Taking art off the wall and into your wallet

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Kotak Mahindra Bank releases limited edition debit cards featuring the artworks of Paresh Maity

Art in Your Wallet

Too young art lovers who can’t afford the real deal, the next best thing to own art is to acquire limited edition prints of artworks from their favorite artists. Unlike serious collectors and art patrons who acquire and display a meticulously curated art collection at home, the millennial’s appreciation for art is a public affair, flashed as prints embossed on handbags, designer wear, and now—electronic cards!

Kotak Mahindra might possibly be the first bank globally to feature fine art on their cash cards. On April 12, the bank released ten of Padma Shree awardee Paresh Maity’s paintings, curated by Gallerie Angel Arts, as special edition debit cards designed exclusively for their Privy League members.

Banking on Fine Art

“Art prevails among the top aspirational purchases that an HNI (High Net Worth Individuals) in India splurges on—others being baubles, automobiles, and couture.” Ambuj Chandna, Sr. EVP & Head–Retail Liabilities, Investments & Payment Products at Kotak Mahindra Bank, tracks the spending habits of the bank’s ‘privy league’ patrons—the privilege program specifically curated for the financial institution’s HNI members and NRI accounts.

While the original work remains the property of the artist, IP rights were acquired by Kotak Mahindra bank to reproduce the maestro’s art, curated by Gallerie Angel Arts, as a print on Kotak Mahindra’s special edition debit cards, designed exclusively for their privy league members. The bank chose an eclectic mix of portraits, landscapes, and abstracts to give their discerning clientele ample selections to choose from.

Painting in Proportion

“Blending art with banking is an ongoing conversation we engage in because many of our Privy League customers are also art enthusiasts,” adds Ambuj Chandna. Being an avid art aficionado herself, Elizabeth Venkataraman, Executive Vice President – Marketing at Kotak Mahindra Bank whetted the idea through Reshma Jani and Shwetambri Soni, the co-founders of Gallerie Angel Arts, an art space she frequented. Padma Shree awardee Paresh Maity fit the bill.

“The idea was very out-of-the-box and the challenge was to find an artist who would not be daunted by the limited 2 x 3-inch canvas that a debit card presents,” the curating duo elaborate. This isn’t the first time that the artist has worked with unconventional mediums. His 800-foot mural, on view at the capital’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, is touted as one of the longest in the world. “The irony of it all: to have the pleasure to conceptualize art in such a constricted space (debit card), after a project of such gigantic proportions!” Maity chuckles.

Art of Transaction

Kotak Mahindra might possibly be the first bank globally to feature fine art on their cash cards, but the trend of artists choosing creative platforms to exhibit their art seems to be catching up. So, just like you can buy coasters with S.H. Raza prints on them at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in New Delhi, Kotak has come up with a really cool initiative to bring artists to the forefront of daily transactions.

“We were at the juncture where our tech team had updated the collaboration (with Paresh Maity) on the mobile app but hadn’t begun sending out promotional campaigns or advertisements. In the interim, 200 of our privy customers signed up for a Paresh Maity special edition debit card without any urging, in the first 24 hours of us going live. That’s a good sign of things to come,” says an optimistic Ambuj. He has his fingers crossed about featuring new artists on the bank’s cards in the near future.

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