Talking Art Collecting & Reaching for Dreams With Arushi Kapoor
Having a dream is one thing. Pursuing it? That is another and most definitely the bigger, more important thing. Successfully breaking through and navigating the world of art collecting has one too many times proved futile for numerous art lovers, but Arushi Kapoor captures the art of ‘achieving dreams’ itself and gives it her all.
At just 24 years old, Arushi Kapoor is one of the youngest art dealers on the scene and the accomplished bestselling author of Talking Arts: 16 Conversations of Leading Indian Contemporary Artists With Arushi Kapoor. As the founder of ARTSop Art Consultancy and the Co-founder & Director of Arushi Arts Galleries, with locations in the UK, US, and India, Arushi is a superwoman whose cape is a strong combination of commitment, hard work, and total love for art.
Meet Arushi Kapoor
By the age of 19, Arushi Kapoor had already founded her first business, plunged her feet into art collecting, and was a full-blown entrepreneur. Then she published her first book. Born to Payal and Akash Kapoor, Arushi grew up surrounded by art. From a young age exposed to her family’s lifelong history rooted in the Indian art world with galleries and large private collections. However, she always wanted to create her own path and build a career separate from her family’s business. Growing up in India, Europe, and America, Arushi’s upbringing gave her a multicultural understanding which enabled her to spread her wings much farther—pursue diverse worlds of collectors, art institutions, and other clients despite their background. She is furthermore one of the few West Coast living art dealers, who specialize in both Indian art and African Diaspora art.
Arushi was recently invited to join TATE’s South Asian Acquisitions Committee and the board of BAFTA. For Arushi this is only the beginning. Being a young, female art dealer of color in a mostly male-dominated world, and proving to herself and anyone else that she has created this art empire single-handedly is admirable.
These achievements were definitely not accumulated in one feat, read on to get to know Arushi Kapoor.
Love Happens: Why 19 Looking back, do you feel you started as a result of pressure or was it just sheer love for arts?
Arushi Kapoor: I started working in the art world at around 15 years of age. I authored a book on Indian contemporary art at 16 called “Talking Art By Arushi Kapoor”. This book was included in several museum collections as well as top collectors collections Then I interned with several known art galleries like ICA LA, Revolver and Hauser and Wirth for short periods of time. Just learning and taking in the workings of the art world. At 19, I was at Marshall School of Business. USC fostered entrepreneurship and a hustler spirit in me. There was and always is internal pressure to outdo me. I visualize and update my goals and ideas all the time. At 19, just after finishing my freshman year, I decided to combine my love for art with what I was learning at school, and ARTSop was born.
Lh: It’s been 5 years, at what point did you feel like you were succeeding? What is the biggest challenge you have overcome thus far?
Arushi: Success is a spectrum. I still don’t think I am ‘succeeding.’ I am merely providing a service that I can provide and the world appreciates. I haven’t made a significant enough impact on the world yet to have the honor of saying that I’m a success. That being said, after I decided to terminate the idea of ARTSop as a “tinder for art” as it had first started and focused on getting my clients the best investments in art through what I knew instinctively and had cultivated through learning all throughout my life, I felt like I was providing a meaningful service. Challenges show up at your door every day. I learned to face them head-on and foster a healthy relationship with them rather than turning my back and ignoring it.
“I think the female art era is starting and the ‘Old white boys’ are making space for the ‘talented young women’.”
Lh: What would you count as the biggest struggle in your journey so far? Being a woman in a male-dominated world, also a person of color, getting the right buyers, or selling the wrong pieces?
Arushi: The struggle is a harsh word. If you look at problems as struggles, it makes it harder to overcome them. I try to ignore the fact and place everybody according to their skill and what they do to make the art world flourish rather than gender. And I definitely try to hire and work with a lot of female artists. I think the female art era is starting and the ‘Old white boys’ are making space for the “talented young women.” Getting in touch with buyers is one thing. Convincing them that at a young age, I knew what I was talking about was hard. But with time, I have a proven track record. My clients see that their art, which they love so much, is also an asset that they appreciate while they enjoy it. Patience and not panicking are key to overcoming hindrances.
Lh: Have you had any opposition from your family? Anyone disagreeing with your choice to diversify and explore other art cultures?
Arushi: My mother is an expert on Indian Contemporary Art. She gave me the foundation in the art world. She also let me learn on my own. We sometimes work together and have a healthy relationship. We sometimes compete but within reason and limits. It helps us grow. My family is very supportive and close-knit. My uncle Raj helps me immensely dealing with the logistics of my business immensely. Then my dad supports my decisions and pushes me every day. My Cousin Kagan heads my UK office. And my eighteen-year-old sister already helps sales. I’m very lucky to have a supportive family that stands behind all my decisions.
Lh: What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Why did you take it and how did it turn out?
Arushi: Starting a business is the biggest risk I took. I put my all into it. Didn’t know how it would turn out. You can be the judge of how it turned out.
Lh: How do you describe your personal Arushi Kapoor style?
My personal style is casual and inquisitive. I love contemporary art. My room has only black and white pencil paperwork. It helps me center myself. My sitting room has colorful Damien Hirsts, Lindsay Dawn, and Andy Warhols.
Lh: What is your book about? What led to your decision to write it? Did you have writing aspirations aside from being an art collector and consultant?
Arushi: The book is about how to start an art collection. A lot of clients ask me what they should be looking for. The book is just a glimpse of what a new collector should think about while collecting.
Lh: If you were to give someone looking to purchase art three pieces of advice what would they be?
Arushi: As of today, I would say Adjei Tawaiah, Lindsay Dawn, and Nikki Bots.
Lh: Do you have any mottos or empowering quotes you like to live by?
Arushi: My phone screen says “Don’t Chase, Don’t Beg. Don’t Stress. Don’t be desperate, just relax. Make your wants come to you.”
Lh: What’s next for Arushi Kapoor?
Arushi: We have a big year. In August we opened a new space called ARUSHI in Echo Park dedicated to female and emergent artists. We kicked off the program with a solo show called Lawless Reflections with celebrity artist, Lindsey Dawn. Lindsay is amazingly talented and already has a name for herself in the art world with celebrity collectors like Drake Kylie Jenner, Travis Scott, and Lebron James. Our first show in London with Sellout. My book and some fun Tv gigs. Some collaborations with brands and a group show with exclusively female artists. Stay tuned.
Learn more & follow Arushi Kapoor at Arushikapoor.com!
By Chidinma Iwu
Feature Image: Arushi Kapoor at ARUSHI in LA (Photo by Mara Friedman)