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Investors keen on works of Dakshina Kannada artists

Renuka Phadnis
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‘Expectation', a painting by Jayashri B., that was exhibited in Mangalore.
‘Expectation', a painting by Jayashri B., that was exhibited in Mangalore.

At least five to six artists from Dakshina Kannada district get their paintings sold in metros. Art lovers, hotels and office interiors constitute 30 to 40 per cent of the buyers. The rest are art investors, they say.

Ravi M.R. has sold his paintings in Bangalore and Mumbai. He has sold 250 to 300 paintings, all on the topic of rain, in the last five years. His paintings are priced at Rs.10, 000 to Rs.50, 000.

There are 17 to 18 such investors in Mumbai who keep scouring art exhibitions for promising artworks, says a source. “Investors look for resale value. A painting for Rs.10, 000 now should sell for Rs.50, 000 to 70,000 after 15 years. They are very well-informed about strokes, forms and methods.” They know which are copies, what elements are borrowed, because then, the sales will collapse, he says.

Kandan G., an artist based in Panjimogaru, is getting ready for an exhibition and sale, his first in North India, in Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal.

A self-taught artist, he has sold his paintings on Yoga and meditation, in Muscat, Dubai, Singapore and the US. One of his paintings sold for Rs.40, 000 at an exhibition in Bangalore. He once sold 10 paintings at one exhibition in Muscat.

Fixing the price

Vasant Rao, who said he works from Udupi and Mangalore, has held solo and group shows at the national level. He has found good response to his paintings in Mumbai and Baroda. His paintings have sold at Rs.15, 000 to Rs.55, 000. He said that much research goes into fixing the price of paintings. One is by intuition.

The artist has worked for the painting and the price depends on the interest of the buyer. It is not easy.

Artists have to ‘live the concept', only then does it reflect in the painting. Especially when painting children or tribal people, one has to observe them carefully and live amongst them, he says.

He, however, does not travel to other cities. He has built a network over the years and knows works entirely through emails and Facebook to sell his art.

But he still takes classes in training and communication to supplement the earnings from painting. “It gives me the scope to experiment (in art),” he says.

Another artist from Dakshina Kannada district said that he had been getting his artwork sold for the last six years including to buyers in Switzerland.

The highest price his painting has been tagged at is for Rs.62, 000. It was a painting of a “kambla” and it sold one and a half years go, he said.

Sources from the region's art world say that Mumbai and Delhi are the hubs for art buyers. “But Bangalore is rising with corporate buyers,” they say.

According to them, a painting priced at Rs.25, 000 in Mangalore will sell for Rs.60, 000 in Bangalore and Rs.1 lakh in Delhi.

However, artists are never able to get directly connected with the buyers.

Art consultants in metros, who are usually gallery curators and owners, have a stranglehold and it is extremely difficult to break into that circuit, they said.

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