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Inspiration is All Around Us to Discover: Artist Pallavi Gohain finds in Still and Stirring Both

Inspiration is All Around Us to Discover: Artist Pallavi Gohain finds in Still and Stirring Both

An Exclusive Talk with Artist Pallavi Gohain

Dr Shalini Yadav

Fully committed to her artistic journey, Pallavi Gohain, a visual artist from New Delhi, immerses herself in painting, sketching and experimenting with different mediums such as acrylics, oils, and charcoal; transforming her work into fine art. Pallavi's art journey has been filled with numerous opportunities, including gallery exhibitions, awards, and virtual online shows. She specializes in still life, portraits, and landscapes, capturing the essence of light, composition, and emotion in her paintings.

Pallavi finds inspiration in her travels, the natural world, feminist resilience, and daily objects. Her talent and dedication have been recognized through various awards, including the "Special Mention Awards" by Creative Pearls-I Online Painting Competition and the "Kala Shiromani" Award for her work with disabled members of the AADI NGO "Art Club."

Pallavi has participated in multiple exhibitions curated by renowned curators in India and abroad, showcasing her art and gaining recognition for her unique style. Pallavi's artwork has been featured in UK's "Inspirational 81 Art Magazine" and the international coffee table book, "Creativity in Depth," manifesting her growing influence and impact in the art world. Through the constant pursuit of inspiration and the exploration of different mediums and subjects, Pallavi continues to refine her artistic skills and style. Here are extracts of the exclusive talk; I had with this wonderful artist:

1. Could you please share the story of your journey as an artist and what inspired you to pursue a career in the arts?

Pallavi: I believe I was born with a natural artistic talent that became significant in my adult life. Growing up in Guwahati, Assam, India, I have fond memories of my early childhood, where I would spend hours drawing and coloring since the age of four. Art was always my favorite subject in school, and I even won a national art contest in first grade. Throughout my school years, I filled my sketchbooks with drawings of landscapes, still life, and various scenes. Although my focus shifted to education and job prospects, my desire to pursue art never waned. In 2016, I finally decided to pick up my brushes and canvas again, dedicating my weekends to exploring my artistic journey. This rekindled passion led to numerous opportunities, such as gallery exhibitions and awards. The COVID-19 pandemic allowed me to fully immerse myself in my art, pushing my boundaries and opening unexpected doors in the art world.

2. What are the main themes or ideas that you typically explore in your artwork?

Pallavi: I find joy and fulfillment in painting, a process that allows me to express my thoughts and emotions. I tend to gravitate towards three main genres: still life, landscapes, and portraits. Each stroke of the brush carries its own significance, and I aim to create pleasant and engaging artwork. My travels, the beauty of nature, the empowerment of women, and everyday objects serve as inspiration for my art. Whether capturing the peacefulness of a beach scene or the grace of a woman, I strive to convey positive energy and emotions in my work.

3. How would you describe your artistic style and the techniques you use to create your pieces?

Pallavi: My artistic style is a reflection of my interests and personal preferences. My portraits, both imaginary and of real-life women, encompass light, composition, and emotion. I start by sketching the face, using a line approach that requires patience and practice. When it comes to still life, I prefer simplicity and use everyday objects like plates, mugs, and fruits to create a visually appealing composition. I often work with oil as my medium since it offers a calming effect and allows me to infuse my emotions into the artwork. Overall, I use a combination of mediums and techniques to bring my vision to life, whether it's oils, acrylics, charcoal, or pencil.

4. Where do you find inspiration for your art, and how do you stay motivated to create?

Pallavi: Inspiration is all around me, waiting to be discovered. It can be found in my travels, the natural world, feminist resilience, a glass of wine, or even mundane objects. Observing everyday life helps me craft stories that I can translate onto canvas. Once I have a concept in mind, I feel inspired and ready to paint. Art brings me happiness and contentment, which in turn motivates me to continue creating. I also seek inspiration from art books, articles, and fellow artists on platforms like Instagram. Reading about the creative process and experiences of other artists helps me overcome creative barriers and stay motivated.

