Vibhatsa – The Web of Disgust

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Hello everyone! This post is extremely special as the artwork I am sharing today is the culmination of my Navrasa Series of works. For the uninitiated, Navrasas are the 9 emotions that form the foundation of Indian classical dance and music, theatre, art and literature, essentially the traditional Indian performing arts. These are the basic emotions, moods or sentiments that figure in the daily lives of every human being. (Click on the following link to learn more about these 9 emotions and the concept of Navrasas – https://theartdungeon.blog/2019/09/21/the-art-of-emotions/)

Coming to the emotion I am covering today, that is, Vibhatsa Rasa. The word “Vibhatsa” is a Sanskrit word that means “disgust” and is traditionally represented by the color blue in Indian art and literature. It is a feeling of Disgust or dissatisfaction with oneself and others. Vulgar, uncivilized, and perverted actions, using bad words and manners, and showing bad intentions to others are all manifestations of the Vibhatsa Rasa. All creative arts, dance and theatre to fine arts and literature and poetry are replete with imagery that pertains to Vibhatsa.

In today’s post, I am sharing my depiction of the Vibhatsa rasa through my artwork titled Vibhatsa – The Web of Disgust. This painting is an expression of how much a woman detests being considered as an object of gratification by the society and is disgusted by its countless atrocities. She loathes the unending discrimination and is sickened by the web of deceit and immorality that has been spun around her by the social order. She is so outraged by the incessant delinquency of the world around her that she is absolutely repulsed by it, just like the spindly gossamer of a spider that clings to the skin until it evokes a feeling if disgust. The medium I have used to create this artwork is oil paints and the color palette mainly consists of warm earthy tones of the likes of cream, off-white, browns etc. This of course is a deviation from the traditional color of blue that has been designated to the emotion in question, but I have always been one to break the norm. Here’s an image of the artwork followed by links to a couple of videos displaying the making of the artwork and some behind the scenes snippets:

Vibhatsa – The Web of Disgust

As is visible in the painting, it depicts disgust through the lacy spindles of a spider’s web which portrays within itself the various atrocities and injustices that the feminine gender endures. Apart from this, I have also used symbolism in the form of the eye and the eye ball to represent the objectification of the fairer sex and the claw-like hands to signify the society preying on her.

When it comes to a subject like emotions, their portrayal and in turn their interpretation becomes a matter of perspective, not just for the artist but for the viewers as well. What may seem positive to the artist may be perceived as negative by his audience or vice versa. Moreover, it also depends on the mindset of the person, hence emotions in art are a totally subjective prospect.

Vibhatsa being a negative emotion in itself ideally comes across negatively in art but it has been my sincere attempt to bring it out as positively as possible through this painting. I intend it to be thought provoking and serve as an eye opener to the society with an aim to bring in the winds of change. I hope that this message emanates loud and clear through this artwork and is interpreted positively rather than negatively.

DISCLAIMER – All the information, data and imagery in this blog post is for informational and educational purpose only. Some images and data may have been taken from the links included below and I give full credit to these websites/pages, thereby in no way claiming them to be my own. Other data is based on my personal experiences and opinions.

Sources and Credits

https://www.leela-yoga.org/rasa_sadhana_disgust_vibhatsya.html

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Inspiration Calling!

Inspiration Calling!

Ever got inspired by a book you have recently read to create art? I am sure we all have, but ever felt inspired enough by art mentioned in the same book?

Read on if you want to know more!

We all wonder where artists get all their inspiration from. Well, as is true for all creative fields, when it comes to finding inspiration, sky is the limit. One good source of inspiration though for most artists is books. I firmly believe that it’s very important for every artist to delve into books as not only do they light up that creative spark in them, but also help keep it burning. The key to making good art consistently lies in extracting the right amount of inspiration from the literary sources at hand. So don’t just read books, let them spur your imagination and awaken the artistic streak!

Being an avid reader myself, I am on a constant mission for artistic revelation in whatever I read. It doesn’t matter what genre it belongs to, as long as it creates ripples in my imagination and brews up a creative storm, it works for me.

As an artist, there are times when I hit a dead end and it is in such periods of creative drought that I turn to books to jump start my imagination. Moreover, books help me evolve and develop my artistic skills in new and different ways. Books are like that breath of fresh air that helps me tide over my creative hypoxia. Besides, reading is my second most favorite activity next to art!

It was during one such recent literary sojourns that I came across inspiration for my artistic endeavors.  I have just finished reading the third book in the fast-selling Ram Chandra Series by the Indian author Amish Tripathi – Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta. This book is part of an ongoing mythological-fiction series about the life of Lord Ram, Lady Sita, and Ravan and the third book chronicles the life of Ravan in particular.

