I got the opportunity to take some time off work, so I wanted to take full advantage. Originally, I wanted to find a residency or something in the states, but nothing was really meshing. Instead I found Chhaap. In Gujarati (my native language), chhaap means impression. The name itself was enough to steal my heart. I began the process of contacting the foundation and everything seemed to work out.
Right before I was about the buy my ticket, my mom came up with the idea of surprising her dad and our family in India. I am absolutely awful at keeping surprises, but I am proud to say the entire surprise was a complete success! Being able to witness everyone’s expressions was surreal. They literally had no idea.
The first art related experience I got to encounter was attending a lecture and demo by Japanese woodcut artist Katsutoshi Yuasa. He explained the history of Japanese woodcuts up until contemporary prints. I already felt the creative juices flowing and completely inspired. I choose to hand print all my woodcuts and the process is very similar to the Japanese style. The difference is some of the tools. Next, Katsutoshi did a demonstration. I will be sure to use some of the techniques while I am in India on my own woodcuts.
Somewhere in high school, I let go of my passion of dance to fuel all of that creativity into making art. I grew up loving projects and anything creative but didn’t really have that much formal training. At the end of high school I took AP art and started at Pratt Institute the following year. My heritage and culture had an immeasurable impact on my aesthetic. I drew inspiration from henna designs and peacocks. The colors and textures all found their way into my work. Over time as I began to explore the realm of printmaking at Southern, my designs became more abstracted to the point of merely hinting at the original inspiration. The designs and colors explained my experience with the culture instead of merely reproducing it. My work depicts life experiences through the way they interact with layers of ink on paper. The way I deal with ruminating thoughts is to put them into a visual representation.
Every time I come to visit India, I leave with a changed perspective and newfound appreciation. I am looking forward to what this trip has to offer!