An idea is just the beginning. It takes unwavering belief and focus to turn an idea into reality. Swearing by these thoughts is Pratima Sinha of SPJIMR, who added to the list of young entrepreneurial ventures with her initiative - 'ARTistocracy'. Fresh out of Shri Ram College of Commerce, she is motivated and focussed on making a mark in the field of art and entrepreneurship. Her venture- ARTistocracry provides a platform for budding artists - without any prior recognition or experience- to showcase their artistic talent in student led exhibitions.
-Pratima Sinha, SPJIMR- Finance, Batch of 2013-15
Being an entrepreneur necessitates one to be ready to be faced with uncertainty and challenges at every front and still fighting for one's believes. As Vince Lombardi says, "Winners never quit and quitters never win", even after being led down by a several art houses, Pratima never gave up. This instead inspired her to show the world that age or experience is no boundary to talent.
She recently organised the second edition of ARTistocracy in Mumbai. The exhibition saw a huge audience of art lovers who were mesmerised by the amount of talent displayed at the event. One of them exclaimed "Creativity has no boundaries as epitomised by this exhibition". The artists overwhelmed by the appreciation of their work spent a gala time at the exhibition interacting with the clients, refusing to leave till the very end.
Excerpts from the Interview with Pratima Sinha about ARTistocracy and her passion for art....
Tell me about Artistocracy? And how did you get the idea or concept for the Artistocracy?
As artists, my friend Somya Suresh and I faced a lot of hurdles last year when we approached several recognised art galleries requesting them to display our works. We were told that we didn’t have enough experience or a degree in fine arts and were asked to come back after 3 years. This made us think “Why not have our own platform to bring artists and art patrons together?”.
This thought later formed the seed of our very own venture ARTistocracy. So in 2013 with some of our arts works and more than 100 artworks of 35 other promising artists, without any professional backing or name in the industry, we held our first exhibition In Hauz Khas Village, Delhi. The idea was to give a commercial angle to our passion so that we can sustain it at a professional level.
All pepped up and motivated by the positive response to our first exhibition we organised a second exhibition - this time in the potpourri of art and culture in India, our very own Mumbai. The venue of the exhibition was Cheval at Kala Ghoda, Fort.
To keep fresh thoughts and ideas coming we have launched our Facebook page where we upload art lessons and art facts and provide a platform for artists associated with us to gain recognition.
Why do you think most of the artists face hurdles while approaching the art galleries?
The art galleries appreciate the work but don’t take the ‘risk’ of exhibiting these. They have various reasons for it, some say they won’t sell, while others aren't ready to bet on inexperienced artists.
Given that you started at a very young age, what are your plans for the future? You're going to continue with this or do you plan to take up a job and stick to that?
ARTistcracy was started with a passion for art and because of the urge to fight rejection at the hands of the established art-houses. This year, for our second exhibition, we have worked even harder and have filled all gaps that remained unfilled the last time. We plan to take ARTistocracy to higher levels each year.
There has been a lot of push and motivation coming from the artists, friends and family to make ARTistocracy a perennial phenomenon rather than an annual event. But currently we wish to root our feet firmly on to the ground by focussing on our careers and conventional jobs while focussing on annual exhibitions in cities like Kolkata, Bengaluru etc. Once we are all settled in our jobs and have enough funds to set up our own art galleries, we will be better able to fulfil our dream of supporting budding artists like ourselves on a regular basis.
Was it your only your interest in art or a search for a business?
Like they say “Follow your passion and success will follow”. Both of us consider ourselves lucky enough to be able to find a business which suits extremely well with our passion.
That said we also believe that calling this venture a business is too early given that we haven’t exactly been profit making and profit making wasn't ever our primary objective.
But we do want to carry this forward in a very professional and effective way. I am constantly trying to use knowledge gained through MBA to take this venture to new heights . We are primarily focussing on brand building, fostering association with artists and developing ties with our clients. The guiding mantra is sustainability over immediate gains.
What was the biggest challenge that you have faced? How did you overcome it? Or if not, what did you learn from it?
One of the unique characteristics of the art market is that it is very niche, fragmented and limited only to certain pockets of the society. Thus reaching out to the art patrons was be a tricky part. Most of the reputed art galleries in this country survive based on the database of art buyers which they have been developing over the long duration of their existence.
And being students it becomes even more difficult to network especially with high net worth individuals who comprise the majority of the art patrons. Given that we managed to sell only 10% of the art works displayed during our first exhibition.
This year being in the culture capital of India helped us a lot and by explaining our cause and the reason of existence to several art galleries we were able to get their support in terms of the database of the art buyers. This really helped us in impacting lives of artists like us in a much bigger way this time.
Your second exhibition just happened so how was it different this time? How was the response of the clients and artists?
My friend and I were in our final year of graduation when we first organized ARTistocracy. It was our first hands on experience at event management and everything from inviting applications, arranging funds, fixing and setting up the venue and marketing the event was done by the two of us. Although we were mostly content with our efforts, there were a few mistakes from our side. We were unable to target the right audience last time and it was our biggest regret.
This time we made sure that our guest list was just right and as a result the artists were highly impressed by us and were swelling with pride looking at their artworks being displayed and appreciated.
Social networking played a great role in marketing the event to artists as well as to art lovers. With the initial brand that we had built from our first exhibition, some of our loyal artists participated this time too, apart from which we were able to rope in some new artists. In all 20 brilliant artists, specializing in different forms of visual art, displayed their works in Mumbai.
Given that the market for art and painting is niche, what are your future plans for expansion?
Art is something that is inherent in everyone in some way or the other and that is something that will never die. Artists are born every day and struggle for a chance to have people appreciate their work. For those who don't have this kind of spotlight, we build it for them.
Art, I believe is one thing that has no boundaries or routine or control. It a medium to express anything and everything. Words that can’t be said and visions that can’t be shown, can be beautifully depicted through the use of art, through any medium of art! Hence, art, even though stereotyped as niche, probably covers the largest scope of our actions and existence.
What's your mantra in life that gets you going?
I very strongly believe that there is no rule or route to success! Everyone’s path is different but it is important that we love what we do and wait to find our real passion to take us through till the end!
Jasmine Makkar is a first year PGDM- Finance Student at SPJIMR. She has completed her graduation in Economics(H) from Lady Shri Ram College, DU. She enjoys writing, dancing and is a theatre enthusiast.
Follow Jasmine at jasminemakkar.insideiim.com