Love art, but can't afford? Try renting
In a city where every other nook and cranny is an art gallery of sorts and almost everyone has an opinion about which stroke went awry and which colour doesn't go with the theme, the idea of accessibility, flexibility and affordability of renting and showcasing original art has found many takers.
And the Art Renter started by Narayan Gopalan and P D Ganapathy earlier this year, has many customers who 'buy' original art of different values on rent. Customers can rent artworks for 1-12 months and then change it with another rented one after a certain period. "This allows customers to display various pieces of art at their location, keep the surrounding vibrant and invest a far lesser amount up front," says Gopalan.
A candid conversation with Renu George, owner of Gallery Time & Space, Lavelle Road got Narayan thinking. George had revealed that business was not picking up. "The current art market isn't very profitable in sales. Hence we were looking at an alternative medium to promote art. This idea has been executed before around the world, and we just adapted the model to suit the Indian market," says Narayan.
The gallery supplies the art, while the Art Renter provides a platform for customers to rent it and also have it delivered and picked up.
Acrylic on canvas, watercolours, lithography...the choices are many. More than 40 artists and names like Mridul Chandra, JMS Mani, Vijay Nagvekar, Amit Bhar have found their way on the Art Renter's website. Narayan added that art works are acquired from upcoming talent too.
The concept is simple: making art accessible for all. Narayan claims that not all galleries make a profit. "The biggest thrill people get about the idea is the ability to change the art. Owning art as an investment is not as common as it is in more developed nations. By renting art, and making it more affordable, we feel we are increasing the population of people who can afford art," he says.
Currently the startup caters to hotels, shopping malls, institutions, etc. and since its launch, Art Renter has been appreciated by young artists who are looking at new ways to promote their work.