A Lightening Spark of Thought, Seamless Integration of Art and Technology, and Mytr was Born
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”
This is one of the many famous quotes of the wise Lord Buddha, and the reason that it finds itself in the very beginning of this post is that it fittingly sums up the story of Mytr, the brainchild of Archer Sharma.
Archer is a typical 21st-century techie, one who left his banking domain job to pursue higher studies with one very specific objective, find ways to deliver technological benefits to people of grass root level. He always pondered how life would be for people, especially the poor, uneducated yet talented ones, who are suffering simply because they cannot harness the benefits of technology. This was in 2015, but the real change in his thought process began when he went to the US.
While in the US, Archer got exposure to a different mindset, one which valued handwork above all things. He was awed how much people valued handmade creations. That’s when that lightning spark of thought struck his mind. He realized that he belongs to the land where diversity exists not just in cultures, but also in art forms. But all these art forms never made their way to patrons and admirers simply because artisans lacked appropriate means.
Piyush (on left) with Archer (on right) beside him.
Archer decided that he would provide them with leverage, but things are always easier said than done. From 2015 to 2018, he worked without leaves and studied hard to complete his Master’s. But though life was all rainbows and unicorns for him, he eventually realised that his non-stop bacchanal need to stop. Going down the memory lane, Archer still remembers sitting alone in a room and finally dedicate his life to his cause.
After returning to India, in 2018, Archer started travelling to various corners of the country. His incessant quest for seeking his country’s diverse art forms equipped him with much-needed knowledge, but the point was to get them delivered to the right people, ones who would value the effort and beauty of handmade items.
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, bathing in the beauty of the white desert – January 2020
Moving towards Sustainable Craft
Although Archer has a technical background, sustainable development had always been a subject of interest for him. He recalls the day of how he came up with the idea of merging it with art, “With my new found interest in art, I looked around my house and tried to find as many things as I could that fell into the category of sustainable craft. Hardly a handful.”
Exclusive wooden carved wall hangings from Nagaland
The next question that popped up was that how come in a country like India, which is known for its artistic value, are such items still such rare things in the household? It was then where he found his grand idea of bridging the gap between artisans and true patrons by using the power of technology, and this is how Mytr was born.
Bamboo Carvings, a shot from Art and Craft Festival, West Bengal, February 2020
Mytr – A Mission to Reach the Unreachable, a Vision to Combine Creativity with Sustainability
By the middle of the year 2019, Mytr materialised from a mere thought to a working website. Joining Archer’s mission and vision was his former roommate during his Master’s program, Piyush, another tech enthusiast who joined this noble cause. But Mytr wasn’t the first for Piyush as he was already associated with Humanity First Foundation, an organization funded by Piyush that strives to work with underprivileged sections of the society.
Piyush and Archer on a video call.
HFF’s vision was to empower people who didn’t have adequate resources. The point is that he has always strived to work for the greater good. So when Archer approached him with his idea, Piyush didn’t delay in teaming up. Ever since Mytr went live in October 2019, there has been no looking back for these partners.
Piyush became a core member and a co-founder of Mytr and has made a significant contribution to help it thrive. Building an audience, strategising, marketing – he has really gone to great lengths to ensure that Mytr thrives, and though the website now has a dedicated team of professionals, Piyush continues to work remotely from New Jersey.
The Friend for Artisans
Mytr in English means friend and that is what it truly is, the friend of artisans and their true patrons. It’s a fact that the Indian handicraft is a billion-dollar industry, but most articles are sold at the international market by exporters at exorbitant prices, and the artists do not gain many benefits. Mytr serves as an ecosystem of technology. It is a platform for artisans where they don’t have to worry about the nitty-gritty of technical aspects and can simply showcase their work to people.
Archer with artisans with one already onboard with Mytr
Stone carving artist displaying her fine works, straight from the land of Udaipur
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Mytr still has a long road ahead of it, but beginnings of all great things are small. Archer took the first step of this long journey and was joined by Piyush, and together they have already laid the foundation of a great idea. Many artisans have already joined Mytr, but with sustainable development on the rise, one can clearly foresee that Mytr certainly forecasts a bright future.