Art

In fine print

When it comes to art and its connect with a common man, one finds it to be not that strong. It requires lot of ideas and efforts to bring the two closer. L. Pl. Angappan strongly believes in it. Art fairs, public art initiatives, debates are needed, of course, but personal experiences with art can go a long way, feels Angappan, an art history student at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath (CKP). Which is why he is on a mission to take art to people. He has come up with an initiative — 100 Editions — through which he plans to make the prints of a few artists available to people online. Along with the work the buyer will also get a short art programme of curated 18 chapters on art online.

“I visited a lot of artists seeking their works to be made into editions. And artist P.S. Kumar opened my eyes. He asked why should people buy art? Just because we make paintings? Have artists done anything for people? Did you make a painting or a sketch in response to the horrible Nirbhaya case and send it to a newspaper?,” recalls Angappan, who has designed other projects too engaging people with art.

Angappan was also an uninitiated soul till 2014. An IT network engineer, he had met a lot of targets and was chasing new ones. “My career had grown drastically and then there was stagnation. The idea was to earn money and more money. I attended a short art course in CKP and my teachers such as H.A. Anil Kumar, Raghavendra Kulkarni and Shridhar Murthy exposed me to a world, I did not know existed.” Soon, a master’s programme in Art History followed.

The idea for 100 Editions is not new to Angappan. The art enthusiast had launched it last year. It failed. “A super-duper failure! But I know the mistakes I made. I realised the importance of marketing. I saw how a noodles ad, despite it not being nutritious, sells itself so well. How cleverly they use the colour theory. How the background is full of healthy food when two kids are being shown eating noodles. Have you noticed how a particular phone ad creates an urgency in you to book a phone? They say if you don’t book now, you won’t get it. They create a demand beforehand which is what I am going to do this time.”

To be rolled out in April-May, 2,50,000 prints (2,500 art works converted into 100 editions) will be available on two major e-commerce sites for Rs. 5,000. One person can buy a maximum of two works, which will be handed over to him/her at five distribution centres located in five different locations across the city. “But they need to pre-book. The works will be framed and mounted and you have to come to collect the work. We have also designed an app like an art calendar alerting them to latest art events in the city. I realised I have to treat art as a commodity which I didn’t do earlier. A big e-commerce brand was required, some value addition was needed to sell it.”

He will also keep a few editions in the reserve for builders, architects and interior designers. Angappan is reaching out to them convincing the lot to display it in relevant areas. “We can train their staff and offer them an art appreciation programme for free but display it for sometime and sell it later if they want to.” He set out in 2014 in search of artists willing to have prints of their works made. He met 140 artists out of which 25 such as S.G. Vasudev, P.S. Kumar, Subra, Chandranath Acharya, Krishna Shetty, Bijay Biswal, Milind Nayak, J.M.S Mani and few others agreed.

"Prints don't find much favour today. In 2015, when I launched 100 Editions, I would invite the buyers to art shows in galleries who soon felt there was nothing in it for them. After all, we were selling prints. The artists who agreed are the ones who really are working for the sake of art. They are open-minded and it has been more than a year nobody has asked me any questions about it," says Angappan adding that he had to be careful about selecting the works. "The work had to be relatable. There I sought the help of Bhagwan Chavan, a senior artist from Cholamandal to select the works.”

With all the funds generated through the exercise, Angappan plans to open an art space - Art Guild - a place for young artists particularly those who need a studio to practise art. “There are a lot of artists employed in corporate set-ups who want to create art but don’t have space. They will have to pay a monthly amount of ₹1,100 and will have to engage in one social project and do one exhibition anywhere they want to.”

Connecting the dots

Clean. is another ambitious programme launched by Angappan which utilises the element of art to further a social cause.

Launched last year in November 2016, at Rangoli Metro Art Centre on M.G.Road, children were taken to different experience zones designed by artists giving them an opportunity to understand the subject of hygiene and cleanliness through it. Later the children were given worksheets asking them to map their family tree and detailing traditional five habits of the family.

This year, Angappan plans to reach out to schools and colleges.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 6:21:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/In-fine-print/article17288539.ece

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