Mumbai-based Art&Found doesn’t just uncomplicate art for millennials — it also empowers artists and communities financially, with the help of projects that highlight relevant issues in India, and abroad.
As a curated platform for affordable art, Art&Found started as a side project when its founder and CEO, Aditya Mehta, was working at Ogilvy in Mumbai as an art director. He was surrounded by illustrators, designers, photographers, and creatives whose work was being showcased on social media or blogs.
But, social currency of likes, comments, and shares wasn’t enough. Mehta wanted to build something where their work could be sold as art affordable for millennials — the art of our times, and things really took off at a creative conference where he understood the potential and scale of the project he wanted to take on. Mehta was also certain that if he did go ahead with this project, he was going to base it online. After immersing himself in studying online platforms, art platforms, and e-commerce during his after-work hours, Mehta launched Art&Found two years ago with only his savings to back him. Today, the platform is into everything art — from space styling to art projects and artist collaborations.
What makes Art&Found stand out is not only that they make it accessible, but also the fact that they focus on projects that can generate work for artists and designers. The platform truly began generating conversation during the lockdown with their projects like Design Fights COVID, Handmade in India, and Artwork for Heartwork, with which they were able to restart the engine, so to speak, for the artist community, and help them pick up the pace on the work front.
Their Artwork for Heartwork campaign, for example, is part of the ongoing #Heartwork campaign by Smile Foundation that expresses gratitude and appreciates all the unsung heroes such as farmers, truck drivers, retailers, and many more who work relentlessly even in these challenging times and bring joy to millions across the country. “The #Heartwork journey was started with music, with leading singers sharing an emotional and melodious tribute for the cause, and then it transitioned into tapping creative visual art formats for this heartwarming campaign. The intent was to get the best in craft, and also to leverage each artist’s unique reach to their audience via social media or offline. These are graphic artists, illustrators, typographers, original artists doing handmade and mix-media art, fashion designers,” says Mehta.
While many platforms offer exposure to artists and empower communities, Art&Found is a success story in the sense that it helps them make money too. After all, exposure won’t pay the bills. According to Mehta, this has been one of the value propositions from Day 0, naturally evolving since then.
“I started this platform with a mission to increase the value of art and design in India, so everything we do and our approach aligns to that goal. It is a slow upward graph, and what excites me is that we’re growing this market as we go. In a few years, if we can look back and see how the appreciation and value for art and design has changed over the years, and how we made our small contribution in making that happen, that will be quite a story,” says Mehta.
But given the current scenario with the pandemic and the near-collapse of the global economy, does Mehta think artworks are a necessity?
“I consider creativity to be a basic human necessity. Art is a medium. Art&Found is leveraging content and creating context for creativity in the form of art. Five years from now, the goal would be to make Art&Found the go-to platform for curated and affordable art in India. In 10 years, we want the same thing at an international level — to be recognised as a global art company from India,” he says, and we cross our fingers, before he signs off.