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HOMEGROWN CREATORS- Expressing raw emotions

A mother- daughter duo creating art and inspiring a million, April Moon is all about expressing raw emotions through symbolism.

Shreyasi, a B.Design student from NIFT and a former Head of Content for a leading lifestyle brand, is telling us about her journey of discovering her creative side and expression in the pandemic.

Shreyasi, please tell us how you got into expressing your creativity?

I always had a keen interest in art. All credit goes to my mother who, being a brilliant artist herself, exposed me from an early age to painting, embroidery, knitting and other crafts. It was however not always a career option for me. Like most kids, I dreamed of being a scientist or an astronaut at a young age. Even after graduating from NIFT and while working in the creative industry, art wasn't my forte. Art really came to me as a tool for self-expression in 2017. I started maintaining an art journal as a meditative practice. That opened the doors wide for me. It brought back that childhood joy of dipping my fingers in paint and brought so much meaning with it. In 2018, I started teaching myself digital illustration and eventually freelancing as an illustrator. I lost my job to the pandemic last year and my art came to my rescue. I license my art and work on freelance projects. We launched April Moon this year in April and since then, art has become my full time career.

As a creative individual what inspires your creativity?

My art revolves around people, emotions and nature in all their glory. What keeps me going as an artist is the power my art gives me. It enables me to reach so many people and bring them joy, bring them peace. As a reserved, socially awkward individual, it makes expressing myself effortless and I've realised, I am also enabling so many people who relate to my art express themselves better too.

Your art is all about nature with bold depictions of animals and colours... what is something that you try to communicate with your art?

I use a generous amount of colour and texture to create immersive pieces wherein, imagination blends with reality. You’ll notice that animals often dominate my artworks. I find animals do a great job of expressing raw emotions and I love using their symbolism to convey a thought. End of the day, my only goal is to fill the world with art that is cheerful, inspiring and stays in your heart.

Let talk about your creative process, how do you get into the mood to make your creations?

The process is never the same. I am not even very consistent. I let ideas and inspiration come naturally to me instead of letting any outside pressure or deadlines drive them. My art follows the curves of my thoughts, my emotional state and my environment at a given moment. I usually get very instantaneous inspiration which I am able to translate immediately without putting in much time. However, sometimes when I commit to do justice to a particular thought or purpose, I can take weeks just to come up with a sketch.

The biggest hurdle any artist faces are creative blocks. How do you overcome those?

I don't. Nobody does. You have to wait it out. You have to make peace with it. And in fact, use the time to recharge and replenish your creative juices. I usually start practicing a new technique or watching other artist's educational classes. I utilise that time to focus on logistics and admin jobs. I do the mundane. Eventually, the waves of inspiration wash over you again. You have to understand that even commercial artists can't constantly churn out artworks. At least not while doing justice to their craft.

We all know Instagram is the best way today to showcase one's work, and each day there are a thousand more profiles being added. What differentiates you from other creators on Instagram?

I don't believe in competition or comparisons. If you start listening to every creator's story, you'll find how awe inspiring and unique they all are. How they all have struggled to prove their worth and polish themselves to become great at what they do. I'd rather learn from them, support them and encourage the idea that there's room for all of us to co-exist beautifully. We are all creating something from our heart and that should bring us together. If I really must compare myself, I'll look at where I started. How far I've come in my journey and how far I have to go. That's a differentiation I am happy to focus on.

Being new to this field yourself, what advice do you have for the newbies out there?

If I could talk to my younger self, I'd tell her pursuing a creative profession doesn't downcast her intelligence or her ability to do what everyone else is doing. People may come and tell you they don't get what you do for a living, or they may tell you it is downright futile and you're on the path towards imminent failure. I'd tell her that the only thing that can really limit her is self-doubt. I'd encourage her to invest in her education and up-skilling herself. Nothing comes easy, nothing happens overnight. Hence, discipline and passion will be your best friends.

Lastly, what's your vision for the future?- What do you see the future for artists/ homegrown artists…

The world has already evolved so much in the past 5 years. Social media has blurred all boundaries. The fact that I was able to sell my art to customers in the UK and the US while sitting in isolation in my home blows my mind. And what's more is, licensing my art ensured I didn't have to invest a penny or have my own manufacturing. I guess the future can only get brighter and bring more possibilities our way. The one way to ensure you don't miss out is to stay in the know. Once you know how to put yourself and your work out there efficiently, there's no stopping you.

The pandemic has given the world bakers, singers, musicians, gym enthusiasts and most of all creative individuals.

Shreyasi's story is a testament of being sensitive to the evolving times that the Universe is throwing us into. Creating a path for yourself is only a way to self discovery and self love.

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