Through this book, the author has not only presented Ravan as the darkest villain in Indian literature by reinventing his evil, but has also put forth deep-rooted philosophies through his portrayal as an artist. One such excerpt from the book describes a painting made by Ravan that is not only a character sketch of himself but also a logically befitting portrayal of the concept of “dharma” or the “righteous path”. Here’s the excerpt I am talking about:

What inspired me the most in this excerpt was the beautiful artwork created by Ravan. I felt it was the most innovative and intelligent description of Ravan as the ten headed demon, encompassing all his greys and whites in the form of the nine emotions (navrasas), which also symbolize the emotions that control us during various phases of our lives. It is also a profound portrayal of our struggle to attain the right direction through the “moral compass” called dharma.

The artwork has been so beautifully described by the author that I can literally picturize it in my mind. I am so inspired by this imagery that I have added it to my wish list and I can’t wait to create my own version of this beautifully explained philosophy onto my canvas! Will share the final outcome here whenever I get down to doing it so, watch out for it!

Disclaimer – All the information, data and imagery in this blog post is for informational purpose only. Though the images included in this post have been quoted from the book title provided below, I give full credit to the original author, Amish Tripathi for this creation in its entirety, thereby in no way claiming it to be my own. Other data is based solely on my personal experience and opinions.

Sources and Credits –

Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta (Book 3 of the Ram Chandra Series by Amish Tripathi).

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Adbhuta – The Emotion of Wonderous Amazement

Hey folks! After a really long hiatus, I’m back with another post. Apologies for being M.I.A! Will try not to disappear for too long in future!!

Today’s post is a continuation of my Navrasa series of paintings, where I am depicting each of the “rasas” (i.e., emotions or sentiments) through my art. Just to recap, in Indian philosophy, there are nine rasas, hence the title Navrasa, where “nav” means nine. Till now, I have depicted 7 of these emotions – “Shringar” (beauty), “Shanta” (peace), “Hasya” (happiness), “Veer” (bravery), “Karuna” (compassion), “Raudra” (anger) and “Bhayanaka” (fear).

The emotion portrayed in the artwork featured here today is the “Adbhuta rasa” or the emotion of curiosity, astonishment and wonder. To understand this sentiment better, let’s delve a little deeper into it.

Adbhuta rasa deals with wonder. It is the sentiment of mystery, astonishment and curiosity. The feeling of wonder comes when one recognizes one’s own ignorance. Since Adbhuta rasa depicts the feeling of wonder, it is also referred to as the “marvelous sentiment”. The predominant color of Adbhuta rasa is yellow which also evokes the same emotion of the human mind. According to Indian philosophy, the element of wonder or astonishment is aroused when one experiences the unimaginable or the unexplainable like seeing heavenly beings, gaining one’s desired object, or seeing a flying chariot or a magic show, etc.

Coming to my artwork. I call this one Adbhuta – The Tree of Life. As is evident from the title, this painting depicts the aesthetics of the feeling of amazement and wonder about the most miraculous aspect of life – the creation of life itself. Here’s an image of my artwork along with a small video of its making:

Adbhuta – The Tree of Life
The evolution of the portrait of evolution….

From the dawn of civilization, human beings have tried to understand everything about the birth of life. It’s this element of mystery surrounding the miracle of life that arouses our curiosity and consequently evokes a feeling of amazement. It makes us wonder and ask ourselves the most basic questions – Where do we come from and Where are we going?

Life has come a long way from miniscule single cells to the human frame. Isn’t it simply amazing how diverse it is, from the tiny microscopic organisms to the fungi and algae, plants, insects, birds, marine life, reptiles, amphibians, animals and finally the most advanced form – us, the humans? Most of us wonder how it all happened. Was there really a big bang that gave birth to life or was it divine intervention? Hence the first question – Where do we come from? No matter what one believes in, be it God or the theory of evolution, both are equally amazing and wonderous.

That brings us to the next question – Where are we going? What’s next in this amazing chain of existence? With so must advancement in science and technology, what is it that the future holds for the human race and more importantly life itself? Are we going to see an amalgamation of artificial intelligence with organic intelligence and end up with a new species? Super humans, androids or will it be a hybrid of both – humanoids?  Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

I have made use of the most basic unit or building block of organic life – the DNA double helix to represent the tree of life. It is this seed of life that has germinated and established its roots on the surface of our planet, eventually developing into the tree of life.

I have attempted to symbolically depict each stage in this story of the evolution of life with the help of basic imagery for each respective stage. For instance, I have rendered the algae and fungi in the form of mushrooms, insect life as butterfly wings whereas aquatic life is a collage of skin textures and patterns of the likes of a snake, crocodile, frog, turtle, lizard, fish, etc. Similarly, animal life is symbolized by tiger and zebra stripes, leopard and cheetah spots, giraffe spots, etc. A human fetus was my obvious choice for representing us homo sapiens.

The background of the painting displays the vast universe towards the lower part and the digital world in the form of the circuitry on a motherboard in the upper part of the painting. Both seem to be merging into each other, hence my attempt to depict the gradually fading boundaries between the material world and the virtual one.  

I felt that just the use of the conventional color designated to the emotion of wonder, i.e., yellow, does not do justice to a concept as diverse as life . So, I have extended my color palette to various other hues of the color spectrum.

