Ishita looking at an art book while sitting coffee
Art has been my passion since I can remember. I grew up with paint spatters and constantly doodling and drawing on any available surface. In India, growing up in the 1970's and 80's especially as a daughter of two highly respected and well known doctors, the world of science and medicine was all that surrounded me, yet I knew somehow that I was different.
In a land saturated with every conceivable color, where celebratory reds merged with fiery magentas and deep yellow ochers. Where the blue of the sarees and the iridescence of the peacock feathers melted with the dusky terracotta tones of earthen pottery and whitewashed buildings. The lush green vegetation that came alive after the monsoon rains to the deep azure blue of the Indian Ocean, I grew up in a land, where color was a way of life.
My childhood was spent dreaming and drawing. From making traces in the sand to making greeting cards for friends to photography and writing, Looking back, I think I knew which way, life was gently nudging me. My art professor in school taught me to be bold and fearless about my art. He made me participate in art competitions and creative contests and those were my favorite times in the school year. I won laurels for the school and the feelings that accompanied each childish creation was heady.
Against all odds and breaking stereotypical preconceptions that art was for losers while book smart was the only smart, I decided to pursue art in College and University, I studied Bachelors of Fine Arts at the College of Art, University of Delhi, and went on to do my Masters in Fine Arts with a specialization in Graphic Design in Graduate School. I also studied Illustration and Publishing and very soon pen and ink became my favorite tools.
Satellite TV come to India in the early 1990's and just as I finished my post graduate studies, The field of broadcast graphics, the glitz and glamour of working for a TV network called out to me, I found my niche in the field of Broadcast Design where I continued to design for the biggest names in the global television industries and have been successfully designing for nearly 20 years now. I was the creative lead, the conceptualizer, the design specialist who could conceive the "look" of a show.
My style evolved with crazy hours and razor sharp deadlines. With my husband and daughter, I moved to Canada in 2010, a move which came at a time when I was feeling the burn of working in a 24x7 news environment. I was on top of my game, but was missing the physical touch of drawing a simple line on paper, or soaking my sable brush into a tub of vividly saturated color. I moved reluctantly when my husband was offered a great job in the broadcast industry. I followed suite some months later, a 4 year old in tow, to start afresh and maybe, get back to feeling my brush or pen on paper.
Moving to Canada in 2010, made my love to drawing flourish even more. I found work in the same firm as my husband and I worked really hard to prove myself. It was daunting at first in a new city, not speaking French, but then creativity and art did not need a language.
After a day brainstorming broadcast design ideas at office, I would rush home to put pen to paper and watch as the rich dark Indian ink soaked into the crisp textured paper. Part of me, longed for the tactile messiness of hand made art. I would spend hours browsing for the perfect paper or revel in an endless supply of pens. I started with decorating my house with my illustrations, gradually moving on to making newer designs which I finished digitally. My art became varied and I started illustrating with folk patterns influenced mainly by Indian and Scandinavian patterns.
Ishita painting an abstract
Suddenly, one day, after years of illustrating, my pile of drawings began to grow. I had just turned 40 a few years ago and I wanted to prove to myself, more than anything else, that my dream was still alive. It was now or never and never one to shy away from a creative challenge, I decided to open an Etsy shop called Soul Curry. I didn't have a plan of what I wanted to make, I didn't know if any of my art would have a market in Montreal. Without any support, without any network or resources, going purely by my own instincts, I took the plunge.
Soul Curry is thus, a piece of my soul in a spiced amalgamation of flavor, texture, forms and shapes to bring forth art which showcase my Indian roots in a modern day context. My style is best described as Mad Men Modern. I love bold saturated color, rich textures, layers of expressions and fun whimsical art that stems from all that surrounds me.
Ishita using tools to draw straight lines for an abstract
I dream just as deeply now. I have been able to polish my dream bit by bit and I have had so much love from all over the world, that my grand plan is somehow validated.