Monday, January 29, 2018

21 Days in my Art World #4 - Final post!

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The final post of Tara Leaver's 21 days in my art world...You can see my #1, #2 and #3 here.

Day 16 - Smallest painting

I am comfortable working in small format and I love it! My smallest are ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), of which I don’t have the images. This is the image that was readily available right now, from the Folk series that I had done 2 years ago. It’s a Madhubani painting and is 5x5 in.

In case you are interested in looking at my ATCs from 2009, you will find it HERE.


Day 17 - Largest painting

As mentioned above, I am more comfortable working small scale but since my first curated-coordinated show I started working on bigger pieces. Not very huge though. My biggest in canvas is probably this one which I can’t yet reveal in full.😊 I had done a wall mural in my daughter’s room when in Dubai, don’t have a picture though. That’s my largest!!!

“Waiting” (detail), 
acrylics on canvas, 91.5x91.5 cms.

Day 18 - Celebrate 

Art in India is rich and diverse. Each region/state has its own traditional/folk forms that one is mesmerised by the simple-looking yet complex details that go into it! I am a huge fan of our treasure trove and there’s always a phase when I go back to the roots just to have a feel of that richness and extravaganza that makes our arts so special!!!

 Details of Madhubani painting, 
my own attempt at Sree Padmanabhaswami temple
and Mughal motifs

 Kolam (Rangoli) and Kerala mural painting

Day 19 - From the archives

I had been drawing since a child so I don’t actually remember my earliest drawing nor do I have a picture. It must surely have been scribbles! 😊 
I started archiving when I started blogging in 2009. And if I go back to that time I was engaged in a couple of mediums like digital art, folk art, glass painting, mixed media and acrylics. Art no longer was just a hobby, it turned into my passion. I took art seriously and started working every day...that was in 2011 when I was in Dubai. Since then I try to do art almost every day. 

There's no specific reason for selecting these...I was at a loss to pick from my these are random choices. All these dates back between 2009 to 2011.

 The 'Houseboat' picture is one of the first pictures that sold, bought by a dear friend Soji in Dubai.
'Faces' and 'Song of the Lotus'

digital works

The girl was my first profile pic that I had used way back in 2007 - 2009 in Orkut, blog and some sites.
The second I had done for teaching a poem on Lagoon while I was working in a school.

Day 20 - Favourite technique

The raw unfinished look with textures and bright colours is what attracts me the most. I keep experimenting with different techniques and different mediums though. I love the burst and blooms of watercolours and acrylic inks...the dribble and drip of acrylics, the texturing the lines and curves of the pen as well as charcoal. So many options... 😊

Day 21 - Big Dream

Finally, the Big Dream! Of course, there are many!!! Become financially opening up independent totally as an artist, taking art workshops particularly for kids (love interacting with them)... able to travel and be inspired by the changing locales and people and gain more experience and insight, be represented by a gallery, engage in more productive and proactive art, be an eternal learner...take up residencies where I can devote myself entirely to it....and some I can’t reveal right now as they’re still seeds!😊

From “Eye of the Soul series” - study-HuesnShades
From “Eye of the Soul series” - study. Sold.

Thanks a ton Tara Leaver for this challenge as it really opened up so many aspects for contemplation and discourse and to understand my own process as I seriously pondered on it. It is the first time I am writing and posting on all these aspects. It was also wonderful to see so many artists and their varied styles. It’s truly an amazing community!πŸ’•πŸ™

Friday, January 26, 2018

21 Days in my Art World #3

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Continuing Tara Leaver's challenge...

If you have missed out on the first and second, read Post1 and Post2 here.

Day 10 - Artist Hands 

When one creates its like holding hands with God - I read that somewhere. I can’t agree more. Not just art but in every small things that we do in our daily life. Learn and practice to polish the skills...keep on creating! One of the greatest gifts is that we’re able to express ourselves (though not totally as I would want to...still learning) through paints and brushes or pen and paper or in some creative form that we would want to.


