the cultural world to entirely new audiences.

ARTiSTORY produces twice-yearly theme launches. Can you give us a sneak peek of what’s up and coming next year?

We have four trend led themes for next year:

Botanical Affairs – Taking inspiration from flora and fauna, the harvests from our land; bringing the outdoors in, we engage all senses, to appreciate the natural world around us.

Gathering of the Greats – With over 8,000 years of history within our museums, we catch a glimpse of some of the most creative, innovative makers of the art world.

Let’s Play – Theatre tickets ready, parties to celebrate, dancing across the floor and imagination galore… Entertainment is back, the 2020s can begin, Let’s Play!

Dunhuang – A UNESCO World Heritage site where spices were traded for knowledge, silks for imagination.

What would you like to achieve from BLE this year?

We’ve taken a stand (B219) to ensure we are visual to those who have read about us, but not yet met us. Our focus is on securing licensing partners, retailers and brands that can not only benefit from our having access to our exclusive designs, but also the content we provide for digital marketing.

We’ll be announcing our first licensing partners in the next month or so. I can’t give away too much now, but I can tell you these are multi-territory partners for us across apparel and home electronics. And we have some exciting new artist collaborations coming soon, so watch this space!

The National Gallery taps ARTiSTORY to grow licensing programme on a global scale

The cultural IP licensing specialist, ARTiSTORY has secured a new, multi-year partnership with The National Gallery Company through which it work to expand its licensing programme on a global scale.

Co-founded by Yizan He and Natasha Dyson, ARTiSTORY is a specialist in IP development working with museums, galleries, science centres, and libraries across the globe as it brings a spectrum of creative design, licensing,and retailing capabilities geared towards helping cultural organisations develop their licensing programmes.

The National Gallery is a home to more than 2,600 of the world’s most renowned paintings including 700 years of work from the late 13th to the early 20th century. Founded in 1824, just 38 paintings started what would become a National Collection of art. The gallery covers 46,396 square metres and is located north of Trafalgar Square in the centre of London.

Inspiration for ARTiSTORY’s cultural themes and design assets will derive form the Gallery’s collection of masterpieces by artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Cézanne, Gentileschi, and Van Gogh. The art movements represented in the gallery are various, from renaissance to impressionism, to rococo and romanticism, there is a wealth of stories to share with licensees, to create a range of product collections.

“We are thrilled to be working with Judith and her team and to finally be able to meet in person after so many months of communicating virtually. Adding the National Gallery’s image collection to our portfolio of IP has given us access to many of the world’s most sought after and iconic masterpieces,” said Natasha Dyson, co-founder and licensing director at ARTiSTORY.

“Our creative team have been busy working on our themes, design assets, including illustrations, patterns and prints, ready for launch in July. We can’t wait to see these design applied to products.”

Judith Mather, buying and brand licensing director at the National Gallery, added: “We are very excited about working with ARTiSTORY to further grow our licensing programme.”

Poetic Brands teams with the National Gallery to launch art inspired apparel and accessories

Apparel licensee, Poetic Brands, has teamed up with the National Gallery to create a range of adult apparel and accessories based on its impressive and extensive artworks.

Incorporating a wide range of products, including adult daywear apparel and outerwear, swimwear, flip flops, beach bags and towels, adult nightwear and essentials, and accessories including caps and luggage, the move has been made in response to the growing interest in art in the licensed fashion sector.

The National Gallery was founded in 1824 and houses over 2,600 paintings from the late 13th to the early 20th century in Trafalgar Square. With one of the greatest collections of art in the world, the Gallery displays many world-famous works, such as van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait, Velázquez’s The Rokeby Venus, Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

Anne Bradford, director, Poetic Brands, said: “Over the past year we have seen a significant interest in art within the fast fashion segment of the industry and subsequent demand across the High Street. The National Gallery offers us a wealth of assets from a number of artists that translate beautifully onto apparel and nightwear. 

“We are also developing luggage which although isn’t hugely in demand at the moment, the time will come when we are all travelling again and this collection will provide premium, and easily identifiable pieces for consumers to be proud of on the carousel.

“Working closely with the team at the National Gallery, we have ensured that their art collection has in turn created a fashion collection that is already very much in demand.”

Judith Mather, buying and brand licensing director, the National Gallery, added: “We are very excited about the partnership with Poetic Brands which will bring old master paintings to a new audience. It is amazing to bring our collection to modern life.”

Myne Cards joins retailer Squizzas!’s growing line up of licensed gifts and accessories

Myne Cards has taken its place alongside staples of the licensed gift space such as Funko and licensed Monopoly, having found a new home with the gift retailer Squizzas. The online and brick and mortar retailer has seen ‘exponential sales’ throughout lockdown, and has now bolstered its licensed catalogue with the complete Myne Cards range.

The Myne Cards licensed range currently includes the likes of Wallace and Gromit, Skinnydip London, The National Gallery, Beryl Cook, To Home From London, Howard Robinson’s Selfies, and Dominique Vari.

“This is an exciting time for Myne Cards. As travel restrictions slowly start to ease, we are seeing more customers take their bank card protection seriously,” said Keith Milburn of Myne Cards. “Working with Squizzas! who has a wide presence online, is a great match as their customers love eye-catching licensed designs.”

Luke Bedden of Squizzas!, added: “Our customers enjoy buying and collecting fun, interesting products with their favourite brands, from Funkoverse to Monopoly, so adding the Myne Cards licensed range provides more choice to our customers, just as they start travelling again.”

The full range of Myne Cards is available now at