WGBH’s Henry Santoro sat down with Angela Roldan, director of business development at Artfinder, a company that connects potential buyers with artwork online. The company recently released findings of a survey it conducted that lists Boston one of the top 10 art-buying cities in the country. Below is a loosely edited transcription of their conversation. 

Henry Santoro: How shocked were you when you realized that the Boston art-buying public is really head and shoulders above New York in ranking? 

Angela Roldan: Oh we were really surprised. As you said, most people would automatically think cities like New York, even L.A. but as soon as Boston came up in the top 10 we realized, we've got something here and we've got to look into it.  

HS: How was the survey conducted? 

AR: It was conducted based on Artfinder sales and comparing our sellers and our buyers.  

HS: Listeners would be surprised to find out what the number one art buying city in America is. And it really shocked me. What is it? 

AR: The number one art-buying city in the U.S. is actually Tallahassee, Florida. It surprised us all. What we found there is that people are buying a lot larger works than they are in bigger cities like New York. Of course, there is a constraint of space in bigger cities. But people in Tallahassee are exploring larger works and actually diverting from the typical type of artworks which you would imagine would be landscapes and seascapes. They're actually testing the waters with more abstract art.  

HS: Is it really buying online or is it connecting to an artist online? 

AR: It's a combination of both. Within Artfinder, we actually encourage our buyers to connect with the artist, to talk to them, to message them. We have a messaging system where they can talk to them. And ultimately, the purchase does happen online.  

HS: Buying art is a very personal thing to do. How does Artfinder give advice on something like that? 

AR: We like to think of ourselves less like a marketplace and more like a dating site. We connect the buyer with the artwork and, as you say, it's so personal you can't really describe it. It’s impossible to type in words to describe something that is so visual. So, it's more of a feeling of when you see it, you know it. 

HS: You know it. It speaks to you.  

AR: Exactly. I think Bostonians are a lot more classic and conservative and they tend to like a lot more paintings and heavy oil paintings with textures. It's something that really appeals to the public here, not only in Boston, but also in the northeast. In comparison to that, we also discovered that Bostonians don't necessarily like people in their artwork. They’re very connected to landscapes, seascapes, but also animals. So I think it's really interesting to look at that.  

Click on the audio player above to listen to the full interview.