Musings: Interview with Vishakha Ruhela

Vishakha Ruhela creates an enigmatic universe through her art, to fulfill her longing for exploration. Treating her viewers with an expanse of wonder, she let’s her imagination run wild, which makes for a thrilling ride.

Currently, a freelancer in Pondicherry, we caught up with Vishakha for a little chat.


INTERVIEW

We’re glad we could finally get to this chat, welcome- Vishakha! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi Team Cupick,

Firstly I would like to congratulate you for your venture and appreciate your initiative to bring artists’ and designers’ work to a wider market. There are many e-commerce sites on similar structure, but I find Cupick to be most organized and aesthetically pleasing. So, keep it up!

I was born in a ferocious and famous town of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh (don’t be scared, I don’t own a gun or actually be a little, as most of us do ;)). From the holy city of Haridwar, the city of Meerut where Mangal Pandey started a revolution to romantic destinations like Mussoorie and Dehradun, the place is surrounded by history and culture. You should come and taste the “Golgappas and Aloo tikkis” (Indian Spicy Snacks) served here.

After completing my high school education in Holy Angels’ Convent School (Proud Angelite) I decided to start preparing for engineering and for that I made a decision that changed my life. I moved to Kota, an educational hub (or should I say a place where educating young minds is nothing less than a business). Now let me tell you, only a fellow student who went through the same would understand the kind of pressure that builds up when you prepare for engineering in India, where almost every other student is your competitor, and working as hard as you are. I suppose you can guess what happened next. Even after being a topper in high school, my performance degraded, and I could not get through. But the miracle happened then!! I made few very close friends there and one of them showed me the way to NIFT. Long story short, with no preparation at all, I could at least manage to get a seat in few centers, and I chose Kannur (Kerala).

It was a distant land which I knew nothing about. I knew where to mark it in the Indian map as taught in Geography; I knew people speak Malayalam there which has nothing common with Hindi. In all it was a place like I had never seen before. This gave me an opportunity to explore and I moved to the God’s Own Country. My deep interest in Textile Designing helped me to perform well academically, and my interest in sports gave me an opportunity to boost my confidence. For many, college was a punishment, the last option they had to choose because they didn’t have any other center to go to. For others it was a place away from home, a soothing place where there were more trees than houses, beaches in every other corner and amazing chicken/beef for the core non vegetarians (I had my first Chicken Shawarma here only, and it is one of the best chicken dishes I have ever had). I loved it here. I used to visit Mumbai during short holidays, and that city again has a special place in my heart.

During my third year, I got a scholarship to study in England for a whole semester, and with the heartwarming support of my friends and family I moved to Leicester. Living abroad, experiencing various cultures, exploring various lakes and mountains, knowing various forms of art and design, those months in Leicester gave me a whole new perspective. When I returned to India, I was full of positivity and enthusiasm.

The next place I got to live for a substantial amount of time was Auroville. Oh boy!! What a place! During my graduation project in Upasana Design Studio, I met few of the best people in my life, experienced a different kind of India and most importantly learned to ride a bike!! I have a deep feeling that I might end up living in that place sooner or later.

So by now, you would have understood how much I love travelling. So just after graduating, I decided to explore India and my parents gave me a green signal (It was actually a “Jaa Simran! Jee le apni Zindagi” kind of DDLJ FAN FOREVER moment :P). Starting with Gujarat, I ended up exploring Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Vrindavan, Lucknow, Amritsar, Jaipur, Goa and Mumbai within around 10 days of travel. I discovered myself whilst I travelled. I saw how vast this nation is, and how varied the culture is from state to state.

I landed a job in Bangalore, during our campus placements and was very excited for it. I worked in that company for about a year. Meanwhile, I got this chance to travel to USA where I could explore and I had a choice to make. It was indeed a difficult decision to leave a job which paid for the rent and the food but I have always been passionate about travelling, meeting new people and learning about different cultures. It makes me grow as a person and I learn a lot. So, one day I thought, “I need to take this break while I can, because chances like these don’t come often”. I faced both: criticism and support. My parents have been really supportive of my decisions. They have taught me well. So, with full support from their side and from my friends, I gave my resignation. I packed my bags, rode down to Pondicherry from Bangalore on my Black mamba (Baja Avenger) and spent a month planning my travels for USA.

The day I would have completed one year if I didn’t quit that job, I was done visiting Niagara Falls and was standing at the top of Grand Canyon and that feeling was indescribable.

My father is a dermatologist and he has his annual conferences all over India. From my childhood, he used to take the whole family with him for a nice vacation. So I have travelled most of south India with him. Even after having a very busy schedule as a doctor, he always used to take time out to take us around, even if it was a small town nearby. I believe I have left a part of me in each and every place I have ever lived, and will be living in future, for I travel to discover and not to reach the destination.

Currently I am freelancing and working on a plan to set up my own venture in partnership with a close friend. My plans are to stay in Pondicherry for some months and then see where life takes me.

How did you realize that art was an essential element of your perspective?

As I told you, NIFT happened by chance to me. Perhaps, it was my fate. Though I always had interest in art and crafts since my childhood, which included small things like painting rangoli on our house floor, decorating my cupboard doors and maintaining scrap books and diaries; I became serious about my future in design when I started studying Textiles. It was like a new door to infinite opportunities opened to me and I was hungry to grab them.

vishakha3
DSLR by Vishakha Ruhela

Prints, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

vishakha4
All Things Matter by Vishakha Ruhela

Prints, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

Are there any particular themes you like to explore in your work?

