Exclusive Interview Questions: Ballast Lane Applications, LLC for Master Pieces: The Curator’s Game

We love Master Pieces: The Curator’s Game iOS app here at The games within the app are based on over 350 details from 54 masterpieces. They challenge you to identify the artist of a detail with help from clues and the ability to view the full work. There are three ways to play. The first two do not require any background in art history while the third is for those who know (or, think they know!) all about the classics.

We are currently reviewing this app but in the meantime we wanted to interview the developer, Larry Ehrhardt to find out how this app came to be materialised and especially how he made it so addictive, fascinating and downright entertaining. Read this exclusive interview now…

The Beginning


Please explain how your app was originally thought of and what were your thoughts behind the marketplace, specifically?

I had a copy of Tom Hoving’s 2005 book Master Pieces: The Curator’s Game and, shortly after the iPad came out, immediately recognized the book’s concept as a good fit for the iPad’s interactivity and media capabilities. Tom, a neighbor of my in-laws in Pawling, NY, was always interested in technology and was an early adopter of every device available. Tom passed away before the app was released, but I know he would have loved it.



Explain the design, how you came up with the colors and themes.

We really wanted to let the art speak for itself, so the design of the game play screens are very subtle (translucent buttons, some reflection, and a black background) and designed to feature the painting and the details. For the other views we went with a total custom look using art gallery backgrounds and art details as buttons.

Target Market


Who do you see as the main target market for this app in terms of age, genre and expenditure?

Our initial target were adults who had an interest in art and art history and wanted to refresh their knowledge (perhaps from long forgotten art history classes) or learn more about how to really look at art. Since we launched the app, we have been pleasantly surprised by how much kids (teens and kids as young as 6) like the app and how good they are at recognizing the details.

Production Process


How long did it take from the original planning to the production process of this app?

We had our first licensing discussions in August of 2010 and the app came out in January of 2011. So, about six months.



How do you predict sales to be, is there a good solid market for this style of app?

The feedback on the app has been universally positive from early users and reviewers. Our most important metric is that buyers feel they get their money’s worth with the app – which they tell us they have. Sales will follow from good reviews and word of mouth.



What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome regarding this app development?

I was lucky enough to have an excellent developer (Peter Stuart) and user interface designer (Jordan Languille) working me on the project so there really were not any hurdles. I’d say the one task that did take a long time and cost a lot of money was licensing the photographs and usage rights for the living artists. It was worth it, though, to get the quality of images that are now in the app.

Third Parties


Would you consider developing apps for third parties?

Yes, we already have a number of other projects in the works. We are always looking for great content that can be brought to life on the iPad.

App Store


What have you learnt from the App Store?

All the reporting, billing, distribution, and quality control are very valuable.
However, you need support of bloggers and independent app review sites to get the word out about one’s app.


Apple Support


Have Apple supported you well with your App development?

There is a great community of iOS developers who are sharing their approaches and libraries to help other developers.

The Future


What next, are you developing another app, would you go for the same genre again, if not which?    

We have launched MyEnergyTips which uses the power and proximity of the iPhone to help users make smarter choices every day about how and when to consume electricity that will combine into to a very large yearly savings impact.

This app is currently priced at $2.99 and is available in the App Store, here.

Our Support


What do you think about Have we helped you? Would you recommend us? Have we been supportive?

TheAppWhisperer is a great and super responsive. Thanks!

This app currently costs $4.99 in the App Store and is avaiable here.

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: