Birmingham Platform Reshaping the Art World

Cosimo’s commission free model helps artists sell direct to collectors

Cosimo is an online marketplace and platform which empowers emerging artists to sell their work directly to collectors, without commission fees – so they can turn what they love into what they do.

Many of the Cosimo artists are Brummie favourites, from General Blimey, to Imogen Morris, and Tomas Rowell – whose work can be found alongside that of emerging artistic talent from across the UK and even further afield!

Founded by John Sewell, a University of Birmingham Art History graduate who was frustrated by his experiences working in the commercial gallery sector – and especially the impact of high commission fees on both artists and their collectors – Cosimo is on a mission to make art more transparent, accessible, and affordable for all.

“Working in the commercial art sector, I quickly realised that the traditional commission-based model was impacting both artists and their buyers. For artists fortunate enough to get into a gallery, it meant that any sales they did make resulted in squeezed margins; while for buyers, it meant prices were often skewed, opaque and expensive. When you combined this with the overriding sense that galleries were intimidating environments, both on and offline, it became clear that an alternative was needed – one that enabled direct and transparent connection between artists and their collectors. Ultimately, if I – as someone who was very much ‘in’ the art world – didn’t feel welcome, then we were undoubtedly locking out huge numbers of people who would want to support artists and own their work if they felt it was possible.”

In the last year, Cosimo has gone from strength to strength. Not only has the team grown from one to four, but Cosimo has helped artists sell thousands of pounds of work to hundreds of collectors, and there are now more than 250 artists signed up to the platform.

Much of the start-up’s recent success has come on the back of a year-long programme of support offered by the University of Birmingham called Elevate – which supports graduate entrepreneurs as they make their first steps into the world of business.

It was through this programme that the company was awarded a £15k grant to support and grow the business over the last 12 months, as well as free office space in the Grade II listed Exchange in Centenary Square.

Now Cosimo is getting ready to take things to the next level, and grow its community of artista and art lovers.

After securing further investment in recent months, they will be opening up the opportunity to everyone who wants to join their mission to build a new renaissance, and it will be possible to do so by investing as little as £20 in the company through their upcoming crowdfunding campaign.

It’s free to sign up and join the community for both artists and art lovers at

And to register your interest in our upcoming crowdfunding campaign you can sign up here:

Social Media Links:
Insta: @cosimoartonline