Last Updated on February 25, 2021
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About Evan Sharma
I am a 17 year old neo-expressionist artist who is using my art for social impact. Being a Canadian, I am passionate about the great outdoors and have grown up alpine ski racing in the winters and fishing and sailing in the summers. Increasingly, my art is based on research that I have done to lower greenhouse gas emissions by using an enzyme derived from anaerobic bacteria to alter the microbiome in a simulated bovine rumen.
About evansharma.com; CovART Challenge
I first visited the Louvre, Whitney Museum and MOMA at the age of 9. There I was stunned at how the giant paintings by the likes of Francis Bacon, Jasper Johns and Jean-Michel Basquiat made me feel. Inspired, I began to paint – at first on boxes and then canvases – for hours per day. When I was 12, my work was selected to be shown in Canada’s largest juried art show. Over the past 5 years, my work has been acquired by collectors from NYC, LA, Toronto and Dubai. I really started painting to tell stories and explore ideas that I am thinking about. For instance, I like to paint iconic people like Gandhi and Mandela as I am thinking about the strength of character that they showed during difficult times. I am also working on a series of paintings that depicts famous landscapes but thinking through how they will be affected in 2050 by greenhouse gas emissions.
How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?
Over the past number of years, I have been featured in the media and have appeared in a series of documentaries. Because of this, I have been able to establish a collector base in the thousands. When I complete a painting, I send an email out to my list and it typically is purchased within 24 hours. I am also developing RBLB (Right Brain Left Brain) Fashion which will go live later this year. The segment that I will be targeting is those who are interested in solving global problems by creating or supporting solutions that exist at the intersection or art and science. Since the designs are based on my deconstructed art work, the fashion line – which is wearable art – will allow people to participate in my journey at a much lower price point than the original pieces of art. I will use targeted marketing through traditional channels like Facebook and Instagram.
How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?
My art career has grown through word-of-mouth and people writing in to my site (evansharma.com) based on media exposure. I also have been doing periodic virtual studio tours to help promote new series or projects. I also have significant reach through Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn and people follow my journey there. Clubhouse has also been interesting for me as I have had a chance to tell my story in rooms for many art collectors. Usually after speaking or being a moderator there, people will start a conversation on Instagram or LinkedIn.
What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?
I think that the first thing is that you have to be passionate about what you do. When you pour your heart and soul into something, especially if your company is based on your ideas or creativity, a certain segment of the population will embrace it. The second thing is that also remember that you cannot appeal to all people. Today’s markets are very diverse and very sophisticated. You need to really speak to a market segment that understands and is passionate about what you do. The last thing is to document your journey in a very authentic way. Don’t be afraid to invite people to see what it is like behind the scenes a you move through various ideas and projects. In the end, people are embracing you as much as they are embracing your product.
What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?
The art market is changing dramatically. The traditional gallery system, whereby an artist signs with a gallery and the gallery does all the sales and marketing is quickly being altered – especially because the pandemic has cancelled shows and fairs and dramatically lowered foot traffic to galleries. What this means is that artists have to be more proactive in terms of building their own base and be willing to be part of the dialog with collectors. Also with so much change, there is not right or wrong answer. So it is really important to make decisions from your gut and ones that you feel comfortable with.
What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?
I was invited to be on a TV show with a prominent actor who is also a comedian. As part of the show I was painting live and there was interesting dialog going back and forth between him and me. I wasn’t actually sure the show was going very smoothly as the actor was under the assumption that I was supposed to paint a portrait of him, and I was doing a landscape. I left the studio after filming was completed and on the drive back home, I got a DM from the actor. He was interested in purchasing the painting that I had brought with me to frame the set. So we did a detour and arrived at his house and sold the painting to him and got a chance to hang out with him and his family for a while. He is now a solid supporter!
What Are Your Favorite Books?
I have a few favourite books that are well worn. I think my all-time best is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It really appeals to me as an adventurer. In terms of non-fiction, I have recently been introduced to the Rich Dad Poor Dad series which I like a lot because I think that artists have to be comfortable with elements of personal finance and investing as there is no pension or safety net associated with this profession. I also am a consumer of many digital sources of information. My favourite podcasts are NPR’s How I Built This which really gives a fascinating journey into how successful people build companies or programs and Jeff Staple’s Business of Hype which gives people a behind the scenes look into art and fashion brands. Lastly, I love watching archived footage of many older artists on Youtube to see how they handled materials and the techniques that they used to create their great pieces of work.
Anything You’d Like To Plug?
I have spent the last 6 months working on launching The CovART Challenge (covartchallenge.com) which is a fine art auction to help children in Africa whose nutrition and education have been impacted by COVID. To take something from idea to the point that we now have 20 other artists on board and some important collectors are aware of it is unbelievable. I am very humbled that people have put their trust in me for this project. As part of the auction, I have created 2 pieces – the first being a portrait of Paul Newman which tells the story of his watch being sold for charity and a portrait of Nelson Mandela. I plan this collaborative effort to be an annual event and it allows me to use my art to have significant social impact.
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