March 16, 2016
Images courtesy: Typography by Niteesh Yadav
Visual artists have always loved the idea of being able to work on their dream projects, but for a long time it remained just that. Most artists and designers find it difficult to make their art accessible in the form of prints and merchandise to art lovers and buyers because of the problem of financing and the heavy load of organising an inventory.
However, a recent boom in e-marketplaces for art has seen the smooth transition for many visual artists to establishing individual set ups. Having briefly explored the idea of online platforms and their role in a story on The Business of Design in Kyoorius 27, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the idea and understand the ease with which these platforms function.
First in a series on digital art and design bazaars, we spoke to the founder of Art&Found to understand the idea behind their space. Having worked as a Senior Art Director in various ad agencies, Aditya Mehta wanted to create a space to empower the artist community.
Adding, he says, “I had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented artists across the creative industries. This gave me perspective into a disorganised artist community that deserved better intrinsic and monetary value.”
Online platforms like Art&Found act as a great way to access a curated list of artists and their work, much like exhibition spaces at galleries, but on your fingertips. “We have created a curated platform for invite-only artists,” Aditya says, aiming to make buying art easy, for the new generation of collectors. With the sudden rise in the number of online spaces for art and design, each platform attempts to change the retailing process in its own way.
While these platforms can be a great way for artists to showcase their work and interact directly with their customers, Aditya believes that screening and selecting artists based on style, quality and originality of their work is an essential.
“What began as immense amount of homework has become standard procedure for signing up artists,” he says, talking about the selection process for the website that is an invite-only community but still manages to maintain a healthy range of all styles of art without interfering with the artists creatively.
What is making these online marketplaces so popular is that it is a win-win situation for both artists and buyers. While the artist doesn’t have to worry about printing, framing and shipping and can concentrate on the craft itself, the buyer finds a trustworthy medium to browse and transact and the platform focuses on perfecting and ensuring efficiency in production, marketing and delivery.
Talking more about the process of pricing and transparency in the system, Aditya says, “Artists get to set their own markup and we take a small commission on every sale, leaving the bigger chunk for the them. Using personalised dashboards, they can manage their art and track sales.”
A huge concern for many connoisseurs is that seeing and feeling the art in person is an important part of the process. However, the upcoming Art&Found SHOWCASE will try to bridge the gap by providing an on-ground space along with the online presence for art exhibitions where artists and art lovers can engage with art. An initiative to expand on the curated space and exhibit the top artists on the platform, it will also facilitate in-person purchases.
Art&Found is making a strong attempt to percolate through the intimidating atmosphere sometimes created by traditional galleries. “The challenge lies in breaking into a market that is heavily influenced by fine art that is expensive,” says Aditya, adding that they hope to change the way we purchase art by creating a platform for young emerging Indian artists.
Online bazaars are fringing an entirely new approach to the business of monetising art, making it easier for illustrators, graphic designers, typographers and artists of all kinds to quit 9 to 9 jobs to set up their own workspace. Stay tuned to the series to find out more on other such platforms.