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In conversation with Archna B Sapra

Is there a process or ritual you go through before you begin creating?
And if so, what is it? There is no definite process as such but the only "ritual" I would say is taking a break on my own! My bouts of travel trigger new thoughts and ideas that help me think afresh and develop my work. I usually work in series and like experimenting with new and different mediums.

Are you ever satisfied with your work? If you are, how do you know when you are done... If not, how do you let go off a piece of art?
I don't think I'm ever satisfied with my work, but I guess that's what makes one experiment more and more. It's very precarious for a painting that is supposedly complete to be sitting in the room where I paint. I always land up getting back to it and so many a times ruining it! ... And I guess that's also a part of the process with which I create my works. So it's usually tough to let go of a piece of art unless it goes to the other room in my studio!

Is there an artwork you are most proud of? Which? Why?
I am very proud of "MAAYAA" my stop motion film that won a gold medal at the Florence Biennale. I would say it empowered me a lot! Also because I'm primarily a painter and it was my first attempt at experimenting with a new medium; which is digital art. I have made another stop motion film, which I'm exhibiting in this show . As for the paintings here, all are very special to me. These are the outcome of a lot of experimentation and hard work.

My new style of paintings presents a rich tapestry of images and ideas inspired by my encounters during my exploratory photographic voyages.

What inspires you? What inspired this idea?
After my solo in Bangalore in 2010, I took a break from painting to pursue my other passion… photography. Its while traveling to Ladakh, Varanasi, and through colourful Rajasthan being trigger happy I realized that there is so much character in India which we tend to foresee because of our Western obsession. Just observing the people around inspired me to paint them.

What is your most important artistic tool? Is there something you can't live without in your studio?
Oh the spatula and roller! Cannot do without them at all. I'm a very un organized painter and don't like to follow any rules of painting or paint materials...but these two I can't do without.

What are your biggest challenges in creating art and how do you deal with them?
My biggest challenge would definitely be juggling between kids and art! But I try and manage somehow... I guess they are growing up and do realize that I need to focus entirely when I'm at the studio or I do need the occasional travel breather. Also sometimes I used to feel a little handicapped about not graduating in art but have come to realize that to create something one has to "unlearn" all techniques. The best strategy has been hands-on-learning, particularly from someone with a lot of experience in the area and that can act as a mentor and they have been the most fruitful and memorable of my various learning experiences. It was definitely "the hard way" to learn but then also most satisfying. Also, working with new mediums and genres is at times challenging but that's what in turn motivates me!