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As you fine dine, relish art for free

Liffy Thomas
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Wall Art:Artist S. Mohana Sundaram beside his paintings displayed at Tangerine in Alwarpet.— Photo: S.S. Kumar
Wall Art:Artist S. Mohana Sundaram beside his paintings displayed at Tangerine in Alwarpet.— Photo: S.S. Kumar

The once plain walls here have a new aura as frames holding different colours, themes and mediums adorn them.

These are not art galleries or the studio of an art lover, but restaurants that believe that a dash of artwork can do-up their interiors, simultaneously promoting the works of an artist.

Restaurants in the city are converting their walls into an exhibition space, displaying the works of different budding artists periodically.

For over two years now, Tangerine restaurant has been promoting works of artists who are looking for a platform or budding artists who needs to add to their collection. The works are exhibited on a no-cost basis, but the select works do go through “some amount of objective judging”, by Illango's Artspace.

Asvita on R.K. Salai and Crimson Chakra in Gandhi Nagar are a few others that see a point in refreshing their ambience with new works of art every now and then.

A week ago restaurant Mash Restocafe, Nungambakkam, put up a message on Facebook inviting artists to send in their portfolios, which could be photographs, murals, paintings or anything interesting for that matter.

About seven to eight art works could be displayed at anytime, for a maximum of three months. “Currently, we are not looking at charging anything from the artist, but we might bring in some amount of commission depending on the response the work gets,” says Rohit Zachariah, one of the managing partners of the joint.

Artist and vision

While most budding artists would love to find such an opportunity, getting the right talent can be a challenge. As Arun Rao, one of the partners of Tangerine, says: “We generally have one artist a month, sometimes works of two or three artists a month and sometimes, none.” It is difficult to get works of artists, also because of “subjectivity” in some cases.

Nikhil Moturi, owner, Crimson Chakra, agrees. “I am particular that the art work has to go with the mood of the place,” says Mr. Moturi, adding that he is looking at a possible tie-up with a fine arts college where works can be displayed more periodically.

While display might be an important aspect, do these works of art find buyers?

“There are some artists who would have sold nothing so far, and others who have made over Rs.60,000, but everything is linked directly to the artist,” adds Mr. Rao. However, most artists don't have an issue with that. “If I hold an exhibition in a gallery, either I give one of my works to them or give 33 per cent of the commission of the sold paintings,” says S. Mohana Sundaram, an animator with a private firm with painting as his hobby.

“Every time I have a series of works ready, the fact that I find a platform without much fuss is itself so welcome.”

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