There is good news for India’s emerging digital art scene as it is poised to witness a surge in demand with the growing popularity of Cricket art. Recently, a group of young artists collaborated with a gaming company using digital cricket art as in-game assets on their platform. With the help of this, the artists have not only been able to showcase their digital art to a large audience but also monetize their work effectively.
Hailing from different parts of India, artists like Raaj Rufaro, Pakhi Verma, Midhundas K.S, Vishnu Venu, Christhika Lakshmi and Najeeb Thottungal came together to create exciting cricket art capturing some of the legends of cricket on their canvas. They successfully married art and technology, seeking inspiration from sports, and used stylized treatments to create interesting fan art portraying the heroes of cricket. These artworks manifest not just their artistic inspiration but also great art collectibles for cricket fans. Given that fan art enjoys tremendous popularity among the youth, if combined with cricket, this will have takers among millions of fans.
Striker, the gaming platform they collaborated with, is a fantasy digital sports card platform. Striker uses digital cricket artworks created by these independent artists as game cards that users can trade while playing the game. The use of such exciting game assets by Striker enables the artists to exhibit their work and allows them to hone their skills further. Speaking of the collaboration, Najeeb Thottungal, one of the artists, said, “Working with Striker was a huge leap in learning for me. Not only did I get better insights into character anatomy, but also got a deeper understanding of other aspects of illustrations such as lighting, shadows, rendering, materials etc.”
Cricket art holds excellent potential, and collaborations like this show promise in the sector. Partnerships like this not only support talented artists by providing them with a platform but also help them monetize their art and get commercial success and recognition. This breaks the common perception that artists need years to establish a name for themselves before pursuing art as a full-time profession. Sharing his thoughts on this, one of the artists, Raaj Rufaro, said, “Using Cricket Art as game cards is a brilliant idea that will empower artists like us and revolutionize how we monetize art, how we create new projects and take ownership of our art.” He added, “ With the help of this collaboration, we could also dive deep and create multiple pieces of cricket art which were inspired by the cricketers, but the representations were unique to our imagination”.
India is one of the world’s most cricket-crazy countries, with more than 500 million fans, while art, on the other hand, is still considered to have a niche audience. Unlike in the past, when technology and the arts were seen as two distinct fields, cricket art paved the way for amalgamation. It is possible that more collaborations like these can increase the number of people who appreciate art and support artists to receive much-needed recognition and remuneration.