Artist of the month: Nita Desai

Nita Desai

Meet Nita Desai, Kokuyo Camlin's Artist of the Month.

1. What is the best thing about being an artist?
I like the freedom of expression one has as an artist. I don’t particularly care whether people like what I paint or not; I paint the way I enjoy the most.

2. When did you decide to enter the art world? Who inspired you?
My whole life I have done whatever my family expected me to do. My parents asked me to get married, so I got married. After marriage I did what my husband and his family asked of me. But it was my dream to be an artist since I was very young. So now my children told me to follow my dream. Initially my family didn’t take me seriously, but now, after successful shows in India and abroad I am very happy to see my children and husband taking an interest in my work and they are proud of me.

3. Tell us something about your art education and early career.
I have done Textile Designing and Interior Decoration. I started my career as a Textile Designer, then got married and left Mumbai. I began with stage designing, was running a boutique for almost ten years in Chandigarh and once again I was transferred to another city. I then started teaching in a school and in the evenings I was running a polytechnic teaching course in almost 22 subjects related to arts and craft and was transferred back to Mumbai. I then worked for few years as an arts, design and technology teacher in an international school. One day I realized that before it was too late, I should start following my own dreams.

4. You have taught for a very long time. How much have you enjoyed it?
It was an excellent time when I was teaching; I really enjoyed being with children and teaching them. When a child learns something or follows what you’re telling them, you will see a spark of happiness in their eyes and that’s a major consideration for my achievements. I was always happy to teach them; to be with them and see that spark of learning. Children always teach us to be happy and honest. I really miss them.

5. Was it easy to continue the creative journey, holding a demanding job like teaching?
Oh yes, as my job was around arts, crafts, designing, and technology, I was always attached to some form of art and for that I was always happy. I also worked at a school in Dubai. That was altogether a different experience.

6. Which is your favourite medium?
I like to work with oils and acrylic colours.

7. What inspires you?
With travel I have been able to see different cultures, meet different people; try to understand their mindsets; and gauge their different approaches toward art. Whenever I had time, I read the Vedas and the heritage of the city I were in. Our traditional classic paintings always impressed me. I used to visit the museums whenever I got time and read the books in their libraries.

8. Which was the highest point in your artistic career?
I think I am still waiting for that movement.

9. Can you give us some examples of the messages you have tried to convey through your paintings?
My paintings are always inspired by our traditional art. In most of the paintings the subject is always inspired by stories from our Vedas.

10. Your works are generally abstract/ figurative? Do you paint in some other genre also?
They are, in fact, not at all abstract; they always convey the some story. I started my career as a Tanjore Painting artist. I did lot of paintings in the that style, but now I include Tanjore in my paintings in a different way.

11. Who is your favourite artist, Indian and/ or International?
Raja Ravi Varma.

12. If you were not an artist, what would you be?
I would have been an Architect.

13.What would you like to say to young artists of today? Especially to the ones who could not study art in the organized manner, but still want to pursue art seriously.
Nothing is impossible. You have to be focused enough to pursue the decision of this career. But please don’t treat art as just a hobby or just a way of earning money; please take it seriously and give it your best.

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Explore the artist's work