“We realised art had become synonymous with investment and was almost exclusively for the rich.””
Meet Kritika Ashok, member of GirlCrew Dublin and Owner of myartgallery.ie
GirlCrew is known as being full of intrepid and inspiring women and after chatting with Dublin member, Kritika Ashok, it is clear that she is one of these. Many years ago, Kritika went to the Antarctic to fulfil a childhood dream and while out exploring the wilds she took some life-changing photographs including one of a Gentoo penguin with his head curled in as the snow fell. “I loved it so much that I wanted to get it up on my wall as it makes me smile.”
Although the photo was beautiful Kritika wanted it as painting – a little piece of art that could be hung as a reminder to always follow your heart and that anything is possible. Hoping to get it commissioned, Kritika began to look for quotes but the cheapest price offered was £1000. Unwilling to spend that money, she dropped the idea but while chatting about it with some friends over breakfast four years later (she really wanted it) “we realised art had become synonymous with investment and was almost exclusively for the rich.” Recognising that this approach had made art unattainable for many people they decided to start an online art gallery to bridge the gap and make art affordable. “We started off in India in 2012 with 50 upcoming artists working”, and while they got to a great start as is often the case with fledgling businesses things didn’t go to plan. Unfortunately, they hit a bump in 2014 but Kritika refused to be defeated so she bought her two co-founders out and brought the business to Ireland. “I have been full time in this since July 2014 and have re-launched under the guise of myartgallery.ie to make up for the mistakes I made and to cater it more for the Irish market.” Since then the company has gone from strength to strength and with her fantastic attitude, we are certain Kritika will ensure that myartgallery.ie will continue to be a big success. And the picture that started the journey is still with her, as it has now become the company logo.
1. What is the best thing about your role?
So many things – the artists, the customers, and being my own boss! I absolutely love interacting with our artists as they see the world differently. I keep trying to coax them to make videos or take photographs about themselves but so far, no such luck- one of these days I hope the world gets to meet our artists and learn of the people with the true talent in the organisation. We’ve had no customer complain of our paintings- they have always loved them and seeing their reaction reminds me every single time why we are in business. As I’m my own boss I get to decide the plan, the priorities, make the tough decisions and face the music when it all goes wrong.
2. What did you find most challenging about it?
Being on my own mostly- when I am sick, the work has to carry on. When I am on holidays, work has to carry on. While running 3 businesses, you are pulled in every direction and trying to balance it all is not easy- fun, yes, challenging, a resounding yes!
3. What is your proudest work related achievement to date?
Difficult to say- it probably should be seeing ourselves described as a Hot Product in the Irish Independent or talking of optimism in the Irish economy on RTE’s Claire Byrne Live but truly, it is every happy customer. Or if I really need to refine it, a happy customer coming back for more!
4. What would be your one tip to others who want to get involved in this industry?
Ignore the naysayers- it’s a tough industry to break into- very traditional but it’s possible. Keep chipping at it and one day, it will all fall into place hopefully.
5. What would be your motto in life, and in work?
Do as you would want others to do to you. Stay ethical and have a lot of fun, with gold sparkles all over it!
If you are a GirlCrew member and are interested in being featured in Meet the GirlCrew, just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! x