Art Was My Escape Door, Artistic Journey Of Praaggya Sharma
An abstract artist. An advertising professional. A young mother. A Chandigarh girl at heart. A full-time Bangalorean. All rolled into 5 feet and 4 inches of me. As exciting as it might sound, on most days it’s exhausting being ‘me’, and I don’t even have the energy to flick my studio lights ON. Did I say studio? Well, my house guests (whenever they choose to arrive) will have to spend the night beside the easel, or curl up next to the watercolours and oil pastels and maybe take a shot at dreaming in colour. As far as my dreams go, I’ve always cherished the thought of being an artist. One day, I hope the full-time Bangalorean blossoms into a full-time artist. Lights OFF.
My story is the tale of many cities. I was born at my uncle’s house in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Before I turned a year old, my parents moved to a small town in Rajasthan, where my father was employed at the time. And when I was old enough to go to school, my father decided that we should move to Delhi. The migration never ceased. After I finished my schooling, we moved to Ahmedabad, for a year. In 2004, we moved to Chandigarh, where I finished my graduation. Then, I moved to Nagpur to pursue my MBA from IMT, where I met my future husband. After completing my course, I moved to Hyderabad, and then in 2o1o, I moved to Bangalore. So, is there a city I could call home? It’s a question that I keep asking myself.
I began painting while I was a stay-at-home mother and on the verge of depression. My social life became extinct, and my entire day revolved around bringing up my little girl. While Ira was the best thing that happened to me, I couldn’t survive merely on innocent gibberish she uttered through the day. With every passing day, I craved for a conversation with an adult, to whom I could express my emotions. Everyone I knew, including my husband, would be busy at work, so I began to seek solace in art. To me, who visited you on vacation and showed you a good time. Art was my escape door from the dark dungeons of a mundane existence.
My tryst with art began with videos on Youtube and Instagram visits, for creative inspiration during my resting time. I then began to experiment with the techniques I had learnt, while Ira enjoyed her afternoon naps. Am I a self-taught artist, or one that has been the benefactor of many a teacher, I don’t know. I managed to connect with artists from across the globe and found an ilk of extremely supportive artists. I even managed to make a few friends out there, and began to chat with some of them, with conversations ranging from art to everything else. All of a sudden, my world wasn’t that dungeon of the mundane as I had imagined it to be.
In February 2017, I restarted my professional career, because I was bored of being broke. Rejoining the corporate world not only bailed me out financially but also exposed me to a new social network - a real one, where friend requests began with a handshake or a cup of coffee. I made friends and sold the first few paintings to people I had met at my new workplace. As the tide of destiny turned in my favour, I got the opportunity to showcase my work a few art festivals. The Namma Bengaluru Habba, in 2017, and Sunday Soul Sante, in 2018. These were events where I met strangers and managed to sell a few pieces of my work, besides the few I had sold to long-lost acquaintances through social media.
It was at these events that I got to witness first-hand how strangers responded to my art. It’s no secret that abstract artists suffer from the handicap of not being taken seriously as fine artists. The only saving grace are those handful few people who appreciate abstract art, without the compulsion to be compassionate to the struggling artist. To see someone endlessly gaze at my painting, immersed in interpretation, is truly a heartwarming experience. It is a mixed feeling parting with one’s work but knowing that a painting is in the hands of someone who truly appreciates it is the best feeling an artist can hope to experience.
In my artistic journey, my work has traveled to different parts of India, including Delhi and Mumbai. I have also been fortunate enough to find collectors in the USA and Spain, making me an internationally collected artist, and I never cease to be grateful for all of my collectors. Currently, I’m in talks with a private art gallery in Bangalore. If things go as I hope they will, I should soon have my work up in a gallery too.
In my career as an artist, I have been fortunate, and being where I am in a span of less than 2 years, with a full-time job and a toddler at home seems surreal. It goes without saying that I could not have done it without the support of my husband, Chaitanya who, after getting back from work, keeps me away from household chores so I can spend my evening and weekends pursuing my passion.
My artistic journey, thus far, has taken me into new realms of understanding myself, and the world I live in; physical and metaphysical. I’ve met people, interacted with different points of view, and experience a sense of ‘newness’ every day, and it’s a journey I would love to continue.
On an end note, a few words for all the great women out there who think they have missed their chance of bringing their dreams to life, it’s never too late! Take time out of your busy routines revolving around others, just half an hour every day, and see how chasing your dreams can change your life and bring you happiness.
Praaggya Sharma is an Advertising professional by day and an abstract artist by night. Self taught while on maternity break, she specializes in acrylic and watercolours. Her beautiful art currently adorns the walls of her patrons across India and in countries like Spain, China and USA.You can find more of her work on Instagram (@praaggya) and Facebook (Praaggya Art Boutique), or walk in to Lattice Lane in Indiranagar, Bangalore to see a select few paintings first-hand.
G*****Great... I am also an artist, but left it behind because of my hectic professional life. A few years ago I quit my job and started with bottle art and slowly getting back to painting
N*****Hi really happy to hear your story .congrats. I am also little bit like you. I also love doing painting. But I have not made anything using my imagination. I love to make pencil sketch n oil painting and specially of lord Krishna. Kindly suggest what can I do to create my own imagined work