Why passion, exposure, and feedback are important: lessons from artists at Chitra Santhe
In Part III of this photo essay on Chitra Santhe 2019, we feature a wide range of paintings and installations, and more insights from artists on creativity and success.
PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 280 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The 16th edition of Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath’s Chitra Santhe ('painting fair') drew an estimated 400,000 fans of art. Art works at the festival this year were priced from Rs 100 to Rs 4 lakh, according to the organisers.
See Part 1 and Part II of our 2019 coverage, and write-ups on the earlier editions in 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015. This annual edition of the festival was dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, as a celebration of his 150th birth anniversary.
Kerala mural artist Sheethal Chandran finds the overall experience from Chitra Santhe exciting and fulfilling. “Till last year, I was one among the audience who come to explore different art forms. This year, we got an opportunity to become a part of Chitra Santhe,” she said, in a chat with YourStory.
“This art festival is a great opportunity for art lovers to see and explore different art forms from around the country,” Sheethal adds. Many visitors and customers at their stall were viewing Kerala mural paintings for the first time. “We are happy that our traditional art form found a small space in the audience’s mind and gave them a new experience,” she says.
Artist Asha Bhat has been an exhibitor at Chitra Santhe for four years. “I always feel that it is an opportunity to interact with the art community directly. We get to meet experienced artists and know more about the art world,” she explains.
“Marketing and networking will help you overcome the fear of exhibiting your paintings to the outside world,” she advises aspiring artists. “The key to getting better is practice, there is no short cut. You can study your favourite artist, but never copy anyone,” she adds.
“Don't listen to your close friends and family members, who can't be good critics. For them, your art work will be always perfect. Find someone who can give you honest feedback,” Asha cautions.
“Don't get demotivated with the success of others, use them as inspiration instead of feeling low. Make sure that you spend at least a few minutes out of your everyday life to notice and appreciate your beautiful surroundings,” Asha suggests.
Festivals are good for getting appreciation and sales for art works. “The only thing I don't like is the way people bargain as if they are in a vegetable market, without knowing the value of art. Obviously it hurts,” she laments.
“Art has always played a major part in my life and I have always been connected to it, in one way or the other. Whenever I fail to express myself through words, art helps me,” Asha adds. She describes art as therapeutic and even as a painkiller for her endometrial cysts; it is now an integral part of her life.
“Even though we as artists have our own journeys to take, I also believe in healthy competition, which I found at Chitra Santhe,” adds Bengaluru-based painter Manisha Mohnani.
She defines art from her perspective as process and progress. “It’s an amalgamation of all experiences I go through. I try to express all that creates an impression on me. My emotional state seeps into my artwork completely. I believe art inspired by emotions touches the heart of the visitor, and I want the viewer to take that journey,” Manisha explains.
As advice for aspiring artists, she suggests that they create art every single day. “That not only includes making a painting but also the preparation for it - like sketching, drawing, observing, reading, meditating, exploring, and so on,” she recommends.
Manisha believes every artist needs to think and act like an entrepreneur. “Coming out of your studio, marketing yourself and your art, and interacting with the art industry is important. Inputs of the audience are equally important,” she emphasises.
“Enjoy what you are doing. Your creativity is the quality that you bring to your activity. It is an attitude, an inner approach of how you look at things. And finally, always have gratitude,” Manisha advises.
“Chitra Santhe has a vibe that lifts your spirits to a different level. What makes the vibe so illuminating is the sheer passion that every single person brings, both artist and art lover,” enthuses Saptami Rao.
“This was my first time at Chitra Santhe and I loved every bit of it! It clearly made a point that no single art form or piece is better than the other. Each creation has a unique beautiful story,” she explains. For her, art is bringing out the essence of something in its abstract yet most true form. “It is about communicating through colours that which cannot be said by mere words,” Saptami says.
She also offers tips for aspiring artists. “A lot of people attempt to emphasise skills, techniques, materials, content, or themes. But I very firmly believe the primary metric that matters and becomes evident through one’s art is whether you enjoy producing the content,” she explains.
“If you aren’t enjoying and having the most fun creating something, it will show up in your art, and most people can perceive this at a subliminal level. Creating something using the right techniques and materials while not also being passionate about it will always result in work that not a lot of people can resonate with,” Saptami cautions.
Now what have you done today to go beyond productivity and quality in your job, and find true passion and love in your work?
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