Experiment, express, encore: three artists share tips and insights on creative success
In our second photo essay from the India Art Festival, we showcase more artistic highlights and curator insights.
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 735 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 Bengaluru edition of the India Art Festival 2023-2024 featured 100 booths and 3,500 artworks by 400 artists and 25 galleries. See Part I of our coverage here, along with our five-part series on the earlier editions.
In this photo showcase, we feature the works of a range of exhibiting artists including Manoj Kumar Swain, Manoj Das, Ghanshyam Gupta, Sreekumar KB, and Sudha Adarsh. We also share insights from three artists on bouncing back from failure, experience at the festival, and tips for aspiring artists.
The artistic journey is full of twists and turns, ups and downs. “All artists go through their share of struggles especially when they are self-taught. You are a one-person team trying to learn, paint, market, manage, and sell all by yourself,” mixed-media artist Mrinalini Shingal tells YourStory.
“Many a times, what looks like an utter disappointment in the beginning turns out to be a happy accident in the end,” she says. She cites artist Bob Ross in this regard: "There are no mistakes, there are only happy accidents!”
But there are days that feel really heavy and one needs to show some self-love and just trust the journey, she admits. “Some ways one can move on is by introspecting where and how one needs to improve,” Shingal says.
“Staying motivated is often the most difficult part. I work on multiple projects simultaneously to enjoy what I create,” she explains. Mental and physical fitness also help navigate through difficult phases.
“Artists learn and grow from mistakes and failures by embracing them as opportunities for growth,” says art curator Erum Khan, Founder of Aura Planet in New Delhi.
Continuous self-reflection, seeking constructive feedback, and a commitment to improvement are essential. “Learning from setbacks is integral to evolving as an artist,” she affirms.
“Mistakes and failures have been my unexpected guides throughout my artistic journey. They've taught me a lot,” says charcoal artist Gautam Bansal. These lessons include shift perspective, experiment, analyse mis-steps, seek insights, and keep learning.
“Initially, I used to see mistakes as roadblocks, but now they're like unexpected turns on an adventurous path—leading to new discoveries,” he explains.
Experimenting with new techniques or materials sometimes leads to surprisingly delightful outcomes. “Conversations with fellow artists or mentors have been incredibly enlightening. Their fresh perspective often reveals nuances I might have overlooked,” Bansal adds.
Resilience has often led to unexpected creative breakthroughs. “Documenting my process through pictures has been invaluable. It's like flipping through a visual diary of creative growth,” he enthuses.
The exhibiting artists benefited in a number of ways from the festival. “Participating has been an enriching experience. The audience’s feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, appreciating the diversity and quality of the showcased artworks,” says Erum Khan.
“My experience at the festival was totally unanticipated as I don’t come from the professional art background. I had never gauged my art before in a professional art set up,” recalls Mrinalini Shingal.
For a self -taught artist, exhibiting brings exposure and a sense of belonging to a broader community. “I met many fellow artists and learnt about their art journeys,” she says.
“Many people showed interest in custom canvas paintings and custom pet portraits on stones. I’d be happy to explore more of the custom art market,” Shingal says.
For Gautam Bansal the festival editions have always been a rewarding platform. “This event was vibrant, filled with art enthusiasts and fellow creators. The feedback I got was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging,” he says.
“Engaging with such a diverse audience and experiencing their unique reactions to my art was genuinely uplifting. Those four days at the show just flew by, and it was an absolute delight,” Bansal says.
Tips and advice
The artists also offer tips and advice for aspiring creators. “Embrace your uniqueness, stay committed to your craft, and never shy away from taking creative risks. The journey is as significant as the destination, so cherish every moment of growth and learning,” Erum Khan affirms.
Artists should believe in themselves and their style of work. “Practice loads, but don't sweat the mistakes, they're part of the gig,” Gauram Bansal suggests.
“Learn from others, stay curious, and try different things. When you find what vibes with you, dive deeper. Take feedback like a champ and remember, good art takes time,” he adds.
“Every artist’s journey is different and unique. We need to embrace it and grow at every stage. As an artist, you have the chance to tell your unique stories so tell them with absolute passion,” Mrinalini Shingal advises.
Artists should not be afraid to paint mediums and subjects that are not regarded as bestsellers. She signs off: “My mantra is explore, experiment, express, encore!”
Now what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and harness your creative side for a better world?
(All photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the festival.)
Edited by Suman Singh