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Drop in sales push art galleries online

Paintings at Mahua Art Gallery

Bangalore, 27-09-2017: The fall in the sale of paintings post demonetization and GST implementation, has resulted in galleries trying innovative solutions.

Galleries have devised new ways to tackle this problem. Parimala, manager at Crimson Art Gallery confirmed that business has been slow. Hence, the Crimson Gallery is launching a website to make art more accessible to a wider audience.
Naozar Daruwala, the proprietor of the Crimson Art Gallery said, “The number of sales this year as compared to the previous year is flat. No increase in sales is noticeable.”

Crimson Art Gallery’s online medium, YepArt, invites artists to register and become a member. It is an online marketplace platform where the artist can list and sell their work. There are multiple online payment options where one can either use their credit cards, debit cards or cheques. The main aim is to increase the customer base and reach out to a global market, as mentioned in their website.

Girish Babu, founder and director of the Indian Art Inc, an art consultancy firm which puts clients in touch with artists based on their requirements, spoke about the online medium. He said that selling art online is cost effective and it caters to a wider audience than a physical gallery. When art is exhibited, it includes costs of transportation and advertisements, which is an added burden when business is down, he said.

Kavita, who handles the Accounts Department at Mahua Art Gallery, said. The Art Collector, sister company of Mahua art gallery produces ‘print on canvas’ to push sales by making art affordable. Here, the piece of art is printed on archival canvas, which helps to retain the color and brightness of the paintings.

V. Lakshmanan, General Manager- Operations at Mahua Art Gallery, too spoke about how the ‘print on canvas’ technique is helping artists financially. The technique is used to replicate the work that the artist had originally produced. The artwork is affordable as it ranges   between Rs 3,500 – 32,000. When the piece of art is sold, the artist earns a royalty from the purchase.

Varun Backliwal, founder of Artisera, a platform to buy and discover art online, is of the view that there has not been any innovation on the gallery’s end when it comes to selling art. He says an online medium gives exposure to several artists as opposed to gallery exhibits which can promote only five to six artists.

Though the art gallery sells paintings online, V. Lakshmanan is skeptical if the online medium would increase sales. He said, the Indian market is not mature to buy art online. People still like to see the piece of art before buying it.
However, Varun Backliwal says, “The online medium becomes a channel for the offline world.”  Exposure to art online influences people to visit art galleries in person, said Varun

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