I do not have a genre as such when it comes to design. But I do love to play with geometry, microbial drawings and surrealistic psychedelics. I sometimes end up finding inspiration at the most unexpected places like an ant trail on a muddy road or movies like Avatar.

Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration?

My mother inspires me at every step of my life. She is the strongest and most determined lady I know and I would be blessed if I could become even 1% like her. Her sheer will power, care for her family and friends, and most importantly her nature to experiment with whatever comes her way is applaud worthy.

Talk us through your creative process. How long does it take you from ideation to the finished product?

I usually sketch up in my diary whenever inspiration strikes and keep exploring the theme. I share them on social media and study the response of people who come across my work. Later I develop those sketches digitally so that they can be used for production purposes. There is no definite timeline followed for the process, but I do try to make at least 3 sketches a day, given that I am not working on any other project at the same time.

vishakha5
The Flutterfly Effect by Vishakha Ruhela

Prints, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

We are eager to learn about the tools you use. Could you give us a quick preview of your inventory?

I use pigment markers to directly draw in my sketchbooks and avoid using pencils for making a rough sketch. With time I have become bit more confident that I can trust my pen’s flow. Most of my drawings are free hand, and some involve using a measuring scale. I then re draw my work in vector form using Adobe Illustrator and develop various color options to choose from to get the final artwork.

Would you mind letting us have a peek at your work station? 

Vishakha1
Vishakha’s Work Station
Vishakha2
Vishakha’s Workstation

Do you remember the first thing you ever drew?

I am not sure that I do, but I do remember scribbling on back of all my notebooks as a kid and making doodles of all kinds when he lecture got a bit boring.

If were to choose from all your work till date, what would you pick as your most favorite artwork?

That’s one of the most difficult questions faced by any creator. Be it a designer or a software developer, all things created by one is held dear. One of my very first artworks available as print was based on theme of D.S.L.R. and has been liked and purchased by many, so I guess that makes it special.

Procrastination- how would you define your relationship with it? And how do you deal with it?

I do get lost sometimes when I am doodling, as it’s like meditation when I draw. I do not realize sometimes that I started working at 6 am and its 6 pm already. But, I would say I never leave a thing for last minute. If I have a project which can be completed in a day and I have 3 days for it, I prefer to finish it off in the first day itself for my own peace of mind.

What is the one thing that keeps you going?

There is so much out there in the world, so many places and cultures to explore, books to read, ideas to draw and people to love. The hunger for that never dies and I keep striving to understand the universe around me.

vishakha6
If Mars Was Like That by Vishakha Ruhela

Prints, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

Does music play an important part in your creative process? Could we get a peek at the top songs on your playlist right now?

Yes, indeed! Music provides rhythm to body and soul and thus helps creating wonders. I am an old school person when it comes to music and listen to modern pop music only rarely. The Beatles, AC/DC, Jim Morrison, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Mohammed Rafi, RD Burman, Kishore  Kumar, Jagjit Singh are on top of mind to name a few.

Sure the top songs in my phone’s playlist right now are:

  1. All you need is love – The Beatles
  2. Madhushala – Manna De
  3. Kya hua Tera Wada – Mohammed Rafi
  4. Could you be loved – Bob Marley
  5. She loves you – The Beatles
  6. Late Night – Foals
  7. Fitzpleasure – Alt J
  8. Back to black – Amy Winehouse
  9. Jailhouse rock – Elvis Presley
  10. Purple haze – Jimi Hendrix

If given a chance to work with any artist in the world, who would you pick?

The great M.C. Escher has always inspired me by his tessellating and surrealistic drawings, and if possible I would have loved to work with him, if I was fortunate enough to be born in his time.

If you weren’t an artist, what do think you would be doing?

Well, if not a textile designer and a graphic artist, I might have ended up as an engineer, as I was preparing for it. But if I had the opportunity to do something other than that, I would have to loved to be a travel blogger, which I might end up doing in future also (you never know).

If you could have only one superpower, what would you choose?

To fly like super woman so that I can be anywhere, travel to any place and meet anyone I want to, without paying those hefty airline charges! That would indeed be awesome.

If you could give one piece of advice for aspiring artists reading this right now, what would that be?

Take life as it comes, and never let yourself be bugged down by social stigma. Quitting a job is not a bad thing. Continuing with that job even if you are not satisfied is wrong. Taking a break from being a money printing machine and spending your savings on experiences rather than things is not a bad thing. It’s the best thing that can happen to you. Believe me, exploring the world is like exploring yourself and the journey is never ending. When you do that, it will reflect in your work, and in your life and you will have the long strived happiness and satisfaction.

vishakha7
Tessellating Textures by Vishakha Ruhela

Prints, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

vishakha8
Intergalactic Consciousness by Vishakha Ruhela

Prints, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

How has the journey with Cupick been thus far?

Cupick was the first online platform I chose to showcase my artworks and still remains by best choice. The journey though not has been very long till now, but a smooth one. I firmly believe, with the dedication you see in Cupick’s team and the focus the team has, the future is pretty exciting and I would surely want to be a part of every bit of it!

 

Discover Vishakha’s artwork on Cupick at Cupick.com/vishakha

 

Check out Vishakha’s work on Facebook  and Instagram.

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Musings: Interview with Vishakha Ruhela

  1. Waise to har din khas hai
    Jab meri family mere sath hai
    Par aaj ke din mujhe ek anoodha ehsaas hai….
    Mujhe apni ladli pe naaj hai….
    Proud to have such as lovely n awesome daughter…….God bless u

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s