“Working on your dreams is a slow but satisfactory process but most of us give up too early”
Tell us about the shift from being a fashion designer to an independent artist?
Fashion Designing was a well thought career decision while art was just a hobby…later I realized there was not enough job satisfaction in the chosen career. My heart goes for art…
Shifting from designing to being an independent artist wasn’t planned. After working with various export houses and brands, I started a designer store in Gurgaon (year 2011). I was offered my first wall art project in year 2012. Owner of popular ‘Cafe Delhi heights’ saw one of my painting at my store and a year later asked me do wall painting for his new cafe. Soon after that project, work started rolling in.
What challenges did you face during this transformation?
Most of my projects came through word of mouth. So I didn’t feel the frustration or disappointment like others but it was challenging as I am a self-taught artist. There were people who would approach me and later cancel the project because I didn’t have a fine art degree. Also I have realized that you need to promote your work as much as possible. Unlike the performing artists, you need to work harder to be seen. I was bad at marketing and maybe that’s why it took me longer to reach where I am now.
Tell us the process as to how every project is handled right from planning to execution.
Each project is unique and handled differently. Though some clients give me freedom to paint as I want, there are projects like a book cover design where client wants specific artwork. We start with briefing, rough draft or a pencil sketch and then final artwork. Choice of colors are usually my decision.
Which has been your most memorable piece of work that you have created? Can you give us a brief description about it and the tools that you used for the same?
Though my portfolio was big with all wall art and painting projects, all of them were customized as per client specifications. Till now my expressions were restricted to some extent and I wanted to let it fly freely. I realized I don’t have any personal collection, something that shows who I am completely, so I decided to make a series of paintings without knowing if it will be accepted or appreciated by people. I decided to make a portrait, something that comes most naturally to me…big eyes, flowers in hair, bold colors…and a contrast black and white character…this painting speaks for me better than words and I have named it “Fearless”.
This painting was the first in the series, this is what I am or what I feel I am. I have been through many lows and every time I got back on my feet, with this painting I have tried capturing an expression that shows a woman who is fearless. She has faced a lot of challenges, yet she holds her head high and that’s why it’s close to my heart.
Who inspires you and what keeps you motivated to create such great piece of work?
Anyone who creates, inspires me. Singer, dancers, illustrators, potters, designers. I believe creating is important for personal growth. I know so many creative souls and checking their work on social media is the best and most inspiring way to start my day.
Painting makes me happy. I can browse art galleries for hours, watching someone paint gives me happiness, smell of paints uplifts my mood, it is something which can’t be explained in words. I just chose to follow my passion and you don’t need extra motivation to do something that gives you such joy.
What are the tools / software that you use regularly as a part of your work?
I love working with acrylics, they give solid rich texture. At times I work with water color when I am doing calligraphy but my personal favorite is acrylic colors. If you ask me about software, I work on Photoshop but I prefer to work manually.
Your art focuses on religious deities. Tell us more about it.
My work revolve around women portraits. Religious or god series is something I started my work with four years back. Most of my god series is commissioned work. I usually have some sort of image in my mind, whether it’s vague or vivid, and go from there. When I start a painting I generally have a sense of what it will look like, but I always leave room for the inevitable mistakes that will form and shape the piece.I have a passionate fascination for eyes and expressions and I try to capture that through my work. Major theme which I work on are women portraits. My current series of self portraits are inspired by different aspects of my life. Vibrant colours, contrasting shapes, light and shadow set the stage for my bold and dramatic world.
What does the industry demand in terms of technical skills from an upcoming artist?
Industry welcomes artists with open arms. Some of the greatest artists are self taught but you should know the rules to break it. You can experiment with shapes but you should know the basics. When it comes to wallart you need knowledge in terms of material, post artwork treatment, how to protect you work from decaying or fading, etc
Most of the clients aren’t aware of these things and as an artist it is your duty to know everything and to inform them beforehand about the procedure. Each surface needs different treatment, different medium of colour, some even needs sealer after work is done. An artist should know all that.
What message do you have in mind for the aspiring artists?
Working on your dreams is a slow but satisfactory process but most of us give up too early. Keep believing in yourself, don’t let challenges stop you from doing what you love. Practice daily, promote your work shamelessly and don’t ever give up.
To see more of Manvee’s work, click here