Sharan Apparao, proprietor of Apparao Galleries, talks about her ideas, career and success.
When not many thought of art business, she did. When not many believed in brand building for art and artists, she did. In her words, “ I think ahead of time and observe what others do not see,” and this propels her to new heights on the national and international arena of art business. Sharan Apparao, proprietor of Apparao Galleries, Nungambakkam, and a recipient of a number of Women Achievers Awards lives by the mantra, ‘love what you do'.
Sharan started the gallery when she was 21, (in 1984) drawing inspiration from Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The story of Apparao Galleries is no less inspiring. She started small - in Chennai - more on an adventurous scale and that excitement is still alive. “I just gave it a shot. I believed that I could find a way out,” she reminisces. She looked beyond the canvas, sketching a business plan and now as a gallerist and curator, her diary is full, conducting regular shows across Indian metros as well as in Singapore, London, Dubai and Paris.
Looking back, she says, nothing was smooth. “The standards I set for myself and the goals I set were tough. But I was determined to work them out.” And she did. She manages Apparaoart Auctions, her auction house and ‘Art Route', export firm, through which she takes contemporary Indian Art to the Indian Diaspora. She also writes on art and travel for various publications.
On promoting new artists and contemporary art, she says she goes by her instinct while choosing the art and artists, and quips that the women use it more easily than men.
A fine arts student, Sharan did not take up the paint brush. Instead she preferred being the platform. “I was more into organising shows and coming out with business ideas,” she says, adding, “you need endurance to be an artist. It takes more than just talent.”
People started recognising art only a decade ago and that took things to a different level, she says. But she points out that art is not a glamorous field. “You are selling a paper, a canvas. And people have to believe that it has immense value. It's not an easy task. You are basically doing brand building and it needs a lot of depth, insight. It's like any other business,” says Sharan who is rated the best entrepreneur among 21 such persons in the country.
“Juggling home and work forces many women away from art,” she says. But things are different for her. She says, “It's easier for me than for most women because I love what I am doing and that gives me energy and creative ideas on combining both.” She vouches for the idea - Enjoy what you do or do what you love – for success. A self-assured Sharan says that money is not what she has been looking at, but art – for art sake. That keeps her going.