The primary medium I have employed for the painting is acrylic paints, blending it with modelling paste wherever required in order to impart a 3D effect, specifically the wood-like texture for the DNA double helix tree, the roots spreading out on planet earth and the circuit board. Apart from this, I have also used alcohol markers, micro tip pens and gel pens for the finer details of the painting.

This one has been a huge challenge for me as it’s not easy depicting an emotion as profound as wonder. It is something that we feel and express on a daily basis and it knows no bounds. Anything and everything can become a cause of wonder for the human mind. So, the question I asked myself while working this one out was what is the greatest wonder for the human race and this is the concept I came up with. I hope it appeals to your element of wonder as well. Looking forward to your inputs and comments!    

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Saluting Womanhood… #ChooseToChallenge

“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future” – Proverbs 31:25

It’s that special time of the year again – 8th of March! As International Women’s Day (IWD) kicks off globally to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, all of us are gearing to pay tribute to the spirit and elegance of womanhood in our very own personal ways.

Every year IWD serves as a reminder about how women, not just in the world of art, but in all walks of life, are balancing the scales between work and home. With so many pressures on the work as well as home fronts and so much to fit into a limited time frame, this day is a recognition of how well women have stood their ground in this male-dominated world.

Although this year has been no less lacking in recognizing the efforts of “womankind” to overcome the biggest hurdle in their path – gender inequality, what makes it extra special is the theme this time – #ChooseToChallenge. What this means is that in a world predominantly populated by men, women can choose to defy the stereotypes, pledge to challenge the status quo and call out for gender equality.

Women are the largest reservoir of talent in the world and specifically in the art world, IWD is a day not just to acknowledge this talent, but also recognize women who are making a global impact. It is about identifying, nurturing and celebrating talent.

Today’s post is about my artwork titled “Saluting Womanhood… #ChooseTo Challenge” which is my tribute to women’s achievements worldwide, as well as my pledge towards gender equality across the globe. It celebrates the tremendous efforts of women all over the world towards creating a gender equal future, especially in the present day COVID-19 ridden world.

My tribute to Womanhood (Soundtrack Credits – She’s Always A Woman by Billy Joel)
The artwork: Saluting Womanhood… #ChooseToChallenge

Through this artwork, I wish to send out the message that every woman has the right to define her life by the choices she makes, be it the clothes she wears or the stereotypes she breaks. So why not choose a gender equal world? She can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality and be part of the collective endeavor towards creating an inclusive world.    

I have used a combination of watercolors and acrylics to integrate the classic symbol of the female gender (), the number “8” which represents the day IWD is celebrated and the hand gesture that is symbolic of #ChooseToChallenge along with the silhouettes of a woman’s face in my artwork. The color palette mostly consists of warm tones like yellow, orange and red with a splash of the cooler blues and vibrant pinks for the faces.

I have rendered the female symbol, the number 8 and the hand gesture in black acrylic paint while the faces and the background of the artwork are done using watercolors. What’s special about this artwork is that the hand gesture is not painted on with a brush, but is the actual imprint of my hand. In a way, it asserts my pledge towards #ChooseToChallenge.

I believe that an equal world is an enabled world and in order to achieve this we all must choose to seek out and challenge gender stereotypes. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.

Hoping that my artwork will inspire others like me to #ChooseToChallenge something, be it the workload at the home front or their rightful place at work.  What would you choose to challenge?

Credits –

Soundtrack used for video – She’s Always A Woman by Billy Joel.

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Of Bespoke and Custom-made Art

There’s nothing more thrilling than the idea of having an artwork custom made just for you. Most people like to indulge in it as they feel it makes it that much more special. This process of creating one-of-a-kind and exclusive artworks is what we call Bespoke Art.

Bespoke art is a totally unique concept which may refer to anything commissioned to particular specifications, or tailored to the customs, tastes, and usage of an individual customer. So, what makes it different from “customized” art? Customized art means that an off-the-shelf piece is slightly altered and “personalized” to individual requirements. In other words, bespoke art is completely exclusive and original, whereas customized art is the edited version. Though both terms are better applied to the world of fashion and apparel, but now they are very often being used in the art world as well.

I have had the recent good fortune of creating both bespoke as well as customized art, the former as the cover page of a coffee table book and the latter in the form of a personalized rendition of a pre-existing piece.

The coffee table book was titled “Reflections from the Bay of Bengal” and my brief was to create an artwork for the cover page that mirrored exactly these words. I was specifically told to include a lighthouse, dolphins and a mermaid by my client, setting them all against the backdrop of the setting sun. The color palette was also specified, that is, coral hues. Keeping all these in mind, I have created the following artwork with acrylics as the cover page of the coffee table book:

The coffee table book cover created by me

The custom-made piece I have created is an altered rendition of an original creation titled Soulaya Transcending by an Iranian artist called Fariba Farsad, who is now settled in Texas, USA. An interior designer by trade, student and seeker of spirituality, and core shamanism, her Bohemian Gypsy Soul and her love for nature and vibrant colors made there way out of her heart onto the canvas.  

