As customers browsed through the rack of soft cotton tees featuring graphic prints at a pop-up event organised by Bandra-based Kulture Shop, they heard a voice whisper, “Go ahead. Touch it”. It was the voice of graphic artist Kunal Anand, co-founder of the design studio Kulture Shop. He was trying to get people to break their inhibitions about good art. According to him, art could be touched and felt. It was a slightly unusual tactic but it certainly got customers talking about the tees and more importantly, about the graphic artwork on them. For a design studio that believes in “always keeping up a conversation”, that was enough.
The studio’s location in Bandra is conducive to everything Kulture Shop is trying to be and they are beyond thrilled to cater to the suburb’s varied tastes. The studio has everyone from Bandra aunties to photographers and architects walking in. “This place has a certain energy that has sparked up in the last two years. Creativity is blossoming in all fields, be it exhibitions, art or food,” says Anand.
A design studio cum showroom, Kulture Shop, founded by Arjun and Jas Charanjiva, Rajeev Sathe and Anand, broke into the design scene a year back. “We want to represent and champion India’s leading graphic artists,” says Anand, who is also the creative director and is in charge of curating the artists. They curate and retail limited edition prints and t-shirts of the 15 graphic artists currently working with them. “We wanted to create a community of graphic artists and get them talking to each other and to the people who buy their work.”
Conversations matter a lot at the Kulture Shop. They encourage people to walk in and initiate conversations with strangers about the graphic art on display at the studio. They also hold events where they get the artists to interact with the people buying their work.
They have shelf space dedicated to magazines like Motherland, design books and music CDs by independent artistes. They retail out of their studio and have an online site that delivers worldwide.
They also host pop up events at NH7 Weekender, Sula Winefest, etc. where their prints and tees are quite the talking point. It is a given because Kulture Shop takes their work very seriously–the monthly themes are decided a year in advance and Anand ensures he has conversations with the artists to guide them on how best to develop their work. “There is an eight-level curation process and we try and champion the artist as much as we can,” he says. The artists are brought in on every discussion related to their work, and are even sent pictures of their t-shirts in the process of being printed. Every artwork bears their name, details of the theme and a little bit about the art.
Once a month, the Kulture Shop has events where the studio turns into a gallery displaying works related to the theme of the month. There are drinks and snacks and soft music and lots of ‘non-stuffy’ discussions about art. “It is all about taking art out of the galleries and making it more fun,” says Phalguni Desai, in charge of events. Last month’s theme was ‘Welcome to the future’ and involved the artists’ own thoughts about what they foresaw in their future. This month’s theme is street art.
For more, check out www.kultureshop.in