Art as user experience: how online platform Artisera immerses the Art Café
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 380 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The Art Café at the Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel, a partnership with the Brigade Group, recently hosted an exhibition titled Melange. It was organised by art platform Artisera; the next exhibition is titled Ode to Krishna, and features artworks in the pichwai style from Rajasthan.
Artisera, founded by husband-wife duo Varun Backliwal and Lisa Jain, was launched as a one-stop online destination for fine art, collectibles, and home décor. It provides convenient access to a large collection of artworks beyond what is accessible in local stores and galleries. There is also a dedicated concierge service for personal support and guidance.
“For some buyers, a touch and feel experience is extremely important while buying high-value pieces of art. And so, we opened our first gallery space at Art Café in collaboration with the Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel,” explains co-founder Varun Backliwal, in a chat with YourStory.
See our interview with Art Café founder Nirupa Shankar here. She also spearheads the Brigade Group’s Real Estate Accelerator Programme (see our profile of REAP here, along with startup cohort profiles). The café is in a corridor connecting the World Trade Centre (WTC) and Sheraton; the WTC offers stunning views of Bengaluru as well, as one of the tallest buildings in the city.
At Art café, visitors can have a unique experience, pairing food with art. The café atmosphere comes across as less daunting or intimidating for new art buyers.
“We also partner with like-minded brands and stores in different cities across India, where we curate short-format art exhibitions,” Varun adds. Many regular clients and customers get the opportunity to have a physical interaction with his team as well.
Varun observes that mid-career professionals are expanding the art market in India today, and the practice of buying art online is becoming more popular. Artisera aims to increase exposure and education opportunities in art for a broader audience in India, and also connect overseas buyers to Indian art.
“We are making a conscious effort to educate our clients, patrons, and followers about different art forms, artists, and artistic styles. We write quality blogs, and conduct talks and artist interactions to help people relate to art more closely,” Varun explains.
Artisera has signed up more than 50 artists so far, and works with a range of art galleries. Featured art forms include contemporary and traditional Indian art, such as pichwais, miniature paintings, and Tanjore.
The Melange exhibition displays works by 14 established Indian artists with a range of subjects, mediums, and styles. Priced from Rs 40,000 to Rs 4.5 lakh, they include textured abstracts, spiritually-inspired works, mixed-media creations, figurative art, and depictions of nature, as shown in this photo essay.
The featured artists are Anand Panchal, Ashu Gupta, Basuki Dasgupta, Dinkar Jadhav, Gurudas Shenoy, HR Das, Kandi Narsimlu, Laxman Aelay, Madhuri Kathe, Naina Maithani, Praveen Kumar, Ramesh Gorjala and Roy K John.
Artisera is launching a new experience centre later this month in Indiranagar. Planned activities include talks on art appreciation and investment, curated walks, artist interactions, workshops for adults and kids, and dining experiences with food and art pairings.
Varun’s family has been trading in art for over a century, and he has also worked in the startup sector as a retail-tech advisor in a startup accelerator. Co-founder Lisa has experience as a banker, and now looks after design, content and client experience.
“Creativity is a prized skill and mindset today,” Varun emphasises. Appreciating art forms, the underlying thought processes, and the use of new tools and techniques helps imbibe creativity in viewers, he explains. It also helps make more informed decisions when buying art.
“It is important to just expose yourself to art, because it really does hold the power to change the way you look at the world around you,” Varun explains. He also has words of advice for aspiring artists and entrepreneurs.
“If you aren’t fully invested in your idea, then it will be very hard to find the motivation to keep going on tough days. Solid businesses are not built overnight. You have to keep trying new things, learn from mistakes and experiments, and move forward. Believe in your idea, and in yourself,” Varun signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and see how to bring the power of creativity deeper into your life?
Varun Backliwal, Artisera
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