Every 'mistake' leads you on a path of discovery – how four artists describe their creative journeys to success
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 560 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 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.
“I am a passionate art junkie, who wants to become a professional and successful artist,” says Bengaluru-based artist Supreetha Indrakumar, who specialises in mandala art.
“Art is like meditation and gives peace of mind. For me, art is life. When I am happy, I paint; when I am sad, I paint. It’s a major part of my life,” she adds.
Success for her is being able to create something with which people can emotionally connect. “My goal is to be known as an artist with a unique style while still achieving commercial success,” Supreetha explains.
Her style is a mix of modern and traditional Indian art, priced from Rs 4,000 upward. “I take inspiration from the things around me, it could be something I saw while travelling or on TV,” she describes. For example, her painting Blue Splendor in Sunshine was inspired by a field of sunflowers she saw while visiting Nandi Hills.
Though the pandemic was a tough time, she kept herself occupied with painting and animation classes. “Small trips to the outskirts of Bengaluru are also helping in creating art inspired by nature,” Supreetha adds.
As a first-time exhibitor at Chitra Santhe, she was excited about the broad online exposure. “But I missed meeting people face to face as in a physical exhibition, seeing their reactions to my work, and hearing the comments. That’s a different experience altogether and also helps in learning better,” she describes.
“Stay true to your style while ensuring you follow the work of as many artists and designs to learn new ideas. It broadens your perspective,” Supreetha advises aspiring artists.
“Art, to me, is a means of reflection, an inward journey to explore the creative side of my personality. Working on art, either mandala art or my other love, photography, gives me a sense of calm and peace,” explains Bengaluru-based artist Manisha Raghunath.
She sees success in helping people connect with their inner self through art workshops. “Success is also when I am able to reach out to people who love my work and wish to have my work in their homes or offices, or would like to gift it to their loved ones,” she adds.
“In addition to the commercial side, I would term my ability to be a calmer person as success in itself,” Manisha affirms.
To increase art appreciation in society, she calls on the art community to come together, support one another, and organise immersive experiences for people. “When people respect the effort put in by artists and do not negotiate when purchasing art, appreciation for all art forms will see an increase,” she suggests.
Her mandala art pieces are priced Rs 1,000 upward, depending on size and intricacy. “With mandala art, I believe in going with the flow and letting the pen direct me when creating a piece,” Manisha describes.
During the pandemic, she brushed her skills and viewed other works of art and videos. “Refreshing one's basics is important in art. One has never truly learnt it all,” she emphasises.
Manisha appreciates the convenience of online exhibitions. “People do not have to step out of their homes to visit each time. They get to revisit an artist's work multiple times,” she describes.
“However, the adrenaline rush of preparing for a physical exhibition, that sense of belonging and oneness you share with fellow artists exhibiting together, is missing in the online format,” she laments.
She also offers tips for aspiring artists. “There is no right or wrong in art. Every 'mistake' leads you on a path of discovery,” Manisha advises.
Art means passion, expression and creation of imagination for artist Lakshmi Kesavan. She sees success in expression as well as appreciation and recognition.
She calls for more government support and educational activities to increase recognition of artists in society. “Artists need respect and value for their work,” she emphasises.
Lakshmi specialises in mandala and doodle art, as well as folk forms like gond and madhubani. Her artworks are priced from Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000. “I use vibrant and energetic colours. I like to add aspects that bring out positive energy and balance like yin-yang and chakras,” she describes.
During the pandemic, she concentrated on more artworks and getting orders. “The online channel saves travel time and transportation costs of art pieces. But I miss the physical interaction with people who come to see my pieces and appreciate them,” Lakshmi observes.
“Work with passion and stick on to your strengths – success will follow,” she advises aspiring artists.
“I am happy to experience the life I got and to explore my soul. So art for me is exploration of the soul and experiencing this beautiful life,” explains Kathmandu-based artist Reeta Manandhar.
Success for her is being able to create works of art during this exploration. She calls for greater appreciation of art in society right from the age of childhood.
For Chitra Santhe, Reeta displayed paintings conveying the feelings she went through during the tough times of the pandemic.
“We are lucky that due to this online exhibition, thousands of artists from different countries could participate. Yet, I miss the real charm of creations along with the interaction between artists and viewers,” Reeta says.
She also offers tips for aspiring artists. “Do what you love. Research on the subject you like and are comfortable with,” she suggests.
“Enjoy each and every moment of your work process. Continue exploring,” Reeta signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to harness your inner creativity?