Presenting a unique concept that tries to defy the traditional classifications by bridging the gap between high and low forms of art, artist Radhika Gupta will be showcasing her solo-art exhibition, Feels, on 23-24 September. This event will be held at the PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry. In an e-mail interaction with Kunal Roy, Radhika talks about her stint as a lawyer, fascination towards art and her responsibilities as an artist.
You started your career as a law practitioner. How did you get inclined towards art?
I have always been very creative and aesthetically inclined. Appreciating good art runs in the family. I started painting when I was about six, perhaps earlier, and just continued with it. I received a few years of formal training early on and won several awards for art growing up. Besides being a lawyer, I also hold a degree in fashion from the Parsons School of Design, New York and am Grade 6 in Piano from the Trinity College of Music, London, as well as being a trained classical dancer. So my creative side has always been in battle with my intellectual side ~ I try to do them both justice!
What themes fascinate you the most? Is there any particular subject or message you like to portray through your art works?
I have a whole section of work titled RiRi, which is heavily inspired by the spirit of women empowerment. I am a feminist ~ I want to fight but I don’t see many people with the desire to fight for something. I am very much driven and motivated by strong female energies. We live in such a crazy gendered world that it’s important that ladies get love. I gravitate towards that energy and entrepreneurship ~ these works are inspired by the spirit of female empowerment. I think my internal dialogue that beats within is just always yelling at me that I have to be fearless. I don’t want to be silenced. I want to be heard on whatever medium I decide to express myself, I want to be seen. Your art exhibition is titled Feels. Why so?
All my work are very special and close to my heart. This exhibition is a compilation of my work over the last 15 years, representing myjourney and transformation, hence the title Feels.
What challenges have you faced in your career?
This is my first art exhibition. So my journey as a commercial artist has only just begun. Personally, my biggest challenge and what I strive to do is to defy traditional classifications and bridge the world between high and low art to cater to what appeals to me. I am honest in what I do, and I hope people can hear that voice in my work.
Who is your inspiration?
My inspiration ranges from Basquiat’s thought-provoking work, ablaze with political and social consciousness, to Murakami’s and Koon’s pop art, which is full of fun and bright colours and very much a part of the modern day pop culture. I work with a multitude of styles, employing a variety of methods. I’ve always loved Surrealism and Dada and Pop. So I just follow my interests and focus on them. I like to play with ideas of taste, pleasure, celebrity, and commerce.
How is Radhika Gupta different from other artists?
I love to serve ME ~ that’s it. I love how I never stick to a theme or style. I love serving a variety. My mind is constantly transforming and changing. That’s where I draw my inspiration from. For me, I am very much a risk-taker, I always have been. I think that one can feel my attitude, my energy, my individuality in each piece.
Which paintings of yours are currently on display at this art exhibition? Which one is your favourite?
My paintings touch on topics like love, travel, identity and fashion. My more recent works are based on New York. I have such a love affair with the city. It makes me come alive. I now spend a lot of my time in the city. I think for me, I carry such a multilayered story but I know the strength of my voice and I know that when I talk, I bring together all of my varied experience that I am about. I never feel lost here, quite the opposite. Most of my recent work is really happy ~ it’s a moment of fun captured on canvas ~ it makes people smile when they see it, hence this collection is my favourite. I really can’t pick just one!
What message would you like to give your fans and young artists?
I’m learning every day and all I ever say to myself or anyone else is that it’s one’s duty to follow our unique gift with all our heart and mind. We all have infinite potential, it’s about going after it.