It was one such piece of hers that I was requested to render in a specific manner by a client who found the image extremely empowering. The original image was that of a woman in a yoga pose set against a white background.  But my client wished to enhance her power further by placing her against a black backdrop and adding a radiant glow around her.

What inspired me the most about this piece was the harmonious mix of colors and motifs employed by the original artist. For me, it represented calmness, focus, balance and equilibrium and filled me up with positive vibes the moment I set my eyes on it. I am in total awe of Fariba Farsad for her creative genius and give her full credit for producing such an ingenious piece of art, for it has reaffirmed my belief that every woman needs to tap into her inner “goddess” to realize her true potential.

My version of this divine feminine form, resplendent with her red halo as requested by my client is displayed below. This is my attempt to further emphasize the elegance and confidence that is being exuded by the original creation.  (NOTE – I give full credit to Fariba Farsad for the original artwork that I have only used as a reference for creating a new version as per the requirements of my client. In no way do I claim the original piece to be my own creation.)

My custom-made piece

I hope you found both pieces pleasing to your eyes. Do share your comments and reviews about them below!

Sources and Credits –

https://www.facebook.com/notes/1643707002413500/

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Commission Art

Are people showing interest in your work and keen on customizing some of it to their personal requirements? If yes, then its high time you seriously consider taking up Commissions. Receiving requests to create commission art is the ultimate compliment for any artist.

But what does commission art mean? It is the act of requesting the creation of a piece, often on behalf of another. Artwork may be commissioned by private individuals, by the government, or businesses. Commissions can very often resemble endorsement or sponsorship as well.

If the thought of getting involved with a paid project is giving you cold feet then this post is just what you need. Here are some tips that will help streamline your commission process and help you build up a reputation as a professional artist:

Set a pricing methodology

There are two common methods for pricing art:

  • By the hour – Number of hours worked x hourly rate.

Your hourly rate depends on your experience and          skill level. You can add the cost of the supplies to this later on.

  • By size – Cost per square inch x no. of square inches in painting.

This method requires a set cost per painted square inch, which is determined by the quality of the supplies used as well as the degree of detailing in your work.

A few extra pointers while pricing your work:

  • When commissioning, a piece in specific dimensions, using specific materials and perhaps even specific subject matter, price by the hour.
  • If you are not particularly comfortable or skilled at drawing/painting the subject at hand, consider lowering your price to keep things fair.
  • If the work is urgent and demands long hours or weekends, consider raising your prices.

2. Time management

As a professional artist, time management and good organizational skills become absolutely imperative. As a general rule, I never set a definitive due date just in case I am unable to finish on time. I always tell my clients that the painting is going to take me at least a couple of days longer than the estimated timeline but make it a point to finish before D-day.

3. Provide information to prospective clients

Share information about your creative process and any terms or conditions connected to how you sell your work. Some important information you should definitely include is:

  • Ask questions and get a clear understanding of what you’re being requested to create. For instance, what art style do they like, what color scheme to use and what area of their house/work place will the piece be adorning.
  • Do you need anything specific from the customer in terms of high-resolution images, etc.?
  • Your mode(s) for accepting payment (bank transfer, card payment, etc.).
  • What percentage/portion of the total cost you will take as advance payment before getting started (this should be non – refundable so that if your clients back out, it pays for your invested time, labor, and art materials.)
  • Whether you undertake shipping (if yes then what will be your shipping terms/costs?)

4. Be prompt in responding

If a prospective client inquires about commissioning a piece, make sure you respond as quickly as possible or you may end up losing the opportunity altogether. Once you have started working on the commission, maintain an open channel of communication throughout in order to keep your client updated about your progress.This will prevent any confusion or misunderstandings.Also, don’t hesitate in turning down prospective clients if you feel that what they’re asking for is against your moral compass or beliefs.

My Commissioning Process

I have had the recent pleasure of successfully finishing a commissioned painting for a new set of clients, a lovely couple. Here’s what I made for them:

Recently commissioned

This project was a challenging venture as not only were the clients my patrons, but also good friends. Sharing the experience of my commissioning process while it’s still fresh in my mind:

  • The concept briefing –

My first meeting with my clients, an impressionable husband and wife duo with a profound interest but limited knowledge in art, was to discuss the subject matter and conceive the entire project. I was commissioned by them to paint a Vietnamese riverscape, taking reference from an image of a similar scene. They showed me a photo of the painting that they wanted me to customize for them and later on shared with me a high-resolution image of the same for reference purposes.

