Roots and Wings, 2015

 

Roots and Wings, 2015 | 40 x60 | Acrylic on canvas

Roots and Wings, 2015 | 40 x60 | Acrylic on canvas

It is always frightening to embark upon a commissioned piece, especially with first time collectors. The expectations are high, the boundaries unclear and the guidelines not always well defined. But this is a success story- for all those artists out there who hate commissions- this one was fantastic and it makes me realize that there are reasons it worked and I want to document both the journey and these reasons.

My representative introduced me to the Talanki’s- a couple with three lovely girls in their gorgeous home in Lincoln Park, Chicago. It was clear upfront that they were drawn to my work and they wanted a centerpiece for their amazing living room. Talking to more made me realize what they were about, get a sense of their home and come up with some initial ideas. The next meeting to firm up the details was in my home-studio. Bonding over my beautiful hydrangeas and the joy of working with our hands- we sealed the deal- set approximate timelines (After all I am an artist- I can only give a range of when I can get it done by- not a date!!) and I promised to start work on it while I went to India for 1 month for a solo show- but before that we set a photo shoot date, where I would take some shots of the girls. The work had to integrate the center of their universe into it.

Photo day- an incredible afternoon, spent singing, dancing, playing sketching games- amidst smiles and tears, eating home-made granola and cookies and admiring snowglobes- I got acquainted with the three evolving personalities. I ended up with over 200 shots and a lot of ideas that I had about a month to ruminate over. Several ideas and sketches later, I knew what I wanted the work to be about. A lot of the ideas were being developed while I was in India getting ready for a solo show and struggling with the concept of maternity.

Coming back to Chicago- we finalized the details over email and  I shared some sketches with them and started on the piece a few weeks later. It was amazing how quickly the ideas and forms took shape. There were some corrections, deletions, changes that happened along the way but a visit from an artist friend helped point out the problem areas that I was ‘stuck’ in and why the piece wasn’t working. Fresh creative perspective that came in at the right time- the benefits of a wonderful creative community.

Delivery day was full of trepidation and anticipation. We had a friend drive us over in his van- the unveiling was sweet, the tears genuine and the words spoken- I will cherish forever. The oldest daughter read out the poem from my sketchbook titled “Roots and Wings” and the girls exclaimed how much they loved it. I gave her a pen drive with the pictures from the photoshoot, the images of me at work on the piece and a sketchbook with ideas and drawings to accompany the history of the work.

It was a day that validated my choice of career in a myriad of ways and left me with a memory of an experience that I will cherish for a long time to come.

 

Img coutesy: Bubbled photography

Img coutesy: Bubbled photography

 

Home show… Opening soon

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As we gear up for the opening, choosing frames, photographing work, sending press releases and invites I’m getting pretty excited about the opening and the show…

More to follow soon!

And it’s done

I’m slaving away for a show in Mumbai this September and using every skill I have to convert my ideas into paintings in the limited amount of time I have.

Sometimes my paintings just get stuck. I come up with an idea, sketch, turn to canvas, paint and then when I’m about 80% done- Wall… So I’m at the point where instead of spending weeks (that I don’t have) resolving the work, I have 5 at that almost – compete stage. I’m just moving on. Abandoning the work, so to say. And then, early in the morning 7am when I’m back in the studio, it just resolves itself…

Nothing like a deadline to motivate. Nothing like the morning to inspire.

I’m happy with this one. It’s nameless as of now but it makes me feel content. For now…

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Untitled 24 x 36 Acrylic on gessobord

Not Just another pretty face: Masood Zaman and Brad Blankenship

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Created by the Hyde Park Art Center, Not Just Another Pretty Face allows the Art Center to play matchmaker for artists and potential art buyers, facilitating a fun, accessible commissioning process that builds lasting relationships between artists and patrons, creates a new base of support for artists, and invests in the vitality of Chicago’s cultural community.

Brad and Masood came to my studio after looking at my portfolio. Each of them connected to my work on a different level. Masood, a doctor, originally from the Asian subcontinent- could related to my work as it essentially evoked sentiments of nostalgia. Brad, an educator- connected with the text and the literacy being the most vital transforming force that elevates a life from abject poverty.

My work is a comment upon resilience in the face of urban deprivation. The irony of the bookseller who cannot read resonated with both of them and I knew that that is what I wanted the work to be about. I wanted illegible text to be an important part of the work and wrote a poem for the painting. As both of them would probably be the ones sitting in that car, while the bookseller comes up to them, I played with different vantage points and perspectives and finally settled on the reflection of the bookseller in the car.

Being from India and working as a volunteer in the education space- I could relate to both of them very easily. We discussed broad ideas and themes and the final execution was completely at my discretion.

Yesterday was the unveiling of the show- with each work covered with a white sheet till all the artists and patrons arrived at 7pm. After 45 minutes and a short introduction by Kate Lorenz, the work was uncovered and each patron got a chance to look at and discuss the work with the artist. Each artist and patron received a beautiful catalogue and everyone enjoyed an amazing evening at the art center. The show received some wonderful press from Chicago Gallery News and The Atlantic and I personally could not have been happier that I was chosen to be part of this incredible endeavor.

 

In and Out, 2013 | 36x24in | Acrylic on Canvas

In and Out, 2013 | 36x24in | Acrylic on Canvas

Not just another pretty face: Jane Chapman

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Created by the Hyde Park Art Center, Not Just Another Pretty Face allows the Art Center to play matchmaker for artists and potential art buyers, facilitating a fun, accessible commissioning process that builds lasting relationships between artists and patrons, creates a new base of support for artists, and invests in the vitality of Chicago’s cultural community.

I met Jane first in the home of another potential patron and later in her wonderful home in Evanston. From our first meeting, it was evident that getting to know Jane was like peeling layers off an onion. She slowly spoke about the many roles she played as a wife, a store owner, mother, a community member, a world traveller and even occasionally an artist. Her appreciation for and love of art came through in everything she spoke of- her art collection at home, her son’s photography, her daughters passion for ceramics.

She mentioned the transformative process she underwent when she started a ceramics workshop at the Evanston arts center. My work focuses around the issues of labor and literacy and the beauty of working with your hands. I wanted to capture this moment in an abstracted way highlighting the roles that she plays. Her daughter, Emily is currently a full-time ceramist and I started by photographing her while she worked in the studio. I then translated the images into drawings and the final piece is a painting that shows Emily working on the pottery wheel.

The piece is about labor, about the complex roles that women play in society and about handing down passion from one generation to the next. My goal was to focus on the uniqueness of the individual and highlight that each of us with our zest for life and unique passions can be much more than just another brick in the wall.

More than just |16x 12in + 5.5x6in | Mixed media on gessoboard and faux brick panel

More than just |16x 12in + 5.5x6in | Mixed media on gessoboard and faux brick panel