Day 11 - Turning Point

I had to think a lot over this as I do have lot of turning points... most of which was a leap of faith!!!! Right from my first major group exhibit in Dubai to moving back to move to Kochi and finding my tribe my first curated-coordinated show to “Repercussions”...getting an invite to the National Conclave to getting selected in the Annual Kerala State Exhibition... there’s so much for gratitude...particularly to all those who believed in me! I am amazed by each milestone that I’ve crossed - God, family, friends and well-wishers!! Love you all! And again, I do have miles to go before I sleep!!!😊

 “Blue” (detail), “Eye of the Soul” (detail) 

Eye of the Soul-invitation-HuesnShades
Invitation of the show

Eye of the Soul-article-HuesnShades
Article that appeared in the local newspaper, 'Mathrubhumi'

Day 12 - Current motif

Current motifs! It’s tough to answer!After some serious thought, I must say I don’t have a motif that I adhere to all along...unable to pin-point on one. But Eyes! Yes, that’s one aspect that I like to work on... the joyous glint, the gleam and the flicker, the unsaid stories of love, loss and longing, the unexpressed narratives all find its way there... they are the windows to the Soul!

Eye-Current motif-HuesnShades

Day 13 - Process Insight

My process insight varies with each medium. I wish to share about acrylics for now- a couple of things that arrest my mind right now when I think of process insight. I love working in layers varying between washes and undiluted acrylics (a kind of impasto feel). Washes go mostly in the background as under-painting, Sometimes even in the last layer depending on my subject. I like the feel of the gooey-mushy acrylics on my hands...the warmth, the texture, the lusciousness of it!!! I like the raw, unrefined and unpolished edges of the forms that gives a rustic look. 


Song of the glow-worms 


Day 14 - Sold

For a full-time artist selling ones artwork is as essential as air to breathe! Else you are a dependent artist! It is these sales that boost the morale of each artist and urges us to create more and keeps us going!! To think that someone loves your work and would like to have it in their cozy space is such an awesome feeling. It makes the art of creating all the more meaningful! .
Sharing a couple of sold works...some customized-commission and gallery ones.
I don’t yet have an online shop. Most of my sales happen either through this blog or Facebook. Yet to make a sale through Instagram. 😊

The first two are glass paintings
the third and fourth are commission works
the fourth is a triptych and is a really large one


These were a couple of gallery sales...

Fusion work-Abu Dhabi-HuesnShades

Eye of the Soul -series-HuesnShades

Eye of the Soul series-study-HuesnShades
Eye of the Soul series study

Day 15 - How I name my paintings

I love to write poetry. So most of my paintings have my own micro poems as its title. Sometimes I just feel the titles while doing the work. Else I resort to poems, lyrics of songs or even movie titles, though I haven’t taken the last two yet. But while curating I choose a theme/title first as in “Eye of the Soul” & “Repercussions”. 

Acrylics on canvas, 91.44x60.96cms

“We carry death, die
Thousand deaths fallen dummies
Ready to be dressed.”

Monday, January 22, 2018

Meet An Artist - 100 Faces of Alicia Chen

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Faces are fascinating. Each face has several stories to their credit. Meeting her in Instagram was a happy accident at a time when I myself had caught up with the obsession of drawing and painting faces. I am captivated by the subtle nuances of each expression and the stories they hold within. It was when I found the same chord in the drawings of this particular artist that I decided to know more about her and her art. Her drawings are intense, expressing a never-die spirit and a warmth the people hold onto, veiled in melancholy vein . She is a Taiwanese artist engaged in drawing 100 faces called the 100 Faces Project. She has stories to tell of struggles, hardships, intense pain and sorrow ultimately overcoming these and attaining individual triumphs...a personal tale of life's adventurous journeys, crossing each obstacle and finally leaping with faith to hold onto life and loved ones. She is Alicia Chen.


Deepa Gopal Sunil: A little brief about yourself and your background.