Here are some questions I asked them to understand what they had in mind, along with their answers:

  1. What is it that they want? Do they want an exact replica of the original or a custom-made version? – They wanted more or less the same thing but on a larger scale (a 2ft by 3ft canvas to be exact).
  2. What color scheme would they like? Do they want to retain the same colors as the original or make some changes? – They preferred to stick to the same color palette, only brighter.
  3. What size and surface would they like their painting to be? – As mentioned above, 2ft by 3 ft on a canvas.
  4. What medium would they want me to use? – They left this to my discretion owing to their limited knowledge of art, so I decided to go with oil paints as I felt these would be best for the subject matter in question here.
  • The artistic process –  

The next step was to explain to them about my artistic process. I gave them a rough idea of how I would go about working on the painting, starting from the initial sketch, the painting process and then the final touch up and finishing stage which includes varnishing the final artwork once it was totally dry. I assured them that I would keep sending regular updates in the form of photos on completion of each stage, so that any editing or adjustments could be made as and when required.

  • The framing –

I gave my clients the choice of either taking the canvas unframed or along with a frame. I made it clear to them that in the latter case, the cost of framing would be added to the price of the artwork. Since they were in the same city as me and were picking up the artwork personally, they told me to take care of the framing as well.

  • The costing and terms of payment –

I decided to price this commission by size as not only did it involve increasing the dimensions, but also including the cost of framing. In terms of the payment, I quoted an advance of 1/3 of the total cost of the commission, which would be non-refundable as it would cover the time, labor and materials I would invest into the entire project. Since there wasn’t going to be any shipping involved, I did not include this cost.

  • Estimated time for completion –

As mentioned earlier, when it comes to the timeline, I always give an estimate of a day or two extra from the anticipated time of completion so as to take care of any eventualities. I this case, I had to include not just this, but also the drying time (being an oil painting), varnishing (and drying thereafter) as well as framing time.  

Please Note – Unlike in my case, if you are not well-acquainted with the clients or haven’t worked with them before, I would advise you to put down all of the above points in writing and sign a contract so that there are no misunderstandings later on. If you do decide to go ahead with a formal contract, don’t forget to mention that you as the artist will retain the copyright to all works commissioned by you, including all reproduction rights and no artwork may be reproduced or altered without your written consent.

I hope you found this post helpful and wish you loads of luck in all your artistic endeavors! Do leave me a comment below if you have inputs  or wish to share your own experiences with commissions. Would love to hear about it!

My Exhibits

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Howdy art lovers! In my last post, I had delved into the nitty gritties of showcasing art, specifically at exhibitions and art shows. It gives me great pleasure to share with you all today my very own and personal experiences related to the art exhibits that I have had the good fortune of being part of.

Even though they were small community exhibits organized within our fraternity, for me they were nothing less than any renowned art show set up by reputed galleries or curators, for the learning associated with these helped me grow as an artist. Moreover, they provided me with the much-needed exposure as well as recognition, not just within my fraternity but beyond!

So, without further ado, let’s plunge right into it!

As I mentioned earlier, two of the exhibits were local community shows, where some of the many talented artists of the fraternity I belong to got together and put up their work on display. Both proved to be great morale boosters for me as not only did I manage to sell some of my work, but also got some custom orders! Here are a few snippets from these exhibits:

The next opportunity that I have had the distinct honor of being a part of is an Online Solo Art Exhibit organized by Google Books Art and Culture, wherein my artwork was approved for global publishing as a Solo Online Exhibit on the prestigious Google Books.

Artist’s Art & Photography solo online Exhibits are published globally on Google Books for lifelong and can be downloaded by Google’s billions of readers for free access on Google Play Books, Google Books Library and Google Android Play Store across the globe in 149 countries. Art Exhibit Google Book is strictly online and no print or hard copy (pdf) is allowed due to copyright protection.

As an artist, publishing my art on the Google Books, Arts & Culture platform carries a great deal of professional weightage and mileage as it helps me share and promote it not just directly to art connoisseurs, collectors, art galleries, museums and prospective art buyers but also onto social media.

Since Google is the world’s largest search engine, publishing my art exhibit on Google’s various platforms, especially Books, has a distinct advantage as my work is indexed by Google itself, which helps in SEO (search engine optimization) and gives me a mileage in getting higher ranks in online search results and better discoverability on social media, thus connecting me with genuine art lovers across the globe and reach out to prospective buyers and art galleries.

One worry I always have when sharing my artwork on online social media platforms or online sites/galleries is that there is no copyright protection and my art can be downloaded or shared illegally. However, Google Books offers all Artists protection under their own copyrights and the book is globally DRM protected for illegal sharing and downloading.

Another advantage is that my artwork is archived in the Google Books Library and helps reach billions of Google’s readers & subscribers across the globe in 149 countries thus connecting me with a global audience! Here are the links to my very own ebook art exhibit with google books:

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=fHEUEAAAQBAJ

Do go through them and don’t forget to leave your reviews and star ratings to help my work reach more audiences!

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Exhibiting Your Art

Have you been creating a lot of art lately? Well how about showing it to the world now! One of the best ways to do so is by showcasing your work in art exhibitions as these are the stepping stones of every artist’s career growth. Whether professional or amateur, every artist should take part in art exhibitions. Not only are they a great platform to showcase your work and reach out to potential buyers, but also a means of getting recognition among like-minded artists, peers, patrons and industry experts, thus making some valuable new acquaintances.

