HOMEGROWN CREATORS- "Grow with the Flow"
Today we speak to Niharika Gupta, a friend, an emerging art practitioner and a visual art facilitator from Mumbai. An avid art enthusiast, Niharika’s home is warm, welcoming and green all around. Colour is serious business in the world of an artist and Niharika’s love for art is evident in her work and her surroundings. “I have always loved art since the very beginning as it was a language I could best express myself in. It started out as an exciting hobby which made me embrace it further and now, there’s no turning back.
Niharika’s love of art might replicate what so many artists feel but her choice of combining it with another discipline is unique. She earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and crafts from Rachana Sansad Academy of Architecture in Mumbai and has also trained as a teacher in Early Childhood Care and Education and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from MIT ADT University, Pune. “I’m chuffed to have chosen art as my career path in the field of teaching which gives me a chance to share acquired knowledge with young creatives; plus, working in a gallery space (she interns at Gallery Art & Soul, Mumbai) means there’s never a dull day.” Niharika is evidently a prolific artist, going by the sheer number of works on display on Instagram. Is Instagram her preferred platform of choice? “Instagram is my virtual art journal. It shows my growth and change in the art world and I feel that it is what the audience needs to see to be able to connect with you.”
Every artist I speak to seems to have their own creative process. What’s yours?
I consider the process of creating the most vital part of art, even more than the final product. For me, my creative process involves ideas from music, lyrics, photographs and the occasional late-night conversation with friends. The time it takes to turn these ideas into art depends on the concept; some are easily created within a day while some I must dwell on for days, adding and subtracting curves and words here and there.
I use music as a companion too. It tends to communicate so many ideas which I can then translate into art. Are there any specific ideas you try to communicate through your art or is it more general?
I would say that most of my art communicates nature-related messages. My oeuvres are a tribute to Mother Nature. I think of myself as her brand ambassador, promoting her sentiments and I’m her mouthpiece by visually communicating what she feels. I want to communicate to the world her impact, her existence, her hue and her immortal but tragic beauty by personifying her on every level through symbolism and series work. I also want to give the viewer an idea of a dystopian world where nature does not exist.
I’m hearing ‘nature’ a lot. What about it inspires your creativity and draws you to it?
Nature has been my only constant in this ever-changing world. The theme allows me to keep that personal touch intact and when I say that every artwork is a piece of my soul, it absolutely is. Everything in nature inspires me, her tints, tones, shades, her beauty, the wholesome feeling I get being around her including her melancholic pain. Without saying much, she teaches a lot; my gratitude is a yellow sunflower, my patience are the roots, and my modesty is the neglected leaf of a flowering plant.
That was beautiful. Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty! Materials and medium. Always so different for each artist. From seeing your work, I’ve got a few guesses but I want to hear it from you.
I love working with watercolours, charcoal and acrylic. I recently started incorporating natural materials in my work by using fallen leaves as my canvas. My latest experiments include painting on furniture and I’ve come to love it. The lockdown forced me be mindful about the materials I use and switch to more sustainable options, wherever possible. I’ve recently taken to making multimedia work using scraps etc. on old canvases so that I’m not purchasing anything new.
Sustainability is definitely a good look in these uncertain times. So what would you say inspires you?
For me, inspiration lies in everything and anything. I take inspiration from the things I do in my routine life which includes music, poetry, movies, documentaries, conversations and of course, a whole lot of green. Once the inspiration is set, I connect it to myself and create a momentary memory for it to become a physical feeling on paper or any other surface. Inspiration is all about how one can perceive and connect with things. If you look closely and focus, inspiration will arise from the most mundane of things around you.
Speaking of mundane, don’t most artists encounter a creative block? Any tips on how to overcome one?
Ah yes! Two words that no artist likes to hear. To counter a creative block, I like to engage in conversation as it opens up a window of thoughts. I also look at the work I’ve done in the past and the many unexecuted ideas written down in my journal or I simply sit with my book and pen and start illustrating forms from which ideas may arise.
You’ve worked with primary grades 1 to 4 at Billabong High International School and the 1st Year degree course at SNDT P.V Polytechnic. From your experience with them, what is your advice to the younger generation of artists?
My advice to them is to never stop creating. Patience is key and so is acknowledging yourself for every little thing you accomplish, as it goes a long way. Be inquisitive, as it will compel you to read and research. Never neglect the history of art as it is not only your foundation but also a major repository of knowledge. In the case of art, an oeuvre a day, will keep the emptiness away.
Lastly, what is your vision for the future and the future of home-grown artists?
My mantra for the future is "Grow with the Flow" in the ever-evolving art world. My vision for the future is to continue to contribute and possibly invest in the art field in every possible way by making art easy to understand and more accessible to people. Facilitation of the arts will always be my goal for the future but for now, I’m working in an art gallery where I'm given the freedom to express my love for art.
These amazing pieces below are a testimony of art being in flow with nature!
As I leave Niharika’s home, I think back on our lively conversation and all the wonderful ideas she shared. I’ve met plenty of artists, both budding and professional, but Niharika’s undying enthusiasm for her art struck me as exactly the kind of representation young artists need to see. Her efforts at constantly reinventing her artist self is inspiring and it is evident from her beautiful works that she gives it her all.