Interview: Anshu Agrawal
Luca Curci talks with Anshu Agrawal during MIXING IDENTITIES, third appointment of CANVAS ART FAIR, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space in London.
Intuitively creative by nature, a fashion designer by training and a certified Yoga instructor, I have followed art in its many forms since childhood; in painting, designing, photography, writing, dancing, cooking and gardening. I am a self-taught artist and I enjoy painting with my fingers and hands the most. Colours speak to me. I identify different moods with different colours. When I paint, I start by dipping my fingers in the paints and feeling their warmth. The joy that this ritual brings is therapeutic and before I know, I become one with my creation. Multilayered with textures and collages, my art is the reflection of my experiences in day-to-day life, my travel across continents and cultures, a sublime amalgamation of human emotions and the spiritual. I try to communicate through my paintings the spontaneity of my creative urges, where colours, paints and textures create a rich, vibrant and contrasting mood. I would like my art to have a calming and soothing effect on the minds of the viewer. I dream of an art that is ebullient and liberating. I want to focus on art, healthy living and sustainability. My creativity percolates from my studio into my kitchen where I churn up healthy recipes inspired by Yoga, Ayurveda and personal wellbeing. The warmth of paints, sight and smell of colourful fresh produce and the yoga mat where I breathe and focus, fuel my creative energy to heal mind, body and soul. I am trying to incorporate my yoga practice and the knowledge of Ayurveda/healthy eating with art – as an art therapy. I hope to share it with the community. It is so much more relevant in our current times where people need to heal and feel happy. My art is my soul. I hope you enjoy my work as much as I do creating it.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Anshu Agrawal – I was born in India and I am a fashion designer and a yoga instructor by training. Intuitively creative, I have pursued art in many forms such as painting, designing, writing, cooking and creating new recipes. I am a self-taught artist. My travels across continents and cultures for my husband’s work has a huge impact on my art. Due to my nomadic lifestyle, painting became my medium of expression. Though learning about new places, people and cultures and adapting to the new environment has been an enriching experience, I have always carried a piece of India with me which is reflected in my works.
LC – What are you currently working on?
AA – I am super excited about my representation in the Florence Biennale 2021 and I am currently working on the final details of the artworks that I am going to exhibit there!
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
AA – I find my inspiration from day-to-day experiences, interactions with people, nature and life itself! Each day brings in a new dawn and evokes the myriad emotions of happiness, exuberance, peace, harmony, abundance, celebrations, festivities, gratitude which become my sources of inspiration and fuel my creativity. I communicate and express my state of emotions through the colours on my palette. Colours speak to me, I dream in colours. They are my fascination and joy, so is my art.
LC – What is your creative process like?
AA – It starts with a thought, a feeling or an emotion. I begin by building layers of textures and collages using mixed media. I never plan, it’s all very spontaneous were I am guided by my inner energy and the creative urges. I like to paint with my fingers the most as I enjoy the warmth and touch of the colours. It becomes playful and fun where I become a child in the sandpit. In the process, the marks that are created on the canvas are unconstrained and instinctive creating a rich, vibrant contrasting mood. Before I know, I become one with my creation.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
AA – I paint what I feel. My art is multilayered abstract expressionism where I explore the notions of ecstasy, desire, exuberance, celebrations, peace, gratitude that have a spiritual connotation to it based on various religious, mythical and philosophical themes. Through my art I try to present an intricate thought, sometimes the unknown, through an expressive use of colour, light, textures and space that evokes various moods and emotions in the viewer and is calming and healing. I paint with the intention of enticing viewers to come along on a spiritual journey through my art that invokes a meditative mood and perhaps makes them experience the highest form of joy.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
AA – Absolutely! I think the theme of the festival is stimulating and multifaceted that allows artist a lot of freedom. It is also very appropriate in the face of the current challenges. It will be a changed world post Covid-19 and the transformation that it will bring in to the communities, cultures and societies will be remarkable, some of which is going to be irreversible. Mixing identities completely resonates with ever changing and evolving circumstances and the need to adapt to new challenges and thrive. Being a part of this international exhibition that brings art and artists from around the world is an honour.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
AA – “Delicate Silken Web” is one from my ongoing series “Threads”. I believe that each one of us have a unique story and experiences to share but that are all connected by a common thread. I have picked up the “Threads” to help me weave the stories on the canvas of life, and express the intricate emotions that we experience in our day-to-day life. “Delicate Silken Web” is my exploration of the delicate relationship between a man and a woman – ‘She loves him more than he will ever know and he loves her more that he can ever show’ – like an invisible thread that connects our hearts and weaves itself into a delicate silken web. This delicate silken web of love, understanding and respect for each other brightens our days and nights, and teaches us to be patient and forgiving. I think the greatest lesson that we have learned in this pandemic and lockdowns is to be patient, forgiving, accepting and hopeful.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
AA – It was a satisfying and pleasant experience working and collaborating with the ITSLIQUID team. It requires lot of courage and dedication to organize something like this in such difficult times and spread love and joy through art. Everyone is very cordial, supportive, efficient, resourceful, transparent and encouraging. Well organized event and a beautiful venue!
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
AA – Yes, I believe that ITSLIQUID presents a great opportunity for artists around the world. It provides a great platform for both established and emerging artists to be able to collaborate and showcase their works internationally and gain recognition. Thank you and I hope to be part of the future exhibitions
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
AA – I am quite pleased with the services, support and opportunities offered. It was a very satisfying experience collaborating with the group. The only suggestion is to make it more affordable for the artists in terms of the safe transportation of the artworks to the venues around the world.