However, many people are apprehensive about entering art exhibitions usually due to lack of confidence. But let me assure you, there are exhibitions for all skill levels.

If you are just starting out as an artist you may not want to enter the large scale national portrait exhibitions, but there is no reason you should not enter your local exhibitions which cater to budding and emerging artists like you!

Getting selected by an art gallery means a lot of work needs to be done before you can proudly flaunt your art. This article will hopefully not just inspire you to enter art exhibitions but also help you understand what exactly is involved. So let’s get right into it!

Why should you enter art exhibitions?

  • If you are interested in selling your art, this is how you expose it to people who are interested in buying art and have a sizable budget.
  • You get to meet other artists and art patrons. Some of the artists you meet may become your inspiration in future.
  • You are forced to put your best foot forward with your work. If you are finding yourself producing mediocre work, then signing up to art exhibitions may motivate you to put in your best.
  • You will stop procrastinating in order to meet exhibition deadlines.
  • The chance to win awards can really boost your art career.

What are your options for exhibiting?

The following are the various options available to put your art on display:

  • Solo shows – Whether physical or online, putting on a solo show will give you full control over everything. On the flipside, it will cost you that much more. One alternative to this is to have a show in collaboration with other artists. In case you decide to go in for a solo show, ensure you have enough work to display, not just in terms of quantities, but also a well-curated range.
  • Commercial gallery – Working with galleries can be a daunting task but the advantages include publicity, help with installation costs, and potential future exhibitions. Galleries often present open calls for exhibitions or representation. While these are great opportunities to get your work seen, they can also turn out to be costly so it’s best to avoid applying to every single opportunity, especially if it involves a submission fee. So take only those openings into serious consideration that are relevant to you. Group shows, craft fairs etc. Another way to give exposure to your art is to participate in craft fairs or group shows.
  • Group shows – These can be a great option if you feel you only have a small selection of works to exhibit. The other benefit is that you’ll be able to divide tasks among a group of people so that there are fewer burdens on one individual.  Being part of a group can also widen your network. However, a downside of group shows can be disagreements, especially on the decision making level, if the participants don’t see eye to eye or don’t share similar artistic interests. So make sure you work with like-minded artists whose work can be linked to yours. When it comes to a group exhibit, uniformity is the key.

How much will it cost?

Whether putting up a solo or a group show, it’s a good idea to work out a budget plan. The following aspects need to be taken into consideration:

  • Hiring of exhibit space.
  • Entertaining costs (drinks, eats, etc.)
  • Advertising.
  • Transportation costs.
  • Marketing (posters, flyers, website, etc.)
  • Installation costs.
  • Printing (CVs, press releases, artist statements, business cards, etc.)

Some of these costs can be taken care of if you can manage to get your show sponsored by local companies, etc.

How do you advertise your show?

Spreading the word about your upcoming show is as important as the show itself. Here are a few ways to advertise your exhibition:

  • Social media forums like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or even your own blog are a great way to get the word out.
  • Try and get your event listed on popular art events sites.
  • Send “save the date” emails to your mailing list well before the exhibition and then another reminder mail a couple of days before the event.
  • Flyers and posters are a great advertising tool in local area locations like cafes, community centers, etc.
  • Last but not the least, word of mouth. Nothing better than coming straight from the horse’s mouth!

What is the standard procedure to enter an art exhibition?

  • There will be a call to entry providing the set of requirements for the exhibition and the deadlines.
  • You will be asked to submit your most recent artworks, (usually, ones that have been completed within a year of the exhibition).
  • The finalists will be announced on a preset date.
  • If selected as a finalist, you will need to prepare your artworks for the exhibition and deliver them to the exhibition within the provided time frame.
  • There will be an opening night which you can choose to attend. Although you are not required to attend the exhibition in person, but it is recommended you do so.
  • Any sales of your artworks will be handled by the exhibition and you will receive your sale proceeds (minus a commission taken by the organizer).
  • If your artworks do not sell, then you will need to collect them at a certain time and place.

Preparing Your Art for the Exhibition

Selecting an art gallery and confirming an art exhibit is only the first step of a much longer process. Although there are a lot of things that the art gallery handles for you, your personal involvement is of utmost importance as you know your art the best, hence you need to be a part of every decision that is being made about it. Here’s what all you need to look at:

  • Select pieces that are consistent in either concept or themeand bring out your signature style and ideas the best.
  • Click high quality images of these for promotional purposes like catalogues, prints, etc.
  • Pay special attention to giving final touch ups if required by any of your artworks before displaying as well as the framing if the gallery demands so.
  • Another important aspect is the Certificate of Authenticity, which is required for sales.
  • If you are not framing your artworks, you will need to consider how you will display them. In case of stretched canvases, a common practice is to extend the painting over the edges to give it a feeling of continuity. Or you could just paint the edges a flat white or black.
  • Decide how you want your artworks to be hanged.
  • Varnish your artworks if you feel the need, although this is not a mandatory requirement.

