Embracing Art Part 3: Aishwarya and Meera Arora
After being flooded with many requests to write more about our very own Indian artists, I am here once again. One of them is both a writer and artist, trying to find her way through the chaos so that she can blossom into who she actually wants to be.
The other has gone through many struggles, taking up painting and artwork as a job. She is still learning through her experiences, and then some.
I first got into a conversation with Aishwarya. Ironically, this is the second time I am interviewing her; the first time for a writing app called Yourquote. From that time to today, a lot has changed with her.
“I belong to a small town of Bihar, so for us if you score 95% + in ICSE, you by default are destined to pursue science. Similarly, I was advised to keep my love for art and literature as a hobby and go for science .”
“I am about to complete a year at an engineering college. I have been surrounded by the walls of my classroom, my notebooks scribbled with single line quotes and many half finished stories. People who have been constantly reading me see that I don’t belong here. First few months were depressing, I sat alone and awake at nights, I slept throughout the day, I wrote my pent up frustration sometimes. And then somehow, I started reading Galib, Faiz, Amrita Pritam, John Elia. I read more often, I read them all night, and it felt peaceful.”
All of us find different ways to find our ‘home’. Some find it in people, others find it in work and yet some find it where their soul lies. Soon, tired with life and knowing this is where she did not want to be, she started writing.
“ I began writing, painting, sketching more often whenever I felt like be it three at night or noon. My insomnia had found a place to rest. People started me spotting for my works more often than before. Artists breathe appreciation and satisfaction. I knew keeping myself tied to art was the only way for the survival of my soul here.”
Through a lot of hardships, she finally overcame the tussle she was facing. She did what most of us could only dream of. She dropped engineering and is currently studying English honors from Delhi University.
Hitting the cliche right on the head, she tells me what art really means to her.
“Art isn’t a hobby, rather it is my passion, and I search for my existence in the void. Unfortunately, at that age I couldn’t resist the majority who were deciding my career. The society to where I belong prioritizes earning livelihood by the means of “a prestigious job”, which of course excludes stand-up comedians, spoken word artists, doodlers etc.”
From what I gathered, it is a given that artists to have a lot to suffer. But no amount of security is worth the suffering when you are living a mediocre life chained to a routine that is killing your dreams silently.
The painting shows an ink pot, the mandala rough painting behind and the embedded guitar and sitar: all these stand for art. The nude lady pictures that human body itself is an epitome of art. A circle with black patch and pink patches is tied to her legs, the dark patch is how they see art as and the pink shows its reality. It is a globe weighing heavy on her legs and stopping her from moving. Created using acrylics and water colors, it is titled ‘Art Enchained‘.
Meera Arora is a 20 year old currently studying at the Delhi Collage of Art. Unlike Aishwarya, she is a polar opposite who came from an artistic background. Her mother is a fine artist herself, and this is where her roots began to grow and have a firm hold on the ground.
“My mother has never pressurised me to pursue fine arts. It wasn’t until I was introduced to a school that was very open minded and gave its children the full fine art education they needed, that I realised my calling for it.”
When you’re in school, you are protected from the stones and thorns of the outside world. It becomes hard for people to appreciate it when compared to the reality outside.
It was not till later that Meera realized how sad an aspiring artist’s life can get. The difficulty of finding a job, the influence of the pervading digital world on paper artists, garnering basic respect for their work and a lot more.
Over time, she grew really agitated with all the problems she dealt with.
“Having skills proves nothing anyway because people still have a hard time grasping the fact that we would have to be paid to make things for them. This isn’t a bloody charity for the so-called “exposure”. It gets worse when your own friends ask you to do a very tedious task and tell us to let the money bit pass off because why? Friendship? Honestly? How long do they think artists like me will live off their parents’ money?”
She took the cat out of the bag and told me the various times her insecurities have been targeted. “This one time I made a mural for a friend’s cafe and we decided on an amount. Later on, I didn’t even get half of what we agreed on. And why? Because that’s totally alright since it’s between friends.I couldn’t even show my anger. I traveled everyday to that far off place to make it and was tired of the reasoning they were trying to give me.. The world has been known for exploiting innocence and naivety.”
Things do not really end here for her. “ Commissions went underpaid as the customer literally ignored all my means to contact them, Merchandise and prints that were never compensated for, I couldn’t learn to stand up for my work. At a certain point these many occurrences of being paid less just made me have a complete break down and doubt about the worth of the work I am providing. It took a lot of time before the over thinking and self demoralizing stopped.”
But there is no substitute for experience. It is like a collector’s item you carry. And Meera eventually learnt.
“My very first internship took me for granted since they refused to pay even after saying they would. It was precisely after this ordeal that I decided to be stern and rigid about the payments from my customer. I’m improving my ways of communicating with my clients now.”
She also has a beautiful online business titled Mechoidyll which offers beautiful artworks at nominal rates made by her. When I first approached her for Embracing Art, she was so excited about it and I, for once was visibly surprised. As she drew for others, she had forgotten what carefree drawing felt like.
The piece is titled “Flowerstorm” owing to her growth from a naïve artist to one with respect for her own work. It incorporates within her the good and innocent parts from when she began her journey and the mature changes caused by her experiences, if not all good.
Both Meera and Aishwarya are artists of roughly the same ages, yet being in same country they have had diverse experiences in their lives. It shaped them into who they are now, and I hope they both realize where their heart lies, and yours too, reader.