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Even though online art buying and selling have taken the world by storm and today, there are so many online art galleries, web-based networks and art marketplaces are available and have become popular among artists and art lovers around the globe, it is still an alien-concept for most of the Sri Lankan artists. Many local artists are mostly depending on traditional art buying and selling modes especially based on art galleries or personal selling via their personal websites which is quite difficult compared to an art gallery account. However, nowadays it is always recommended to sign up for an online art gallery account or join web-based networks and marketplaces to sell arts online with great convenience.

Aartzy one such online platform which can be accessed through www.aartzy.com, focusing on arts and crafts, a curated platform that showcases the talent of local and international creators where they benefit from the visibility garnered from international art buyers, which will thereby give them the opportunity to sell their work.

Currently it has categories in areas of paintings, photography and sculpture, in multiple genres where the work of creators is displayed, and their primary focus is on representing registered and featured creators in creating opportunities to get international recognition for their work.

The system of operation of Aartzy is quite simple as it operates as an intermediary between the creator and the buyer like any other online Art platform. In physical galleries, a buyer needs to physically visit a gallery and there are geographical limitations, but online galleries do not have this limitation as anyone with an internet connection can access and buy art online.

"This probably is still a new concept in Sri Lanka, but internationally this has been the sector with the best growth. Currently the total global art market is valued at $64Bn (Art Basel Annual Report) and the online sales of art alone is valued at $900Mn as of 2019 and there is a growth of 20 % + each year, which is a clear indication that this is the best option for experienced and emerging artists," said Janaka Perera the founder of Aartzy online platform.

Once a creator joins with Aartzy, they will get a personalized profile where their details such as career background, inspirations, and motivations are highlighted. Thereafter, all their products with processed images will be uploaded to their respective profiles. That profile can then be used as their personal art profile which can be shared with millions of potential art buyers worldwide. Potential art buyers will get notified of the products by Aartzy in multiple methods and they can buy these products online by visiting the website and selecting their preferred products.

Aartzy is a one of a kind art platform and it is clearly focused on the creator which is a novel concept in Sri Lanka. Aartzy considers their creators as the most valuable assets in the platform, and their objective is to create, enhance and safeguard their identities.

"We need to make sure creators spend their time creating art and have no need to worry about secondary issues such as promoting or selling their work. Also, creators need to have the freedom to express their thoughts and thereby create using their own respective styles. However, the current market in Sri Lanka does not allow them this freedom and most galleries do influence artists to adopt different styles which clearly prevents them in creating true masterpieces. We intend to change this," stressed Janaka.

Undoubtedly artists need to be financially stable to be creative. Therefore, Aartzy's primary objective is for them to have this financial freedom to achieve creative freedom. Aartzy does not charge a penny from the artists for the services they provide. "We have several options which we discuss with the artists joining our platform and agree on the most suitable strategy for them. Also, we offer multiple benefits to our artists including processing their products, developing content, pricing strategies, shipping, payments management and all related processes an artist otherwise must attend to. This indeed is one of the most significant factors which clearly differentiates us from other curators," said Janaka.

The brainchild of this noble initiative Janaka Perera got into the art business purely by chance. One time he was trying to buy a painting as a gift for a friend, and he came across several artists who were clearly struggling to sell their work without any knowledge about technology, new trends or sales strategies. Although these artists were supremely talented, this limitation resulted in them depending on buyers coming to them.

Thereafter, Janaka researched on this market and learnt that there is a void in the Sri Lankan art market. He has 24 years of corporate experience in multiple areas and it did not take long for him to realize that there is a need for a similar platform in Sri Lanka to take our own art and artists to the global market.

Starting a fresh brand is never easy nor getting artists on board. Janaka had to visit artists personally to introduce his objectives to them. As always initially there was resistance and he has been rejected by some as well. "You need a thick skin when you do business" Janaka said with confidence. However, gradually he was able to win trust of many artists when they got to know his genuine objective and they accepted Janaka and Aartzy with open arms. "I always have a bit of a soft corner towards the initial bunch of artists who trusted me and Aartzy. I have always been an art lover and helping my own people who create art gives me a lot of satisfaction. We do not have any institution to help artists in enhancing their artistic careers and achieving financial independence. Therefore, I love the little bit I can do to help artists achieve this through Aartzy," Janaka said.

Aartzy follows very liberal curation process as they do not have any artistic limitations on any artist or any of their creations, but it has to be professionally made. Therefore, Aartzy website is always open to anyone who is an emerging creator who creates modest work.

Although it is an inauspicious time for many businesses due to COVID-19 pandemic, the situation presented Aartzy with a lot of opportunities which would not have explored otherwise. Although they had to temporarily close down their physical gallery - Gallery FourLife which is located at 26, Boteju Road, Colombo 5 which is a partnership venture with Aartzy, there was no hindrance to their online presence.

Aartzy has a small but dynamic team and during the lock down where they used the time to explore new areas in the online art market and further develop the platform to international standards. Aartzy managed to onboard several key Sri Lankan and International artists to their portfolio and created better opportunities for them. "As we only need minimum resources to function, we adopted the 'Work from Home' concept quite well, thereby reducing our overheads to a certain degree," Janaka said.

However, it is overall an unfortunate period for artists and the art market. Sales dropped significantly with many restrictions taking place all over the world. Many professional artists suffered and still suffer due to this and found it difficult to maintain their living conditions. "Our sincere hope is that things return to normalcy, so that artists can continue to create beautiful art while we assist them with taking their works to the world at large," said Janaka.

The complete article can be found at http://www.newswire.lk/2020/10/11/aartzy-the-best-place-to-buy-art-online/

Newswire, 2020

10/15/2020