Transportation

Ensure your pieces are packed securely to prevent damage during transportation. Dispatch them well in time so that in case of any damage, the gallery will have enough time to repair them.

Preparing your Personal Information

You will need to provide the following details along with your artworks:

  • Personal details.
  • Artist statement and artist profile/CV.
  • Prices of the artworks.
  • Names, medium and dimensions of the artworks.

Your artist statement and artist CV will need to be sent to the gallery for publishing in their catalogues or to be displayed along with your works. Update your CV with all your latest accomplishments. Make sure that your artist statement goes well with the selected works.

Being part of an art exhibition is not just about selling art. It is also a great opportunity to see your work through the eyes of your viewers. However, art is very subjective so be prepared to receive all sorts of opinions, some positive and others negative. The trick is to take the criticism positively and learn from it. This will help you evolve and grow as an artist. Your artistic talent does not need the validation of sales.

I hope this post provides you a better insight into what is involved in entering art exhibitions and inspires you to do so yourself. Please feel free to share any thoughts or tips of your own in the comment section below.

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And the Award Goes to….

Art competitions can provide some great opportunities to artists irrespective of whether they win or not. Not only do they give exposure and present a chance to showcase your work at exhibitions, but also prove to be an excellent morale booster for your art career. This in turn will increase your self-confidence as well as help you evolve and grow as an artist. 

Generally, the selected or shortlisted artists receive recognition, sizeable rewards and some great opportunities to exhibit, promote and/or sell their work. Several competitions often double up as art exhibits where artworks are up for sale, thereby providing artists with a shot at earning money in addition to possibly winning a prize.

The jury in an art competition is usually composed of prominent and well-known personalities from the art world, with considerable amount of experience and a good sense of the current market. This makes art competitions a great means of networking. Prizes are appropriately chosen so as to benefit artists, be it in the form of an opportunity to participate in an exhibition, a cash prize or promotional opportunities.

Winning an art competition is a great achievement as it is another feather that artists can add in their cap and therefore their CV. However, just entering the competition is big in itself as it provides you with recognition as well as a platform to prove yourself and your skill as an artist.

Moreover, entering art competitions can help in proving to yourself that you can be serious about your art. It shows that you are willing to put effort into it, and you think that your art deserves to be recognized more widely.

I consider art competitions integral to my artistic journey, as they help me get the much needed exposure and recognition, which are more important to me than the monetary gains which come in the form of rewards or prizes. It is one such art competition which I entered recently that has given me the much required boost in confidence. The competition was organized by Art Chitrakala, an organization registered with the Government of India. It provides a platform to artists from all over India to showcase, promote as well as sell their art. They organize monthly contests at “All India National Level” wherein the selected winners get an opportunity to get featured on their page and sell their work.

It was an honor and a privilege for me to be able to send my entries for the November 2020 art contest organized by Art Chitrakala, wherein a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 5 artworks had to be sent. I am absolutely thrilled to share with you all that one out the five pieces that I had entered, one was selected for a Consolation Prize! I was also greatly honored to receive the Emerging Artist Award, being one among the 250 winners from all over the country. Here are snapshots of the shortlisted artworks and the respective certificates:

It has been an extremely overwhelming and humbling experience for me to be bestowed upon with these rewards, being my very first. To see my work displayed on the pages of The Art Chitrakala website has helped endorse my faith in myself as an artist. I have been making art for just about ten years now and this has invoked mixed emotions of satisfaction, joy, accomplishment, and personal honor.

 More than the cash prize and the awards, it is the recognition that counts, making the entire experience ever so memorable. This one will always hold a special place in my heart and I’m thankful to Art Chitrakala for providing me with this platform. Winning in this competition has fueled my passion further and inspired me to work harder.

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What Kind of Art Sells?

What themes and subjects sell the most in art? Which mediums and genres sell best? What sizes of paintings sell more – smaller or larger ones? These are some important questions that every artist should be asking when he decides to put his work up for sale.

I like to be sure of what will sell in the art market, even though my personal favorites are conceptual paintings which are a mix of realism as well as abstract art. For me, the true meaning behind what I paint takes precedence over the monetary gains I can obtain from it. However, when it comes to the cash inflow, I make sure I brush up my knowledge about the current art trends.

Today’s post is my endeavor to share with you all my own little nuggets regarding what needs to be considered when selling art. This information is based on my personal experiences hence should not be considered as a benchmark for improving sales.

What are the Best-selling Themes and Subjects in Art?

