Dreamer, Practical, Passionate
I am a contemporary fine artist from India. Abstract Expressionism is a school of thought I follow, and my work follows the tenets of this style.
I attempt to convey my interpretations of the natural world around me through my canvases. Raw pigments & bold strokes best define my paintings. So far, I have exhibited across major metros in India, and am looking forward to enter the international art space.
My preferred style of work follows the Abstract Expressionism philosophy. I believe in the dynamism of nature, and I try to capture this quality in my paintings. There is no brush-work in my paintings; all my work is done using various tools like knives, spatulas, cloth, sponge etc, and I consciously avoid the use of a brush, because I feel more connected with the creation when I'm in direct contact with the paints and surface I'm painting.
Primarily acrylic on canvas is my medium of choice. However, I also work with oil paints on canvas & paper. I am equally comfortable with using water colour, as I am preparing prints (using Forex, zinc plates, lino prints). Sculpture and installations are also a part of my routine, as and when i can make the time for it.
First, I divide the space available on the canvas using some solid colours. I then work on the spaces in isolation, and periodically take a cohesive look at the entire canvas to figure out the missing links. In case of using a wash technique, I account for the areas where the 'wash' or 'drip' is to appear, and work around those spaces. After the drip or wash is accounted for, I weave the rest of the spaces into the whole fabric by using certain motifs like outward strokes, or thin, wire-like lines, or I bridge these different patches with colour merges. There is no use of the brush in my work. I use my palms, fingers, and other objects like keys, cards, knives, spatulas etc. to create my canvases.
Nature is the overriding theme in my repertoire. My work is abstract and semi-abstract expressions of the various natural facets we encounter on a daily basis. I also delve into realistic landscapes, human figurines and still-life sometimes. Space, the universe and fantasy are intrinsic to my work.
Several artists have influenced, motivated and intrigued me. Right from the Classicists to the Impressionists & Surrealists, I've faced no dearth of inspiration.
Notable influences would be Jackson Pollock, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Tyeb Mehta, MF Hussain, Andy Warhol, Ravindranath Tagore, not necessarily in that order! There are so many tribal and folk artists who have influenced my artistic line of thought. I enjoy interacting with children, because the freshness in ideas and creativity is maximum in them.
Why do you create art?
The real world is a macrocosm of rigidity, staleness and toughness. However, there is a hidden layer to reality. I try, through my art, to explore and discover this hidden layer. Painting allows me to narrate my experiences the way I would like them to be, without any inhibitions, or limitations. There is fluidity, freshness and delicateness in the surreal world, and this is the world I reach out to through my work. I am joined in this quest by my co-artists, friends and well-wishers, who continuously encourage and motivate me to move further into fantasy, because it also transports them into a dream-like trance!
How often do you create?
Creation is an ongoing process for me - a Work in Progress. I paint, on an average, four days a week, while the rest of the days I devote to my family and other pursuits. Before an exhibition, I am up nights creating new pieces. Besides, I sketch on a daily basis.
Do you make a living with your art?
Oh yes! I sell my work online, through my website, and through the solo exhibitions I host in different cities. Also, there are several art fairs, group art shows and workshops through which I have sold my work.
Facebook, definitely, because of the flexibility and reach of the website. Another way of promoting my work online is by liaising with bloggers from around the world to write on my art. ArtSlant is also a very popular portal to get viewer eyeballs.
Can you recommend a contemporary artist to us?
Atul Dodiya is a contemporary artist from India. He works with everyday objects, issues and themes to explain the current social equation we find ourselves entangled in. Social and political issues are of particular importance to him, and he attempts to offer a solution to the problems plaguing our society through quirky art works depicting the most ordinary, daily-use objects. Dodiya also adds elements of myth and religion to his work, which gives a hyper-realistic feel to the paintings.
My life has been such a roller-coaster, with so many emotions entwined into each other... But I believe the most significant achievement in my life was when I took up my fine arts education at the age of 48. I graduated from University in 2005, at the age 51, standing first in the entire University. I overcame language barriers, severe health problems and a financial crunch (my husband had to shut his business down then) to top the University. And I reclaimed my life! Being a mother to three daughters, I realised the edge education gives a woman, and embarked on the journey to fulfil my desire of being an educated and respected woman.
Where do you see yourself as an artist 10 years from now?
I am wishful of pursuing further studies at this stage of my life. A Masters in Fine Arts is definitely on the anvil, and ten years from today, I envision myself as a Research Scholar, studying the beautiful world of Art.
As an artist, I will transcend my current style of work, and evolve into a new mode, where my work will be more reflective of the future's needs and wants. More digital, more interactive, more simple.
Advice for Artists
For an artist, her belief is her greatest gift. It is this belief that leads to creation. Come what may, no matter how grim the situation in your life may be, hold on to your belief, because it's your default float. Your Belief will never let you drown. An artist is God's gift to mankind; be humble enough to accept this beautiful blessing, but proud enough to tell the world, with authority, you are an ARTIST, and that you CREATE in order to make the world a better place to live in, today and tomorrow. Keep the faith!
Abstract Expressionism Paintings
Art Website: Shukla Chowdhury