An Illustrator from India who's Art embodies Individualism and Empowerment: Shreya Bhan
By Khari Warren
December 15, 2020
For those who don’t know who you are, who is Shreya?
Well, I am still finding myself. My life is a journey and I discover new things about myself every day! I grew up in New Delhi, India. My mother worked in fashion, and my father in pharmaceuticals. It is because of this that I tend to be left as well as right-brained!
Those who are close call me the biggest contradiction ever. I love to romanticize, but I have my feet firmly on the ground. Having traveled extensively, I have now found home in London, and have been here for the last five years. Art has always been close to my heart. Doodling from a very young age, I majored in design, and made it my own, by starting my own brand of bags.
I now work as a visual brand manager with an up and coming sustainable fashion brand. In my free time, I use Brushbound as a channel to voice me. Who am I? I am the girl next door. The girl, who loves to be rebellious, gives a grunt while laughing, loves fried chicken, a glass of wine, my sassy cat, and daydreams at night.
What inspired you to become an Illustrator?
My husband jokes that if I could, I would use his face as a canvas (believe me, I have tried! Unfortunately, he sleeps light, and doesn’t take too well to face art!). I have always caged an illustrator in me. I am an introvert, but my mind is constantly buzzing, and I find it difficult to translate all that into words.
Instead, I use art to find sense in all of this chaos that the world is. While my art and illustrations were very personal, during the lockdown I took it as an opportunity to use my art to spread some joy, confidence, and some respite to others!
What’s your opinion on the consumerism of art. Do you believe that people genuinely appreciate art?
I might seem extremely biased in this, mostly because I am immersed in art constantly. Having said that, I think they do, the kind of art that is appreciated now is different from what used to be. I speak to my friends, from various walks of life, and I see them appreciate all kinds of art. Art in itself has evolved and is no longer as “pretentious” as it used to be. Art resides in the Mona Lisa, art also resides in my “Knit Happens” (a cheesy play on S*** Happens) coffee mug. It's nice to see so many artists trying different mediums to create art to cater to.
Having said that, millennials and Gen Z consumers are a lot more aware now, and want to be part of meaningful work. Does that create more space for gimmicky art like Banksy? Sure. As a society do we need that? Yes. If consumerism has made way for art that is socially conscious and also helping in promoting important causes, I am all for it!
Are there any specific subjects you like to address or touch on in your work?
I am a thirty-year-old Indian woman, and the journey has not always been easy. I have struggled a lot with self-doubt, which has impacted my mental health a lot! Growing up, I didn’t understand this as well as I do now. I am sure there are many others like me who constantly battle this. Therefore, my art always encourages women, focuses on Feminism, Mental Health, and Self Doubt.
What kind of impact do you strive to cause when sharing your art? Why?
I take immense pride in being a strong and independent woman. I am constantly inspired by women of all fields, be it Frieda Kahlo, or my boss, who manages work, home, and her child. There are great stories to be told, to inspire others. But we live in a time, where people have an attention span of less than 3 seconds.
I find that my art is disruptive enough to break the mould. I am at least able to tell these stories of strong women effectively. Brush Bound is my way of telling the world that it is ok to be a mess. It is ok to not have it together. The impact I want my art to have? I want people to accept and be ok with themselves.
Your work is vibrant, eclectic, and authentic. What’s your designing process like?
My process is very intuitive and can typically take up to 2-3 days. While the actual art takes only a few hours to complete, the research, the inspiration, the brainstorming, and the “monologues” can take a few days. I draw only what I feel deeply about.
The inspiration can come literally from anywhere! Nature, interiors, fabrics, photoshoots, or my cat, those all inspire me. Having said that, fashion is still the closest to me, and will always be, which is prevalent in all of my protagonists. The eclectic and authentic flavor is just me! Since a very young age, I have been collecting books on prints and patterns. I have always been inspired by pop art! All of this comes together and has manifested itself into Brush Bound.
What has your experience taught you thus far?
The last six months have been extremely enriching for me and my growth! I have come closer to fellow artists across the globe, and I have come to learn, that although a small group, the artist community is extremely supportive and encouraging. I have in fact been able to collaborate with some of the brightest minds in the industry and create some great art as well! Of course, none of this would have been possible without Instagram.
As I continue to grow my own little community, I recently realized that my art has also reached Australia, LA, as well as parts of France. That’s something I have been able to accomplish all from my little studio at home. I am often humbled by the response and appreciation that Brush Bound has received. The key takeaway is to be true to yourself and believe in yourself. If you can just find it in you to take that leap of faith, believe me, it’s worth it!
Have you been working on any new projects lately?
There are several projects in the pipeline, each as exciting as the other. There is an animation project that I am working on with a leading Video on Demand platform. I am also collaborating with designers back home in India and in Europe.
It’s fun working with these artists and designers, as we have a similar sense of design and aesthetic. I can’t wait to unveil all of these on my page! In addition to this, I want to also focus more on Brush Bound, because at the end of the day nothing brings me more joy than creating art.
View more of Shreya Bhan's artwork on Instagram @Brush_bound
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