Markert Analysis

The Emerging Artist

Kanchi Mehta Every established artist, whether Modern or contemporary, has been an emerging artist at some point, until they have been selected by galleries and institutions, who then dedicate their time to carry them into prominence.

An emerging artist is defined very relatively, depending on whom (and how) the term is approached by. Some consider ‘emerging’ to be a young artist within five to ten years out of art school; some consider it to be at a point until they have ‘made it’ as a professional artist (the latter could be several years into their professional practice); most institutions, and galleries define this term as artists under the age of thirty.

Once artists are ‘picked up’ by galleries and institutions to represent, it becomes reasonably easier for them to practice in their studios without the distraction of sales and other logistical obstacles, which would otherwise dilute their creativity. With only a handful of galleries and hundreds of artists eagerly waiting, a large majority of artists continue to search for the moment when they can have the license to create freely.

This is where I feel it gets tricky. With only a handful of artists who are guided by professional galleries, the others who linger are seemingly lost. It is this section, which needs strengthening and there is a growing need for solid foundations to raise the standards of artistic development of the future.

Not for profit initiatives like residencies, artist management programs, educational programs and others alike exist across India, which aim at reinforcing guidance for artists and art enthusiasts as a whole, which reflects on the maturation, and enables cultural paradigm shifts.

Residencies, Grants, Public Projects, Educational Programs and Artist Management gives the artist a serious opportunity to continue to practice independently, as opposed to more confined alternatives in the commercial sector. Mainstreaming these programs and bringing them to the forefront is an important part of ensuring better artists for future generations.

As the founder of such an initiative, I encourage more and more people to support and endorse the emerging artist market, as I believe that this segment would grow exponentially over the next ten years and would be an important component of the art industry at large. Given the right selection process, including gallery representation, important art collections, institutions and publications, these artists would be the future of Indian Art.

Kanchi Mehta
Founder and Chief Curator of Chameleon Art Projects.