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January 25, 2016

Jatin Kampani and The Merchants of Cool

Text by Sitanshi Talati-Parikh

Pushing the envelope in photography and art is not new territory for Jatin Kampani. His latest project brings together artists to form a creative collective

“Photography is the only art form which is underestimated and underpaid. Photographers haven’t got their due,” says the veteran photographer. Creativity is an expression that appears in a myriad ways, and reinvention is what Jatin Kampani is interested in. His project, Merchants of Cool, (merchantsofcool.in), has brought together like-minded individuals from the field and opened up an online gallery of beautiful objects with a strong aesthetic appeal. Photographic images appear on scarves, pocket squares, cube blocks (that double up as tables) and wall prints. The fine art photography collective consists of the collections of seven photographers, including Shibu Arakkal, Shahid Datawala, Abheet Gidwani and Shivani Gupta. Kampani’s cube project is furniture with a story — with names like Wall Art Story to Mahabharat Se Kahabharat. Foraying into fashion, the scarves and pocket squares describe a unique sensibility and flair, with their striking imagery.

With a tight price point, Kampani intends to keep art within the reach of an aspiring and discerning customer. And, at the same time, have the artists constantly pushing the boundaries and realise that the potential is limitless. Not only will these products define the personality of the buyer, but also create a space for art to expand its repertoire into daily life. Profiling artists rather than products, the gallery explores styles, work and stories — you are buying into their vision.

Kampani takes us back to what inspired him:
‘When buying from an artist, you are buying more than just an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation…. You are buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a moment of someone’s life. Most importantly, you are buying the artist more time to do something they are passionate about.’

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