MAKERS OF MUMBAI: NAZNEEN DHARAMSEY OF ARTIQUE
Nazneen Dharamsey is on a mission to bring art into our every day. Her brand, Artique, sells products ranging from mugs and business card holders to bags and umbrellas, and she’s making sure we’re surrounded by art and beauty wherever we go. To order Artique products, you can visit the Facebook page or message on 084548 07122.
WORDS BY AIKITA JARRAH
The City Story: Tell us about Artique’s journey.
Nazneen Dharamsey: Artique turned three in November this year. My mum is an artist. She studied it in college and then lost touch when life got in the way. She took up art again seven years ago. While art is very interesting, it is a small space and so unexplored. It is perceived as something that has a snob appeal and a niche and intimidating space. Art is such a holistic, expressive field and has so much untapped potential. That’s where the idea came up from for making art part of your daily consumption. It started in the home scape; soon we realised offices are another space where people spend a lot of time. So we started with daily products like coasters and trays. Now we’re also in the space of fashion and actually taking things out.
TCS: Did you study art/design? And do you do all the work yourself or do you have a team?
ND: No, I have zero experience in Art. I’m from advertising world. I started in client servicing, moved to account management and then into planning. I saw this space, which is completely new to me. I just took it up to see where it goes. I do have a sense of aesthetics. So I do know what looks nice visually. Also, essentially coming from a research background, I’ve got a deeper understanding of what consumers like and put that into play when and where I can with Artique.
Artique is just me. And I’ve consciously kept it that way. The minute you bring in other people, it’s different minds that get in the way. I do that enough in my other job everyday where I consult in AD projects. This is something that’s just mine, so I don’t have any timelines or restrictions.
Of course I don’t think anything is really done in isolation. I have my mum, my fiancé, and my friends who are extremely supportive of this idea and who consider themselves part of the journey.
TCS: How do you choose your designs? How do you decide which pieces make the cut?
ND: There are two kinds of paintings my mum does. Stuff that she does for exhibits and sales, and the ones she does purely for pleasure. Which is why those are very in flow, unadulterated and colourful, not made to perfection. It comes straight from the heart. It’s a constant fight picking on the ones to use. She loves her floral collection, her style is nature and abstract. I love her abstracts. Abstracts, as an art form on merchandise and home décor, is something you don’t see too often. The best thing about abstract art is that you can never recreate it. Even the artist can never really recreate it exactly the same. I love the story behind each piece of art. I try and inculcate that story when I’m trying to sell a product or talking to a prospective buyer: what’s the story behind this piece of art.
TCS: What do you think makes Artique stand out?
ND: I think the fact that we’re just not playing the game.
I’m not looking at what could be called competitors, and I’m not looking at their pricing and trying to figure if can I do better. I’m just doing the things that I think will work from my interaction with people. Things I think they will utilise every day. So for Artique, it’s not about pegging yourself against anyone We are just creating our own thing and taking each day as it comes. So one days it’s about products, the next day it’s about the blog, and the third day it’s something else.
TCS: Where do you see Artique going?
ND: It’s been a very conscious decision to keep the map fluid at the moment. The crux of Artique remains the same: we will always be about the everyday person, the everyday life and the role that art plays in that. There’s no other restriction. One leg of the business model is products, because that’s where the revenue is generated. The other leg we’ve worked on and we’re building right now its experience. Chatting Chai, for example, is things like the blog where we have everyday conversations over a cup of chai and try to bring art into the conversation. So at times my friend and I visit galleries around Mumbai and the blog about the experience. The blog is shared on our social media platforms. The idea is to get people to speak about art and contribute their writings. That’s something we’re building right now. At the same time, on the side I’ve started conducting these little groups, like a book club, but where people get together to discuss art and artists. It’s about getting in new age ideas about how people perceive art. Even a nine-year-old would have a clear view on how she perceives a particular piece of art. The idea is more about changing a mindset, as opposed to just selling a product.
Photographs courtesy Artique