(By Vikas SN and Nikhil Pahwa)

Crudearea is an online art marketplace which intends to allow Indian and International artists sell graphic artwork to art enthusiasts.

The site was founded by Shweta Bhandari of WebChutney and Bindu Nair Maitra, previously the editor of Kyoorius Design magazine, although Maitra has quit the company (CrudeArea) last month and is currently on a sabbatical. The site is being mentored by Webchutney Founder Sidharth Rao. CrudeArea has 21 artists on board, and as per a New Indian Express report, offers artists commission per sale, although there is no information on the exact commission offered by the site to the artists.

Crudearea offers graphic artworks across various categories like Abstract, Digital Art, Illustration, Line Drawing, Retro and Sketch: mostly urbane, funky and quirky art work which will appeal to the hipster crowd. It allows customers to buy Framed Art Prints and Canvas Prints, or artwork without any frames (Art Prints). The search on the site allows browsing through art pieces based on recency and pricing, as well as art category and size. There is also a keyword-based search box which allows one to search for their preferred art.

Not Crowdsourcing

It’s worth noting that unlike many designer apparel sites, CrudeArea isn’t crowdsourcing artwork: it isn’t allowing any artist to create their own marketplace and retail their work, and there isn’t an online upload or submission process; It’s not “print on demand”. Instead, CrudeArea appears to be curating its artists, and its FAQs suggests that artists can feature their artwork on the site only by partnering with the company. Update: Shweta has told Medianama that this partnership will work on a revenue sharing basis of 50:50.

In terms of rights to the artwork, Crudearea notes that the artist will continue to retain rights for the artwork created, even after the purchase.

Why Just Canvas Prints?

Should this art only be on canvas? Frankly, a natural extension of what Crudearea does is to extend prints beyond canvas to t-shirts and bags, allowing a buyer to pick how and where they want their art. From a business perspective, how many prints will a single customer purchase for either hanging on a wall in their home or office? No matter how many artists they bring on board, this still means that for repeat purchase, beyond a point, CrudeArea will be more of a gifting site. Extend this to other products (see what Mamagoto, the restaurant does with their art as an example), and the possibilities open up for CrudeArea.

Update: Shweta has told Medianama that they plan to extend prints to other product categories like T-Shirts, Tote bags and devices skins and cases among others in the near future.

Other Players

Craftsvilla, an online marketplace for handmade, designer and gift items, had raised $1.5 million funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nexus Venture Partners in July 2012. The company had claimed to have more than 50,000 products from over 1,000 Indian sellers on its portal and was reportedly delivering products to over 20 countries worldwide. Besides that, there is Delhi-based Nethaat.com which offered artisan-produced apparel, home & decor, toys, footwear, jewelry, and gifts among others.