Millionaire Asia

New Vistas in Art

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Art galleries are changing with times thanks to technology and online methods making sure that auctions are changing.

Fluidity and creativity with innovation and technique rule over the art industry today. There has been a paradigm shift towards a more contemporary take on art creating its own unique aura and an interactive fusion combining it with performance arts such as music and dance.

Personal Connection

In current times, art displays are designed to be more intimate with guests, ignite conversations about artistic processes and interpretations as well as invite potential buyers who are connoisseurs of experience. Sanjana Shah, Creative Director, Tao Art Gallery avers, “over the past two decades, Tao Art Gallery has experienced a wave of change. From the rich golden days, when the walls were resplendent with works of Indian masters such as Raza, Husain & Tyeb Mehta to a modernistic age, when interactive and innovative mediums such as vinyl, giclee, metal, ceramic and photographs are explored and delved into with great precision and technique. The auction market is rapidly gaining acceptance and patronage, due to which players are in a position to experiment and present antiquities of various segments that range from Modern and Contemporary Indian Art to Vintage Cars. “Our diversification spree includes, foray into categories such as  Heirloom Jewellery & Silver, Exceptional Timepieces, Southeast Asian Contemporary Art, Memorabilia, Textiles, Rare Books, Numismatic and Vintage & Classic Cars. Bidding online enhances the ease with which users can participate in our auctions, barring demographic and geographic constraints, therefore the auction market is witnessing a new set of formats, as well as a new and fledging buyer base,” says Tushar Sethi,

Silence of Words Curated by Akhilesh (Art x Dance)
Silence of Words Curated by Akhilesh (Art x Dance)

Online Connect

The bidding process in online auctions is extremely user friendly and real time. Bidders can participate either through the website or the mobile application (phone bidding facility is also available during the closing windows). “Prospective bidders can place bids for lots that interest them either through the written bid process, wherewith they themselves enter or advise Astaguru to register a valid bid on their behest. The written bid must exceed the lower estimate value, (in case the lot is offered with a reserve price). If the bidder has been outbid, the respective party is informed via a text and email, thereafter which, within the stipulated time period they can place further bids. The other method is to place bids in real time and follow the auction live,” explains Sethi. Incidentally, Astaguru’s web and mobile app have been created using state of the art technology, with an enhanced security feature in order to ensure the efficacy of the bidding process.

Silence of Words (Curated by Akhilesh)- Art x Dance
Silence of Words (Curated by Akhilesh)- Art x Dance

Tech Talk

Technology is rapidly changing people’s perception and enhancing the experience towards art. Immersive 360° virtual guided tours help guests navigate through exhibitions at the touch of their finger. QR Scan bar codes set up at various corners of the gallery provide unlimited access to e-catalogue bearing all the relevant data from our ongoing exhibitions. Inventory Management Softwares such as GalleryManager provides a web-based solution for tracking and maintaining our inventory on a secure and real time basis. “Digital & Social media collaborations play a vital role in today’s internet driven world. Social media insights and inbuilt analytics help us reach out to a wider audience base and connect with our clientele on a personal level, catering to more specific needs. It also allows us to sell more affordable art to younger new collectors,” opines Shah. Eikowa a curated online art gallery started by Vaishnavi Murali, a Forbes 30 under 30 alumna has recently launched a visualization and rendering engine that allows patrons to visualize how the art will look in their homes. The ability to visualize the real-size render of the painting in their homes allows patrons to better select art that matches the context of the home, which is often the primary consideration for patrons. “The engine also enables selecting the right size and style of framing. In essence, the engine makes choosing between various “equally liked” paintings easier – patrons can choose the painting that has just the right size, and the right palette that complements that rest of the décor. The feature has been designed as web-first to ensure that no separate mobile app installs are required, and has been fully integrated with the rest of the online experience to ensure that paintings on the platform can be easily shortlisted and tried through the feature. Eikowa aims to continually improve user experience through the right mix of digital experience and offline support with a planned roadmap aligned to the latest development in AR technologies, and aimed at balancing digital and offline preferred interactions,” says Murali. The platform that makes buying fine art easy for its patrons also tries to overcome the key issues that are stagnating the growth of Indian art market.

Innovative mediums explored by Viraj Mithani in our show titled 'Boomerang' (medium used Vinyl & Giclee)
Innovative mediums explored by Viraj Mithani in our show titled ‘Boomerang’ (medium used Vinyl & Giclee)

Overcoming Barriers

The main issues that ail art purchases include like lack of discovery potential and restriction to only selected artists, lack of information which leads to anomalies in pricing as well as hesitation from buyers in terms of assessing optimal value for art and perception of art as a complicated purchase. Through a curated platform, that focuses on bringing together the best of Indian contemporary artists (across senior, mid-career and promising artists), continuous research that focuses on original content generation, as well as an omni-channel experience spanning across its convenient web platform, view-in-your-house provisions, as well as partnerships with marquee hotels, Eikowa has done a stellar job in solving for these issues. Additionally, Vaishnavi and her art advisors are always a phone call away to provide bespoke and complimentary art advisory to those looking to buy art. Investors love art, but many have vague know-how on valuations and how to monetize the same. Brand Torque believes in working with fresh talents and through this forum , they would curate unique collection of Art, through known or upcoming artists and offer expert advice to their investors to look at Art from a new dimension though their Art partner “Aura Art”, led by  Rishi Raj Sethi according to Madhushree Dutta, Founder & CEO, Brand Torque LLP. Traditionally auctions comprise the secondary market, which means a platform to bid for the rare works of top Masters – works that would create new records for the artist (in that respective subject / genre) and where the primary market has nearly dried up.  However, of late, we see many new artists appearing on the auction scene, despite there being a primary market for the artist.  For instance, rarer works of an artist like T Vaikuntam are featuring in many of the auctions. Given the geographic expansion of the buyer base, across India and other parts of the world, online auctions are working very well. Besides, new buyers are able to participate in the works of above artists appearing in the auction circuit at more affordable prices. With many more artists getting re-rerated sooner, we see this trend encompassing many Regional Masters first (such as Vrindavan Solanki, Sidharth, Yusuf) and then other senior Post-Modernists,” avers Dutta. How you buy art is changing and changing for the better and as a consumer, you are in charge so kudos to that.

This story first appeared in Millionaire Asia’s Jan-Feb 2020 issue here:

All images in this post are courtesy Tao Gallery

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