‘Giving up is neither an option nor a solution’ – how these artists show their commitment to creativity

Pandemic restrictions were particularly tough on artists, but many found new avenues of creativity. Here are pictorial highlights and insights from three inspiring artists.
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Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 550 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

The 18th edition of the annual Chitra Santhe art festival was held virtually due to the pandemic (see our extended photo-essay series here). Hosted by Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru, the festival featured over 1,000 artists from India and overseas.

See also YourStory’s coverage of six earlier editions of Chitra Santhe: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, as well as compilations of Top Quotes of 2020 on Art in the Era of the Pandemic, Indian Art, Art Appreciation and Practice, and Beauty and Business of Art.

Kirti Sarvesh Ranade

Kirti Sarvesh Ranade

“Art is an exploration of the soul. Art is meditative and therapeutic. The way I look at it, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” explains stained-glass artist Kirti Sarvesh Ranade, in a chat with YourStory.

A former software architect, she is now a full-time artist. “My art consists of mosaics in stained glass. With each new artwork, I look at improvising from what I did last, in terms of skill, technique, and finesse,” she adds.

As an artist, she defines success as satisfaction from the perspective of herself, viewers, and clients. “Success is improvising and learning from one artwork to the next. Commercial success is just a side effect,” Kirti says.

She calls for greater appreciation for art in society. “Audiences should be able to understand the process of creation and the effort which goes into making any piece of art, rather than just looking at the end product as something to buy,” Kirti describes.

Some of her displayed works at Chitra Santhe feature animal portraits. Her works are priced from Rs 500 to over a lakh, depending on the size and intricacy.

“I showcase how hand-cut coloured glass can look beautiful, intricate, and classy – in spite of being broken,” Kirti explains.

Though the pandemic was tough on the art world, she kept exploring and experimenting during the lockdowns. “Corona or not, I have handcrafted stained glass mosaics all through the year. I have never focused only on commercials, and that has kept me happy creating,” she proudly says.

Kirti Sarvesh Ranade

Though Kirti appreciates the international exposure of an online exhibition, she prefers the closeness and intimacy of physical exhibitions. “My work is such that you need to see it up close (physically) to understand what it takes to beautifully break glass the way it is used, and assemble all pieces together to create the end product,” she describes.

“I enjoy explaining the process to people who see it in person and the appreciation when they understand the efforts behind creating every single piece of art,” Kirti adds.

“Challenge yourself to do better with each artwork. Be your own competition, improvise with each new art piece,” she urges, as tips for aspiring artists.

Jagdish Mohanty

“Art for me is the most interesting journey of love, life, and light. This is a perfect medium of expression which connects me from the most tangible form to the subtle realms of manifestation,” explains Puducherry-based artist Jagdish Mohanty.

He sees art as a link between inspiration and expression. “I feel an urge to depict the deeper beauty, harmony, and joy in my canvas. Art takes me beyond boundaries and puts me face to face with the freedom of the unknown. My paintings are bridges of these two realities of life and creation,” he enthuses.

“I feel myself successful when I am able to express the subtle truth, beauty and joy adequately in my art work,” Jagdish adds. The process challenges skills inwardly and outwardly, but can ultimately lead to a masterpiece.

Jagdish Mohanty

For more appreciation of art in society, he calls for a deeper understanding of beauty beyond utilitarianism. “The mass production of things almost destroyed the artistic appreciation of things. Everyone need not have to be an artist, but a minimum sense of beauty should be there,” he suggests.

Jagdish’s paintings at Chitra Santhe are a bridge between worlds. “Human life is a mysterious journey through these realities,” he explains. His artworks are priced from Rs 15,000 upward.

He drew on inner strengths to overcome the hardships of the pandemic era. “Initially, I was affected by the negative impact of pain, despair and blankness of humanity. But soon, I collected myself and tried to address it the best way I could do,” he recalls.

“It is art which has the power of God to fight against any attack and save mankind. I used the time to explore the depth of my soul and the outcome was quite rewarding,” Jagdish proudly says.

Jagdish Mohanty

He acknowledges that online exhibitions were the only alternative during lockdowns, and also helped reached larger audiences. “But the best experience of the soul and body of artworks can only be felt in physical exhibitions – the ambience, aura, the joy of direct interaction with visitors,” Jagdish adds.

He also offers tips for aspiring artists. “Feel happy and proud to be an artist. It has the power to give you the joy and satisfaction which is most precious in life. Follow your deepest and highest quest,” he advises.

“Work hard, try to be original. Do not be overpowered by money or success, but follow your own deeper journey,” Jagdish adds.

“There are many things in the subtle higher domains, and true artists have to go to these levels of inspiration and bring down many new beauties. The world expects a lot from artists,” he affirms.

Neha Pradhan

“Art helps me sketch my imagination, and express things which I can't in words. It also helps me release my stress. I am someone who gets distracted easily, but when I am working on art I am 100 percent involved in it,” explains Neha Pradhan.

She defines success in terms of improvements of her art work. “I generally rely on people who motivate me and give me an honest answer,” she adds. She calls for more appreciation of art in society through deeper inculcation of art in the education system.

Some of Neha’s artworks focus on animal extinction, and the cruelty they face in human hands. “Each work has its own story and its own importance, which, some may find attractive and some may not,” she adds.

Neha Pradhan

The pandemic restrictions were difficult for the artist community. “As an artist, if you are unable to go out, then it gets a little difficult to explore new art horizons. I kept myself busy practicing my old art works and did a few more sketches,” Neha recalls.

She appreciates the advantages of online exhibitions, such as unlimited space. “However, the major disadvantage is that we can’t explain our work to the person who is buying or is interested in our work. It is harder to show our zeal and enthusiasm in a chat or call than face to face,” Neha laments.

“You might not notice how far you have come, and might feel like giving up, but the only solution to that is – you must keep going on,” she advises aspiring artists.

“Giving up is neither an option nor a solution,” Neha signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to harness your inner creativity?

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Neha Pradhan

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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