Shreya Bhatia is an illustrator based in Delhi, who turns her intimate thoughts into a vivid and colourful utopia. It is a paradox that she creates. Her portraits reveal an unobtrusive calmness beneath all the chaos that her artwork seems to represent.
We caught up with her for a little chat where she revealed to us her inspirations and aspirations. Check out her work only at Cupick.com/roadhouseblues.
We’re glad we could get to this chat, welcome- Shreya! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and brought up in Noida, on the border between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, Went to School in Noida itself. Due to the fact that I was professionally dancing and pursuing theatre at the age of 14, I decided to opt to stay in Delhi for college initially, and decided to do a bachelor of Art’s in Philosophy. Obviously that failed miserably, Since I realized I was meant to do a lot more than that and decided to opt out and apply to Art School.
After dropping out of Delhi University after a semester, I finally graduated from Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology in Bangalore in 2015. Spending time in Bangalore finally allowed me to see the clouds and breathe fresh air which made a great environment to think, explore , collaborate and experiment with my peers at School. I engaged with subjects like Natural Building, Law and environmental design, Public Art Installations and Experimental and Non-fiction film practices during my time at Srishti.
My diploma project was a documentary film based on Olive Ridley Sea turtles. By skill, I am a film maker, and I would also like to call myself a Visual artist and Creative Writer.
However, I am currently volunteering in a Rainforest in Coorg trying to learn about organic farming and Eco tourism practices. The idea is to spend my time learning from nature and growing some food so I can monitor what I consume and how much I really ‘need’. Along with ofcourse, breathing the amazing air and getting to live inside a coffee plantation.
(describe the place you come from, childhood, your current occupation, where you stay right now, etc-something which isn’t already listed on social media).
How did you realize that art was an essential element of your perspective?
It was never really a realization, I have been making art since I can even remember. Even as a child, my parents allowed me to scribble on the walls and appreciated my vision for what it was.
I discovered after going to art school that my visual language was distinct and different from my peers, and that I could express my deeper, psychological insecurities to myself through mindless doodles and how I used color. I could not survive without art as it is the only way I find to express myself.
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Are there any particular themes you like to explore in your work?
The themes of my artwork are mostly representative of my deeper emotions, people or events that I think about or anything I am visually exposing myself to while drawing. Like a conversation or a TV show.
Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration?
My inspiration to continue drawing came from winning a ‘Little Picasso Award’ when I was 8 year’s old in an inter school event, which exposed me to Pablo Picasso’s artwork and consequently fall in love with art. My parents also gifted me a lot of books on Art which exposed me to artists like Dali, Klimt, Van gogh, Frieda Kahlo , Lucien Freud etc.
Another landmark of Inspiration to continue making art for me was coping with losing my father through my art. Writing and drawing how I was feeling really changed my life and helped me express my pain better than I could socially.
We are eager to learn about the tools you use. Could you give us a quick preview of your inventory?
My favorite tool is Photoshop. I digitally color everything on Photoshop rather than illustrator, I don’t even know why, I think I enjoy the interface of Photoshop a little because it is similar to MS Paint. So I scan my drawings and digitally color or I use photographs to montage on Photoshop again.
I really enjoy stream of consciousness doodling.
Would you mind letting us have a peek at your work station?
My work station is essentially anywhere I can set up my laptop or sit and doodle at. I never work in the same space over and over again. As of now my workspace is a small bench outside my volunteer room inside a coffee plantation. I am attaching a photograph of how I take pictures of my doodles on Iphoto and then photoshop it. I donot really have a work station, all I need is my notebook and a pen.
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Do you remember the first thing you ever drew?
Haha, I actually do remember the first thing I ever drew was a Hut and a stream with stick figures as people playing hopscotch around it, It was as part of an assignment in Class when I had just started Play school. Circa 1994
If were to choose from all your work till date, what would you pick as your most favourite artwork?
Honestly, It is not some thing I can choose. My art work is very subjective and has to do with my current state of mind, and Since I am always evolving it is hard to say whether I have a favorite.
But the one I enjoyed making the most is titled Sweet Dreams (on Cupick). I had made it at a very nocturnal stage in my life, when I was going through depression.
Procrastination- how would you define your relationship with it? And how do you deal with it?
It almost feels like I gave birth to it, I can procrastinate anything to the end of time, and since I am a procrastinator, my way of dealing with it is not dealing with it at all. It is probably the only way I know.
What is the one thing that keeps you going?
The fact that I have hands that can move and a mind that can interpret everything I see through a different perspective keeps me motivated and inquisitive about what I will produce myself.
I never start working on anything knowing how it will turn out in the end, To make that decision in my opinion takes the piss out of my entire artistic process.
Does music play an important part in your creative process? Could we get a peek at the top songs on your playlist right now?
On the contrary, I cannot work to music, Maybe I am a weird creature. But I cannot listen to anything when I am working. I am alright with generic sounds like people talking and birds etc,
However, to listen to music and draw is not something I have done before. I do prefer watching Tv shows while working. Mostly things I can listen to and not always watch. My favorite show to listen to while doodling is by far Doctor Who.
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Do you think that art (consumable art) in India is gaining ground?
I think it is high time that Art makes its space to everyone and allows anyone to express themselves freely. And watching many artists in the same platform really opens ones mind to how many ways there are to interpret the same thing. Every one is actually perceiving the world very differently and art is the only indication to share a glimpse into someone’s mind.
Consumable Art is now catching up because I feel we are in a time of great struggle of the mind with many questions, And the only way to address certain political and social notions are now through artistic expression and not through words and reports.
If given a chance to work with any artist in the world, who would you pick?
I would choose Ai Weiwei if I were to work with a living artist of this world. Putting together large scale installations and getting permission to do it anywhere in the world.
If you weren’t an artist, what do think you would be doing?
I would definitely be a full time organic farmer if not an artist.
Or I would work for the government or anti government and go into policy making.
If you could have only one superpower, what would you choose?
Since I am a Doctor Who buff, I would want my superpower to be able to travel anywhere across time and space. Go to the beginning of Art and the very end too.
If you could give one piece of advice for aspiring artists reading this right now, what would that be?
My only advise is don’t take my advise and be who you want. No one can teach you Art, people can only share techniques and processes with you.
And donot get carried away with replicating the world around you, It is too perfect to copy. Try instead to reflect on yourself through your practise.
How has the journey with Cupick been thus far?
Cupick has been an extremely encouraging medium for me personally, Since I did not know how to make my art accessible to people so easily before it. The encouragement has definitely motivated me to keep going and continue my own practice.
I hope Cupick picks up in a lot bigger way over time because what they are doing is actually staring a revolution in many ways by allowing artists to reach out.
Check out Shreya’s artwork only at Cupick.com/roadhouseblues