Published: 05th February 2020
Meet Coimbatore's SCD Balaji, who is bringing art and entrepreneurship together
SCD Balaji is an artpreneur based at Coimbatore who offers online courses to anyone who can afford to spend their time on art. 30 different art forms will be taught to every student of the programme
If you hear what SCD Balaji does for a living, you're going to be a tad bit jealous. Balaji introduced himself to us as an 'artpreneur'. An artpreneur is an artist-cum-entrepreneur. Balaji does digital illustration of almost 24 Indian folk arts including pattachithra, urban warli, Kerala murals and much more. He also does international folk arts including Bohemian art (Europe), Kawaii (Japan) and the list continues.
Balaji, who has been in the art field for almost 15 years now, has been mentoring people to become artpreneurs. As many learners were finding it difficult to make the fullest use of workshops and wanted to learn the art form from scratch, Balaji introduced an artpreneurship course, online. "It is an online course where people have to dedicate two hours of their time. The course works on a screen-sharing basis, and the student can see the screen of their tutor and vice-versa. We instruct the students through the screen. Taking privacy into consideration, it is not a video class and it works strictly on screen-sharing basis only," inform the 35-year-old.
The courses offered are tailor-made for each student
The one year course is tailor-made and the students have to invest two hours every day for the classes and six hours of dedicated practice is a must. "We offer nine months of training and three months in building their portfolio. It is similar to fitness training. Only the ones who can invest the time for it can take part in the course," says the artpreneur.
Balaji, who has been in the creative industry for almost fifteen years or more, tells us that he is responsible for building the career of his participants. "In this course, we teach students how to think creatively. It should not be mistaken for 'teaching' creativity. We just trigger the creative level of the participant so that they can create things of their own," shares the founder of Atma Studios, a branding company based at Coimbatore.
The registration for online artpreneur programme is open for June 2020 batch
Discussing with us how they build artpreneurs, Balaji explains, "In the entire module we teach people how to draw and uniquely create art forms, sell it all with zero investments and also conduct workshops. On the whole, we are creating a safe career sitting at home."
The online artpreneur batches were initiated three years back with a single student, and they have more than 15 registrations already for the June 2020 batch. "We filter the students before entering the course. I reiterate, only the ones who can invest their time as a ritual can only take part in the programme," he avers.
Balaji is also the founder of Atma Studios and Quirky Invitations. Discussing the plight of handling everything together, Balaji tells, "Art has been with me from childhood. I am just making use of what I love as an income as well."
During a workshop
The artpreneurs can start their own initiative and if they wish to work with Atma Studios or Quirky Invitations in the designing or mentoring front, they are always welcome. "We help them create art for different fields like designing, workshops and selling their merchandise. They can also participate in our company which is not a compulsion. We are just guiding them to make money out of their creativity," he says.
If you ask about the art forms taught, then it is a huge list. "We teach several International and Indian folk arts. The student can randomly choose any 30 art forms they find interesting on the internet, and we will make sure to teach all of them," he informs.
Discussing their future prospects, Balaji tells us that they are about to separate batches and appoint artpreneurs as teachers so that they can conduct classes of their own based on their field of interest.