Art in India has come a long way from just being hung on walls craving appreciation to raising issues of social relevance to making way into our lives through utility art. Snobbish art that sat within the confines of galleries and only came out to interact with the elitists at those ‘wine and cheese’ events has now aged and new age approachable art is here to change the art world. And one of the few catalysts pushing for this change is Kulture Shop. Brain child of Arjun Charanjiva and co-founded by Jas Charanjiva and Kunal Anand, Kulture Shop breathes art and lives to see artists flourish. We catch up with the trio behind this concept store. Excerpts here…
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BB: Tell us something about challenging the conventional ideas of art and culture through Kulture shop?

Arjun Charanjiva: “Art” can be an unapproachable word, often evoking images of art galleries, auction houses. Snobbery and pretentiousness are words associated with art appreciation and art buying. Breaking down these barriers is the challenge we’ve taken on with great passion.

Kunal Anand: We want to bring graphic art into the lives of everyday people who, like us, grew up with comic books. Today we love illustration, graphic design, typography, mixed media, retro posters. This is the art of our times. Ideas matter to us, feelings matter to us, we gravitate towards certain styles that we like to relate with mood. So we really want to knock down the barrier and bring to people art that has been sitting in some really talented graphic artists’ sketchbooks and computers. And then enable people to enjoy it.

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BB: What is the philosophy behind Kulture Shop with a K?

Arjun Charanjiva: Culture is how we relate as groups/urban tribes to the world and life. At Kulture Shop one will hear us referring to culture in more dissected terms such as sub-culture, alternative culture, pop culture, counter culture. Graphic art is often viewed through one of these lenses. Cultures and sub-cultures themselves are ever-evolving and accelerating, especially in a globalizing India which has unlimited access to perspective the internet provides. Graphic artists do a fascinating job of documenting their personal take on these developments. Using a K in Kulture is our departure from the blanket term of culture.

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BB: What is it that you set out to achieve with Kulture Shop and how far have you come with that?

Kunal Anand: We work with in-depth collaborations and a core graphic community of artists we believe in. We hope to bring art into the lives of interesting and independent minded people around the globe. We curate the best Indian graphic artists and have established a standard of art, product quality and cultural credibility. We will continue raising the bar as quality will always outweigh quantity, making us different from less-discerning competitors who don’t curate artists and artwork.

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BB: Tell us something about the Katalyst collection and the many catalysts that are a part of it.

Arjun Charanjiva: We just loved the idea of working with some of our artistic & innovative friends, thought leaders, mad scientists, trendsetters and trouble makers. We started with Katalyst Mumbai, which featured collaborations between 4 mavericks in various industries and 4 of our graphic artists. We had Kalki Koechlin collaborating with Sameer Kulavoor and Dr. Susmita Mohanty, a spacecraft designer, who collaborated with Aviral Saxena. We got some amazing work, both personal and iconic, which we sold on limited edition art prints and tees.

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BB: What works as the driving force for Kulture Shop?

Jas Charanjiva: We’re seeing a shift with people who like mainstream typo tees and phone covers, overly kitsch quirky cultural art, they are progressing to something better designed and more considered, original. This will enable us to support the most talented Indian graphic artists. It’s the main reason why we set up this business - - to let them be brilliant in creating graphic art & design that captures our imagination, while we take care of the heavy lifting of production, printing, packaging, marketing, selling.

Arjun Charanjiva: We want our artists to do what they love, be rewarded for it and grow with us as we build a new art wave.