 

If your favorite subject happens to be among the popular ones, you’re in for luck. Keep in mind that you will sell more if you focus on your strengths rather than painting mediocre versions of something that’s not really your cup of tea. Even though one may not be making art solely to sell it, it may end up happening that way. For instance, an artist located in a tourist set up may find himself painting local scenery and landscapes as they will sell easily, thereby helping him pay his bills.  But this doesn’t stop him from painting what he likes to, in his signature style. Here is a list of some popular themes and subjects that do well commercially in the art market:

  1. Local scenes, landscapes and seascapes (modern, impressionistic or semi-abstract) – Landscape painting is the most popular and common subject for art owing to its versatile nature. Not only do people love looking at a picturesque and scenic panorama, but also like to invest in the visual representation of one, so as to keep reliving its spectacular beauty. Moreover a landscape works well in any type of decor or ambience. So what types of landscapes sell best? Many artists like to depict their local scenery in the form of landmarks, historical events or heritage sites that are exclusively characteristic of their area. Seascapes, harbors, and beach scenes all sell particularly well, probably because of their association with holidays, vacations, and relaxation.
  • Abstract paintings –Most people buy art with the aim to match it with their décor. Abstract art fulfils this requirement hence sells well. An abstract painting can simply be interpreted as a colour, texture, or shape, which helps maintain a certain level of uniformity with the home decoration. Besides this, abstraction has a nonrepresentational or symbolic approach, so its interpretation becomes subject to each individual viewer, thus making it easier to sell.
  • Paintings of dogs, cats and wildlife – People love owning paintings of dogs as much as they love their dogs as a painting of a dog invokes feelings of intimacy and affection, while paintings of wildlife suggest untamed, uninhibited nature. Perhaps for these reasons such paintings do well in the art market.
  • Figure studies and nudes – Whether it is abstract or impressionistic portraits or figure studies, people enjoy looking at images of humans. Although the trend is shifting towards attired rather than bare bodies, there will probably always be a market for nudes.

What sells better – Original Art or Prints?

It has been noticed that prints usually sell better than original works, probably because they are less expensive. And of course many prints are sold as decorative items, as they can be mixed and matched with different colour schemes. Limited-edition prints are more popular than open-edition ones as art buyers somehow seem to find the idea of a controlled supply quite appealing. When an artist put a limit on how many prints he or she will make, it attracts buyers as they feel they are killing two birds with one stone – investing in something that is almost original but less expensive than the original, yet “exclusive” and not entirely mass-produced.

What Medium of Art Sells Best?

Ideally, the following 7 mediums of art sell better than others:

  1. Offset-litho prints (original as well as limited-edition).
  2. Giclée prints (original as well as limited-edition).
  3. Oil and acrylic paintings.
  4. Watercolors.
  5. Artists’ original prints (e.g. etchings and engravings).

 

What Size Painting Sells the Best?

 

The general consensus among most artists is that it is commercially more viable to work on smaller canvases than larger ones as the former are generally priced lower than the latter, so not only do they appeal to buyers for monetary reasons, but also because they take up less space and demand less of an aesthetic instinct. Having said that, it is equally important to take into consideration that the earnings from a large number of smaller paintings might be equal to those obtained from a fewer larger paintings. Hence, most commercially successful artists work with a range of sizes to appeal to a wider audience.

Some artists purposefully create a range of small paintings with a common theme or style as they feel it will encourage buyers to pick up the entire series. Another advantage of working on a smaller scale is that the paintings require less storage space and are easier for the artist to accommodate even if they don’t sell right away.

What is your Target Market?

Target market is a very important factor to be considered when selling art. In order to successfully target a particular buying community, artists need to focus on marketing as well to certain extent. Here are some points to consider depending on the type of buyer you are targeting:

  • If you are selling through a gallery, your art needs to cater to the likes and requirements of its patrons. Highly priced works are best suited for galleries and least for museums and private collectors.
  • Private and commercial buyers usually use art as décor for offices etc, whereas interior decorators and designers will have specific artistic requirements.
  • The pricing of your work will depend on the disposable income as well as the budget of the buyer in question.
  • Home décor primarily depends on low priced copies or prints of originals and thus constitutes the largest market for art.
  • Art can be propagated through product development in various formats like, mugs, postcards, calendars, etc., which is a pretty lucrative market in itself.

 

My Experiences with Sales

I have realized that I can generate better sales for my art when it is displayed in a physical space like a gallery rather than an online virtual space.  The reason behind this could be that my viewers get to experience my work at close quarters, hence are able to appreciate it much more for various elements, especially colors and textures. Moreover, they get a better understanding of the medium, technique and the surface I have used to create the artwork. Most of my paintings are texture-laden and this aspect comes through best when viewed in person.  So if you want to emphasize and highlight the USP of your work, an art show or gallery display would be the best option.

I have also realized that keeping myself abreast with the latest art trends goes a long way as it keeps me updated with what is selling currently in the art market, thereby giving me better returns for my work. When it comes to selling my art, I take the practical approach and paint what’s in demand. But that doesn’t stop me from painting what I like so both go hand and hand for me. The trick is to strike equilibrium between both. In conclusion, I would like to say that success in any commercially aimed artistic undertaking can depend on a combination of all these factors. After all, selling art is no less than any business endeavor , so if you want to make money, treat it like one!