I am originally from India. I came to the United States in 2007 for a Masters in Computer Science. After finishing my Master's, I realized my true passion was art for self-expression. Currently, I am pursuing an MFA part-time and working as a full-time engineering manager. Through my works I want to encourage people to embrace cultural diversity and fight for equality for all gender, color, race, religion, and so on.
At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to become an artist? Did the realization emerge slowly?
From an early age, I have always had an inclination to paint, draw, and sculpt. As a teenager, I found that through my art I could communicate and form connections with people through my work. I would be asked questions about what I had created and this would give me an opportunity to introduce them to the world of artistic expression and explain my views.
As a child, I used to copy my mother's paintings in order to learn and create my own interpretations of them. Also, I used to enjoy stitching, crafts, and sculpting. We used to visit my maternal grandparents every summer, who lived in Udaipur, Rajasthan, a city known for its art and culture, and this has been a strong influence on my art since childhood. I studied to become an engineer and not an artist. During my grad years, I almost forgot about my passion for arts until 2011 when I started to work as a Software engineer. That's when I felt I was missing something in my life and wanted to rediscover my passion for arts. I have been learning and works as a professional artist since then.
How did you evolve your style and favorite mediums?
I have tried almost every medium and style in my life before I created my signature style. For me, my idea is the main force that leads me to choose style and materials. I can go from full oil-based painting to a mixed media collage if my idea suits it best. I do multiple digital and small studies before creating an actual piece, this helps me narrow down the issue and figure out solutions. I don't ever want to restrict myself to my medium and style, my concepts dictate the style and medium. My favorite medium as of now is mixed media because it lets me be limitless, I can go from printmaking to oil color to collage whenever I want. I like to be very organized during the research phase but enjoy to be free-flowing when I am creating the work. Mixed Media lets me be spontaneous without restrictions.
What are your time management techniques? Do you have regular working hours...or favorite times to work?
My day-to-day is very different from a regular artist's life. I work as an engineer during the day and by night get to my studio and explore my artistic side. I have been leading this dual life since 2012 and enjoy it a lot. My work is heavily based on research and starts as a digital image which lets me work any time anywhere. I start working when an idea hits me.
Do you work on more than one piece at a time, or primarily just on one?
I like to work on multiple pieces at a time, this lets me have a flow throughout the series. Sometimes I work on completely random stuff like a landscape oil painting while I am doing a mixed media portrait which gives me a break from the monotony and also lets my creative juices flow.
What would you say is your biggest influence--that which keeps you working, regardless of all else, your most steadfast motivation?
My work is most influenced by social issues and current affairs. Each piece is a result of the social issues I see or read around me. My works can be best described as social-political pieces that look like colorful abstract portraits from far and up close to visual documentation of the issues in our contemporary society. I want to always create works that are stimulating to look at but at the same time raise awareness in a way that is visually digestible. I read a lot of books, articles, and watch documentaries pertaining to social issues. My biggest motivation would be a gist to bring a positive change through art. I certainly hope we, as a society, are done with discriminating against gender, color, race, religion, and so on.
Does trying something new and not knowing the rules -- the boundary pushing -- create anxiety or excitement in you? (Or both?)
I used to get very anxious looking at a blank canvas, I am slowly overcoming that fear. One thing I learned through the years which has helped me a lot is never be scared of taking risks or making mistakes because that is the biggest enemy of creativity and traps us in mediocrity. For me the journey towards every art piece is a learning experience, I cherish the process more than the final art because that's what defines me as an artist.
Do you enjoy having the "duality of both chaos and control" or are you happiest with a set plan?
I like to be chaotic while painting and I am very methodical and controlled during the research phase. Being able to be spontaneous is very crucial for me as that's when I am most creative.
Do you have any projects or events forthcoming?
Currently, I am working on a series of portraits of the most inspirational and powerful women I look upon. As a woman, I see a lot of inequality and biases and want to do something to raise awareness about gender inequality.
The de Young open exhibition, De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA
Overlap: Home, Immigration and Identity, Public exhibit, Bayfair Center, San Leandro, CA.
Crocker Kingsley Exhibit, Blue Line Arts, Sacramento, USA
Emerging Artist Series, Heckscher Museum of Art, USA
Dream to Fly!
Fighter Without Race
Fighter Without Color