Love for… and memory of…

I’ll Always Remember, 2019 | Acrylic and Collage on Canvas | 24 x 36 in

“Because faith, belief, forever are only words, no matter. Because matter disappears, always and eventually.” Excerpt from After Words, by Kimberly Blaeser

After over a decade, I met a friend who was just starting out on an IVF journey while I had just come out on the other side with a new baby. We are friends in faith from a long time ago with paths so intertwined that it seemed apt that I find her again. Her journey turned out to be long and tumultuous- filled with love, laughter, loss and longing- like most such journeys are. I know she is stronger for it and I know her faith is going to make the world a better place.

After her baby boy passed away, she was gifted a rainbow child and she asked me make her a artwork to commemorate her story- a story with heartbeats and daimoku, a story with angels and lotuses, a story with one chapter that ended too briefly and another song that came shortly after.

Dear Smish, Alex, Anik and Avi- May this visual depiction of color, line and memories bring you joy in the everyday!

Sticks and Stones

Sometimes as an artist I just have an itch. I can’t seem to explain what I’m trying to make or why or how it’s connected to my other work but I just need to get it out of my system. I read about different artists who pick up a piece of nature from every place they travel to and I wish I was that precise in my collection of things and items- my process in the everyday seems so arbitrary- though I guess there might be some method to my madness.

I picked up these beautiful layered stones in Australia from Byron Bay and lugged them to India and then back to Chicago- so they are well loved, well traveled and coddled several times by TSA. I glazed them up, glue gunned some beads to them and then just strung them up with invisible string on a collection of sticks to appear like they’re floating.

Husband thinks they look like something from True Detective. It made me think of the poem #sticksandstones when I was working on them. Kid just thinks they are very cool.

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!

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