Up until this trip I never really planned out my work. I would start with a layer and just kind of take off from there. I used to have limited time for my art so this process worked for me. I enjoyed the experimental process and where it led me. Every time I took the paper off the press it was like Christmas, I never knew what was going to happen. I had a studio visit with a friend and after he left he told me to find the balance between intention and intuition. That resonated with me a great deal and I still think about it.
After coming to Chhaap, I had time to slow down the entire process and really think about it. I started with the paintings and they took a huge step forward in the first week. It was my first time really giving any kind of dedicated time to creating acrylic paintings. Someone gave me the advice to try sticking to two colors and try a limited palette. That idea really panned out and was quite successful. I did little thumbnail sketches and some of the main structure stemmed from those. After each mark I knew how to react with the next thing. I came into a routine and was able to grow with each painting.
The monotypes kept the same process. However this time, there was no time restraint. I think that gave me the opportunity to let the ideas just flow organically. I wasn’t sure how the Akua Inks were going to react to the climate of India. It has worked out really well so far. The inks dry faster on the paper. About twelve hours is sufficient. In America it would take a good two weeks to fully dry. If I leave residual ink on the plate, I can come back after two days and still print a nice ghost print which is amazing. I have taken some old ideas and combined them with some new ones.
The prints communicate my experience with the culture. This set of prints talks about my life in India as an American born Indian. I have found that Baroda is good-sized city for me. It’s pretty clean, not too big. The traffic isn’t completely out of control. I can get around no problem. I haven’t really been ripped off. I know enough to haggle with the rickshaw driver about prices. I wasn’t sure if I would get homesick or really what was going to happen. I had no transition for this trip. I stopped teaching on Friday and was on a plane headed to India on Saturday morning. The thing about India is the hospitality is incomparable to anywhere else. Before I headed to India, I began to tell people about my trip. Just about every Indian person told me they knew someone in Baroda and not to hesitate to reach out. Everyone I have met has had my best interest at heart and has been really helpful. People go out of their way to make you feel at home and there is nothing quite like it anywhere else. I am trying to not take anything for granted while I am here. I am forever grateful to have my Indian heritage. It gives me something to be proud of and something to visually portray every day.