Deepika Bhansali practiced painting as her hobby infrequently during the last 30 yrs until it became her passionate choice. It was the birth of her daughter 5 years ago that stirred the first wave of actively practicing artwork. In a country where women are looked upon for every non-conforming part they play. She does accept that motherhood has been challenging and it does flip your life upside down. However, in her case it was downside up!
Art, as a saviour, came to her rescue during her post-partum days, which soothed her and kept in check her emotions. Ever since, painting on her canvass is her daily routine and no one can eliminate that part, not even Deepika herself.
In a deep, meaningful conversation with Deepika Bhansali over a phone call, I asked her about her journey so far, the hurdles that she faces as a person from a non-artistic background and her subsequent futuristic plans.
How has your journey been so far, as a creative and a non-creative person?
I was an art student back in school. I vaguely remember doing my first oil painting in fifth or sixth standard. For the next twenty years, I made countable 10 or 15 paintings with no soul into it, whatsoever. But since five years, after I delivered by baby, who was a premature baby by the way, I felt a dire need to bring back art into my life. As my art rebirthed in my life, I felt that I had borne twin births. My motherhood became an inspiration for me: it gave me my baby and also reintroduced me to hidden passion.
Professionally, someone who happens to have had a successful career of 14 years in corporate communications, I chose motherhood over my regular job: motherhood towards my daughter and extensively, towards my art.
When was it that your name became a brand in the world of artists?
After working in a closed environment for 2 years after my daughter’s birth, I felt that I need to open up and disseminate my artwork with other artists and to the audience. So, around 3 years back from today, I decided to display my work at an exhibition in Jaipur. I reckoned the importance of receiving feedbacks which will only help me improve.
Despite very few sales that I could make that day, I made it a point to exhibit my work. Many attendees asked for my number, they told me that they would like to connect with me and it made me feel important. I realised that I was now known by more people as an artist besides my husband and my friends.
I met many veteran artists too. They were full of appreciation for my work, but with a word of caution too. Their suggestion for me was to choose a path: select one medium and one subject that I would want to work on my whole life. This just wasn’t my motto and it sounded dead to me.
At the first place, I never wanted to sell my artwork, it was just for my self-satisfaction and my desire to paint everything I ever wanted to. So I followed my brainstormed artwork and here I am, getting acknowledged for that.
I also gained some prominence when my art work got selected in the International Art Fair and luckily, this formed some artistic connections with other artists who happened to praise me for my artwork. However, it is important to assume that these artists were from an already existing fraternity.
Some, if not all, are apprehensive of introducing an outsider to a fraternity of artists which has been one of my hard-hitting observations. Since I anticipated such a tendency, I didn’t let it affect me negatively. Firstly, I was doing what I loved and secondly, I was getting recognised for my hobbyhorse. I had dual source of happiness now.
So what you are saying is that even an artist fraternity is fuelled by nepotistic tendencies?
On one hand it may be a good practice for them, but on the other hand it is demotivating. I remember having been praised by veterans despite being a hobby artist and that pushes me to do more art work. So, I would be lying if I said something like nepotism was absent from the fraternity of artists.
Where can one purchase your artwork from?
I am active on my Facebook page and that’s where one can contact me for purchase related queries and/or workshops. The reason behind commercializing my artwork is two fold: firstly, I had given up my full time job for my hobby and secondly, this was another way for me to gain acknowledgment as an artist.
What would you name your artwork as?
If you see my artwork, you will notice that every art piece is utterly different from the other piece. Somedays I practice combination of mediums, somedays I am found working on Zen-Mandala and somedays I am painting a fluid or abstract piece. I am not a sketcher till this day. I can reproduce but not produce a sketch.
What artwork do you enjoy the most? I know it is like choosing between your own children, but if you were to choose, what would you?
Without a doubt, I’d choose Zendala and next to it, fluid art. My love for combination art with zendala as a base and other art form as superstructure: fluid art, pastels, water colours, oil paints, charcoal is something that I am devotedly fond of.
What kept you sane during lockdown?
Due to the immediate unavailability of the canvasses, I put my fluid art on a halt during lockdown. I experimented with vastu paintings which is said to bring in good luck and wellness. I try to use the bare minimum, or as commonly you may call it jugaad: I have used balloons and sponges to paint abstract or fluid art.
A piece or advice that you would want to give the artists in a similar field?
Just keep on learning and improving on the go. My mantra is ‘Make Mistakes and Learn but Never Stop’.