Alicia Chen: I was born in Taiwan and became a new immigrant to Canada in 2015. My art journey started internationally from Taipei to Vancouver, New York to Toronto, where I currently reside. I spend much of my time collaborating and working with art professionals from recognizable institutions and building strong relationships within the art community. Based on my rich and unique life experiences as an artist, art educator, young business entrepreneur and curator, I create artworks cemented in the act of storytelling, showing unique capability for capturing the essence of my subjects. For me, art is a way of visually documenting my life through the connections I form and infusing it with meaning. Art is a way of evolving oneself and empowering the minority.
I am also an active curator in Toronto’s Asian Canadian communities involved in conducting and coordinating cultural events and film festivals between Taiwanese bureaucracy and Toronto-based charity and non-profit organizations where I aim to bring diversity together and to make social changes.

Alicia Chen-45/100-HuesnShades

click on the picture to see it large

Each face has a story and you have put that so beautifully. How did you start this project? What’s the story behind it?

I started it in search of happiness and connecting with people in a new city. Surprisingly people like to share their stories, some are more enthusiastic than the others.

Do you meet each individual that you draw the portrait in person? Do you get to know them personally?

I meet most of them or I go through a deep conversation online.

How many faces have you done so far?

I have done 50/100 faces.

Favourite medium

Graphite, charcoal and pastels on paper.

Alicia Chen-28/100-HuesnShades

click on the picture to see it large

Do these amazing people that you draw feel intimidated at any point of time when you say that you would like to share their story with their portrait?

A few have chosen just to share one line or two when they were not sure about being so open in the public.

What is your intention and motivation behind the 100 Faces project?

Hopelessness, isolation and disconnection lurk underneath the surface of everyday life. It is these core, but lesser vocalized human experiences that form the epicentre of my visual world, and serves as building blocks for my people-focused artistic studies. My works document the extraordinary personal histories of my subjects and translates them onto the page with painstaking detail. With each portrait, I probe the triumphs and struggles faced by everyday people in their everyday lives against the backdrop of a rapidly changing social landscape. The face being the most basic line of connection, ‘100 Faces’ project is an effort to depict the human face, as it really is, so that it can serve as a powerful mirror through which our internal states can be shared with others. In the course of my life, I’ve overcome tremendous hardships and as such have spent my life seeking out encounters with people whose lives are steeped in tales of personal growth. Invariably, I found that above all, it is our faces that wear these experiences— which conceal and reveal who we are in the profoundest of ways. Portrait by portrait, I try to uncover the history behind the lines and imperfections etched in their faces. I hope to do my part in constructing an honest reflection of Toronto’s rich and variegated contemporary political reality through this project.

Alicia Chen-38/100-HuesnShades

click on the picture to see it large

Where do you want to take it? What is the next level?

οΌ·hen it's done, I want to host a talk and invite my models as speakers.

How do you choose which person to draw/which story to portray?

I have chosen people who inspired me from all walks of life and all races.  Age 23 and up. No students. I'm especially drawn to people who overcame or found a way to deal with their struggles.

Alicia Chen-2/100-HuesnShades

click on the picture to see it large

How do you think has this project helped to shape you eventually? Has there been an unconscious or conscious moulding in you – as a person, an artist, as a citizen or in any other way?

As a practicing artist, I've met some incredibly successful people who taught me to work with people, go with the flow and do things faster than waiting for it to happen. I've summed up what caused people's depression/anxiety and I try to avoid falling into that pattern. 

If it’s not intrusion, what is your next project?

As I'm evolving with the project, I can't say too much or predict too far ahead so let's see how it goes! My project is always centered on the topic of humanity. With the rapid growth of technology, I want to capture and document the trace of human.

Alicia Chen-26/100-HuesnShades
click on the picture to see it large

Where all can my readers find you?

Alicia Chen-35/100-HuesnShades
click on the picture to see it large

Portraits and description courtesy - Alicia Chen
I have photoshopped it into boxes for convenience of display here.

To read about other interesting artists and what they have to say click here.