Based in Bengaluru, the ‘Art Loka’ started off as a platform for Indian artists to showcase their craft on a global platform. The gallery is owned by freshmen entrepreneurs whose main clients consist of architects and interior designers across Asia and even parts of Europe.
The ‘Art Loka’ is an online gallery that was created with the purpose of publicising the work of Indian artists and craftsmen on a global platform. It is the brainchild of Shruthi Muniyapla and Soshan Soma – childhood friends who quit their jobs at Infosys and Softvent Services to pursue the idea.
India has an ancient and rich heritage when it comes to art and culture. However, when it comes to the global market which is valued at almost EUR 43 billion, the country only owns about 0.5 pc of the share. According to Muniyapla, “Our aim is to capture about 10 pc of the global art market within the upcoming five years.” Their approach towards this goal includes working their way up to becoming one of the top art galleries promoting Indian art.
The duo faced immense challenges especially because they had little to no experience when it came to this particular domain. It took them a year to get a proper grip on the world of Indian art and aesthetics. It is after this that they launched their website where they displayed portraits, paintings, sculptures and indigenous toys.
Building a business
The website was not an immediate success and many of their campaigns to sell art online failed miserably. Following this, their campaigns focused on architects, interior designers, builders and designers. Soon, orders were flooding in and the duo could chalk the new campaign as a success.The start-up showcases 1,000 works of art from more than 80 artists from Karnataka, West Bengal, Delhi and Kerala on its website which acts as a discovery site for potential customers. The order volumes have increased up to around INR 1 million per month for artworks ranging from portraits and paintings to sculptures and wall art.
Showcasing the talent
In association with Hyatt Centric MG Road, Art Loka has launched the week-long ‘Namma KarnaARTaka’ art show and work shop. With this, they hope to bring the problems faced by artists. “Most artists have to pay up as much as INR 100,000 on a weekly basis in order to have their artworks put up in a decent art exhibition,” said Soma. “No gallery is willing to showcase works of upcoming and unknown artists except for Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath and Venkatappa Art Gallery, which charge INR 1,000 a day for their space. But, it is so heavily sold out that artists need to book the space one year in advance.”
Their campaign attempts to put an end to the monopoly while also providing a space to encourage young artists to learn the craft of their choice. They sold 53 paintings in the show with the most expensive one being a creation by Chandranath Acharya selling at about INR 134,000. Their workshops are reportedly popular and are attended by about 60 children and 25 adults on a monthly basis. The youngest of the attendees is aged four while the oldest is 75 years old.
Soma and Muniyapla hope that their venture contributes to enhancing awareness of multiple works of art and artists, as well as, paving the way to corporates appreciating and buying original pieces of art.