Like artwork? Don’t buy, just rent

Arts & Culture City

Art galleries in the city are renting out artwork to enthusiasts who are wary of committing to purchasing expensive artwork.


Bangalore, March 15, 2018: Kumar Ranjan, a Delhi-based artist, still vividly recalls the day when Shravani visited his studio and had a long conversation with him over the idea of art rentals. Ranjan is a self-taught artist who has six of his artworks in circulation, rented out.

An emerging trend among art galleries in Bangalore is to rent out art to individuals and organizations for a given period of time. This ensures artwork in galleries is opened up to a larger number of people.

Shravani Vatti is the founder of ArtEnthuse, an initiative that rents out art to corporate organizations. The initiative she started two years ago has clients from Bangalore and also from all over the country.

“See, sometimes people want to buy art works but because of the high price, they cannot afford it,” said Kumar Ranjan, a self-taught artist who currently has six of his artworks in circulation.

Shravani said there are different price tiers based on the cost of the painting. The monthly cost for art rentals starts at Rs. 2800 for a painting and can go up to Rs. 5600. They are installed using a “movable hanging mechanism” which does not require holes to be drilled into the walls. ArtEnthuse has artworks of over 500 artists from across the country available on rent. Apart from Kumar Ranjan, some of the artists who have worked with them in the past include M Singh and Anil Soni.

Shravani spoke about how this concept can be a form of “education” as a wider audience gets to learn and explore art without burning a hole in their pockets. She also explained how this initiative is helping struggling artists who are new to the market. “We collaborate with artists who decide the work they would like to give out for rent and in return they receive a certain amount every month.”

There are several other galleries that have adopted this concept such as  iArt gallery, Fidelitus Art gallery and Art Cave gallery, all in Bangalore. Padmaja Nagarur, founder of Artflute, had started an art rental service called ‘Pix my wall’ in 2013. However, this service isn’t in operation anymore as there weren’t too many takers, Padmaja said.

But, Shravani has a different story to tell. “I have been doing this since the past five years. I did not expect such an overwhelming response. I never thought art rental can be a good business model,” said Shravani. She added that there were several apprehensions when dealing with this concept but she hasn’t had any bad experiences yet.

She added that it is more difficult to pitch the concept to artists than to buyers as the former are usually apprehensive.

“Artists are usually wary of this concept and it is difficult to convince them. They worry about their art works getting damaged in the process,” said Kumar Ranjan.

However, Shravani added, contrary to what people believe, the art does not suffer any damage as they get the art installed in the premises. Also, when the artwork is in transit, it is never couriered as a framed work; it is rolled and securely packaged during transportation. Artenthuse has catered to companies like Hitachi, Info Edge, ValueMomentum, among several others.

Ranjan added that rarely has he ever faced any problem with his paintings getting damaged. The art works are also insured under this service, he added

“Regardless of any hesitance on the part of the artist, for the past two years there has been an astonishing intake especially in the corporate world,” said Shravani.