"I wanted to give people a slice of local life"
Indian local artists have a rich variety of modern and traditional art forms to offer to the world.
However, a lot of raw talent do not get to show their art due to a lack of platforms.
But Rajasthan-based Kartik Gaggar has created a platform to help local artists. The organisation is named Rajasthan Studio.
The platform provides an opportunity for both local artists and tourists.
The studio provides artists a free-flowing platform for learning, networking, and leisure, all in one place.
On the other hand, it also provides a one-stop place for tourist to experience the variety of Indian art forms.
Thirty-year-old Kartik Gaggar is a charted accountant by profession.
Dealing with numbers all day, Kartik was looking for something so that he could take a break from the hectic lifestyle.
Kartik had an interest in art and was looking for a place that would offer experiential travel related to arts in India.
Despite an extensive search, he could not find anything suitable.
Therefore, he came up with an idea. He launched a startup in 2018 and named it Rajasthan Studio.
Kartik told Your Story:
“After extensive research and documentation for two years, I mapped out a concrete plan, shortlisted art forms and selected about 15-20 master artisans, and founded Rajasthan Studio with a vision to not only bring in travellers, art enthusiasts and artists together, but to also conserve the dying art forms of the country.
“I wanted to give people a slice of local life in India, and build a global community of artists that thrive on mutual learning and valuable connections.”
Like most businesses, the pandemic led the Rajasthan Studio to move online.
But it ended up boosting the participation of artists.
It is now helping local artists to connect with art lovers all over the world.
Sharing the details of the online system, Kartik said:
“Through Instagram Live, we made sure to connect our followers with the ones who are making an impact in their fields.
“We also introduced curated virtual art experiences for corporates, art lovers, and individuals.”
Rajasthan Studio is also offering virtual classes to art lovers, and offering a platform for local artists to teach their art.
This method is helping the studio promote papier-mâché sculpting, Jaipur blue pottery, art engraving, wooden block making, and meenakari (a kind of art form on silver).
“We charge 20 per cent service fees from the artists, that means, we give 80 per cent of the total earnings of the art workshops to the artists, and keep the remaining commission.”
Rajasthan Studio has also taken another initiative to help local artists financially during the pandemic.
Since the tourism industry is worst hit by Covid, the studio organises live online performances of the local artists.
The initiative is called Aathun and it is using a YouTube channel with pay-as-you-like model.
Aathun also got recognition from the ‘Outlook Traveller Responsible Tourism Awards’.
The program secured a silver in the ‘Best Alternative Livelihood Tourism’ category of the awards.
“We continue to work on Aathun and have added various segments to it focused on preserving and promoting the folk culture of the country.”
Kartik Gaggar is ambitious about the future of Rajasthan Studio.
“With Rajasthan Studio, I had a 10-year vision, but the pandemic has impacted it greatly because it has just taken away two good years to make it a model that is investment-pitch ready.
“There are no regrets because the pandemic also helped us tap into new opportunities, opening up many other doors for us.”
It started with 10 workshops a month in July 2020. It now offers more than 10 workshops a day.
For the future, Rajasthan Studio aims to connect with more than 500 artists all over India.