5. Can you walk us through your creative process, from the initial idea to the completion of a piece?

Pallavi: My creative process begins with a plethora of ideas swirling in my mind. Some ideas are fleeting, while others stick with me. Each piece of art I create is meticulously planned. I visualize how I want the final piece to look, carefully considering the colors, composition, medium, and canvas dimensions. I take around a month to fully develop the idea before putting brush to canvas. To keep track of my ideas, I sketch them in a small sketchbook, adding details as I progress with the painting process. Since I primarily work with oils, it takes me approximately three months to complete a piece, perfecting every brushstroke and adding the finishing touches to create a beautiful artwork.

6. Could you share some tips on creating an aesthetically pleasing semi-monochrome portrait?

Pallavi: Creating a semi-monochrome portrait requires a keen interest in the subject. Start by choosing three or four colors, including black and white. Pay attention to the light and dark tones in the portrait, and consider adding additional colors using the color wheel chart. Most importantly, have fun with the process and let your mind guide you.

7. Many people find still life paintings therapeutic. What are your thoughts on this?

Pallavi: Art is undoubtedly therapeutic. Still life paintings provide an opportunity for introspection and self-expression. Through still life, artists can explore objects, colors, lighting, and composition, creating a sense of calm and reducing tension and anxiety. It allows for experimentation with techniques and themes, providing a safe space for artists to find solace and engage in artistic exploration. Personally, I find still life art to be a soothing and enjoyable experience.

8. Could you tell us about your experience receiving the 'Kala Shiromani' award while working as a coordinator for disabled individuals?

Pallavi: I had the privilege of working as a coordinator for "AADI" (Action for Ability Development and Inclusion), a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting people with disabilities. In October 2020, we organized an "Art Club" session centered around creating handmade gifts for Diwali. I taught the members, and their dedication and commitment to art were truly inspiring. They exhibited incredible concentration and produced remarkable artworks. As a result of their exceptional work, I received the 'Kala Shiromani' award, recognizing the contributions of the entire "Art Club." One member even gifted me a beautiful handmade wall hanging. We celebrated our accomplishments through an online event, where participants showcased their talents in various forms. It was a rewarding experience, reaffirming the power of art to uplift and empower individuals.

9. Are there any specific artists or art movements that have influenced your work?

Pallavi: Two artists who have greatly influenced my work are Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. Their distinct styles and unique approaches have inspired me to push boundaries and explore new artistic horizons. Instagram has also been a valuable platform for discovering and connecting with other artists, providing a constant source of inspiration. I follow Visionary Art Collective, an organization that supports emerging artists through their podcast and resources.

10. Could you share any upcoming projects or exhibitions that you are currently working on?

Pallavi: I recently participated in an international online art show called "She," curated by Jyoti Saini. Two of my paintings were featured in the show, which debuted on March 22, 2024. I have also submitted two of my best artworks to the High Art Contest, and the winners will be announced in April 2024. I am grateful to God for these opportunities and excited to see what the future holds. As for upcoming exhibitions, I am still in the planning phase, and I look forward to sharing more details as they unfold.

11. What advice would you give to aspiring artists looking to establish a career in the art industry?

Pallavi: Creating art is a journey that requires passion, consistency, and finding your unique style. Learn from other artists, experiment with different techniques, and participate in art exhibitions curated by professionals. Enjoy the process and be your own biggest fan. Overcome your creative barriers by immersing yourself in art books and articles that inspire you. Remember, art is a personal expression, and your viewpoint matters. Stay dedicated, and opportunities will come your way.

12. Lastly, what message do you hope viewers take away when they experience your art?

Pallavi: Art is subjective and holds different meanings for each individual. Through my artwork, I share my perspective and emotions, hoping to evoke a response from viewers. I encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings, as it enriches the experience for both the artist and the viewer. When someone finds solace or serenity in my paintings, it brings me joy to know that art has made a positive impact on their lives. These reactions fuel my motivation and inspire me to continue creating meaningful art.

(Dr. Shalini Yadav is a Professor, Writer and Columnist.)

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