Creativity, craft, commerce: how artist-entrepreneur Pragya Jain blends the world of art and home decor
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 410 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 Bangalore International Centre recently hosted an art exhibition featuring the works of Pragya Jain, an award-winning graduate of the Delhi College of Art. Her works have also been exhibited overseas in the US, Russia and Bangladesh, and have made their way to numerous art collections by corporate houses. Pragya volunteers at charitable organisations, where she teaches art and auctions her works.
“Art is meant to stimulate the senses, stir the spirit, and create contemplation. I paint subjects that stay with me after a conversation, occurrences, and my travel. It’s a blend of calm and chaos,” Pragya explains, in a chat with YourStory.
Each section in her creations represents an experience, and the elements come together to create a blend of colors, emotions and messages. “In my work, the elements are camouflaged, yet obvious once concentrated upon. My brain naturally switches to abstraction and fragmentation, bringing a sense of mystery,” Pragya evocatively describes.
She intends her work to be vibrant, youthful, graceful, and hopeful, despite the disparity in the world. “This exists in the little details such as the choice of colours, or the uplifting running horses, or the silhouette of an innocent child. The nucleus of my paintings is in the miracles of nature that sustain life,” Pragya adds.
She founded Artychoke as a home interior brand focused on originality and eco-consciousness. Its offerings include furniture, wood products, fabrics and leatherette, and are handcrafted by artisans in New Delhi. Her artworks are priced from Rs 25,000 to Rs 3 lakhs, while the Artychoke portfolio of furniture, home décor and fashion accessories ranges from Rs 800 to Rs 50,000.
“I have been showcasing my art for 14 years now, and what I have learnt in these years is that there is a huge demand for artistic home décor along with art. Not everyone is looking at investing in art – people are comfortable with blank walls, but would rather have an artistic accent table in their living space,” Pragya observes.
The Artychoke brand is a reflection of Pragya’s art and how she sees it interpreted in product designs. The company is four years old and run by her mother in Delhi, her sister in Jaipur, and Pragya herself in Bengaluru.
“It’s a trio that works perfectly in sync together despite the distance. We thrive on the skill of Indian artisans who bring out such beauty in every product we make. Their skilled craftsmanship is a boon to our culture,” Pragya proudly says.
“I bagged my first art show as soon I graduated from college in 2005,” she recalls. Her earlier works focused on patterns of circles, and one of her first group shows was opened by Nawab Patoudi.
As trends in the world of art, she points to the way artists are working hard on waking up the world and showing them light, be it for a cleaner planet or gender equality. “I follow artists across the world, to watch how they think and stir the world. Any artwork created to drive a better future holds a lot of potential,” Pragya explains.
The average person normally doesn’t have the time or inclination to think about these bigger but important things. “It is the artist community’s job to awaken and sensitise the world,” she emphasises.
Her works have been praised for lyrical rhythms, flowing techniques, and use of geometric patterns. But she says neither compliments nor criticism deter her from the path to explore and create.
Pragya also observes that Indians are willing to spend lavishly on furniture imported from Europe, but are content with cheap reproduced art to fill their walls. “I feel that the upcoming generations need to be taught about our artists, authors need to write more about Indian masters, and these books need to be accessible to the young,” she urges.
She calls for wider learning and appreciation of Indian art forms through visits to galleries and museums, to help overcome misconceptions that art is difficult to understand. “I advocate standing for a few minutes in front of a work of art, only then can one allow it to captivate you. The viewer should think about what, when and how the artist worked on it,” Pragya advises.
A lot about the individual or emotion is hidden in the artwork, and viewers can connect with it at a spiritual level. “Sometimes, just the colours speak to you. But you need to open up in front of the art to allow it to speak to you,” Pragya suggests.
“Never give up,” she advises aspiring artists. There will be good shows and bad ones, there will be sales and there may be none.
“People may look at you with awe, or wonder why on earth you paint! Just don’t give up. Even while creating a work of art, don’t stop – you never know what you achieve,” Pragya signs off.
Now, what have you done today to stop in your busy schedule, and find resonance in your multiple creative sides?
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