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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

‘Champachick’ Shreya Pranit Is Creating Art That Shouts Out Love And Soothes The Soul

  • IWB Post
  •  May 20, 2019

In a world that is as much agitated by the excess of information as it is by the chaos of things, the onus falls on the shoulders of the artist yet again. While the artist has since times immemorial served as a catalyst to the revolution, the artist also has served to soothe the aggravation of the revolution.

Shreya Pranit is one of those artists whose art is like an oasis of cool water amidst the scorching summer heat. Every time you stress your soul contemplating the contemporary affair of things, you can always turn to her artwork for a respite as it is all about love, peace, and Nature. She proclaims, “I am big on giving and taking love.”

A retail designer by profession, while Shreya has been formally trained in design, she has never ever taken any lessons in art. “Art gives me solace,” says the 26-year-old. She adds, “I started drawing in childhood and never stopped. It, of course, evolved over the time. It started with crayons and it’s all about water colours now. Maybe I will find some other medium in the future.”

Inside-8

Shreya’s Instagram handle Champachick is something she created to feed her own soul amidst her busy work life. However, her art soon started resonating with people and they started approaching her to buy it. That is when, being the happy go lucky girl who takes things in stride, she shrugged her shoulders and thought if it is in demand why not start selling art.

Shreya now creates collection-based artwork that she sells and the reception has been pretty good. She makes limited copies of all her art because that way it is “lesser hassle” for her and also “there is no pressure of creation” which she absolutely dreads as an artist. For her, art is sporadic and forcing herself to create is thus just not the thing

The moment I came across her Instagram handle, I connected to her art on a personal level as if she had given a shape to all the cranny nooks and corners of my mind. I don’t exaggerate when I say that had I written this interview in a diary I would have marked it with colourful sticky notes, every one describing how each one of her series, as well as her thoughts, made me feel about them.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

How about we begin with your Insta handle ‘Champachick’ and discuss the story behind it?

Ok, so while growing up we kept moving as my father was in a transferable job. Somehow every house that we moved to had a Champa plant in it. I think this is why it subconsciously became synonymous with memories and nostalgia for me. You can, in fact, call it my soul flower, I simply love it. Even after shifting to Bangalore, while I don’t have a Champa plant at home, you’d always find the flower here. Every day when I go out for a jog, I pick a Champa on my way back as there are a lot of Champa plants in Bangalore.

As far as the ‘chick’ part of the name is considered, well it just goes well with Champa. (A little alliteration doesn’t any way harm anyone, right?)

The champa and the chick.

The Champa and the chick.

Wow! Going through your artwork I could feel a calm settling inside me. Living amidst times when people are fast succumbing to the loneliness and darkness within, it appears to me like a ray of light. Please tell me about the process of your art.

I am a big advocate of self-love and think that there is no such thing as a bad body, face or look. I believe that loving oneself is very important, everybody is different and there is something absolutely lovable in every person and probably that is reflected in my artwork as well. All the characters I envision are distinct, likable, and strong in their own unique way.

Talking about your characters, I noticed that while there are faces, there aren’t any features. Is there any specific reason behind the same?

In my belief, character is bigger than face and that’s why I don’t do features on the faces that I draw. When I say character, I mean that one shining element or that USP that everyone has. You know that feeling when somebody enters a room and you can actually feel their positive energy? For me, that energy is bigger than how that person looks and that is what I focus on.

It's the one shining element or the USP of a personal that appeals to Shreya the most.

It’s the one shining element or the USP of a person that appeals to Shreya the most.

I also noticed that most of your drawings are done in watercolor. Any specific reasons for choosing this mode of expression?

Water colors are just like a child. Just let them be and they flow and create something of their own. They add a whimsical charm to the work. I as an artist regard intuition over anything else and water colors do justice to all of this.

That also reminds me of the dominant floral motif in your artwork. Please tell me about your fascination with plants and flowers. 

I’d again give the credit to my upbringing for this. My father’s postings took us to many small albeit lusciously green places. If you look at my childhood pictures you’d find me surrounded with plants, flowers, and lots of greenery. Thus I had a childhood surrounded by flora and fauna and it has gotten into me. My mum has a garden, I have one, I just cannot live without plants and I feel truly blessed to be married to a Nature lover who cherishes Nature as much as I do.

The floral motif dominates Shreya's artwork.

The floral motif dominates Shreya’s artwork.

Shreya’s answer immediately transports me to my childhood. While we keep raving about the sugary sweet smell of rose, almost all the flowers have their distinct smell, some of them very subtle yet very strong when it comes to the memory of them. I can still vividly recollect the light lingering smell of orange marigolds that we’d pick from the lawn and then rub on our hands to see the yellowish tinge of color they left in our hands.

This recollective line of thought inspires my next question as I ask:

Tell me how do you and your husband cherish the bounty of Nature?

Oh, there are so many things but ya, I particularly cherish exploring forests with him. Whenever we visit a forest, we collect leaves and after getting back try to find out where do they come from and what trees they are from.

Shreya certainly exhibits a strong connection to her roots and her love for handicrafts probably crops from the same. She, in fact, created a ’36 days of type series’ on the handicrafts of India and was so well versed with the topic that didn’t even have to do any research or brainstorming to find a handicraft that starts with each letter of the alphabet. I thus take the conversation further:

Tell me about your love for the handicrafts of India.

I think I can trace back my love for handicrafts from the times when I saw my mum going to local markets and picking up stuff that you’d not find anywhere else. I have started doing the same now. I keep buying these collectives and my house in full of such teeny tiny knick-knacks. My friends have actually started calling my house a museum but I don’t really agree with them. Being an OCD freak, taking care of all this stuff becomes all the more challenging for me (laughs). Since my husband is also a designer he too keeps collecting such stuff. (After a pause she adds an afterthought) you know what I think my house can indeed be called a museum.

All the alphabets from the art series that Shreya did for Indian handicrafts.

All the alphabets from the art series that Shreya did for Indian handicrafts.

Shreya’s afterthought on the idea of her house being called a museum makes me realise that she thinks just like she creates, for I witness pure unfiltered emotions right from the depths of her heart pouring out unrestricted.

The train of thought reminds me of her latest art series “the lover’s series” as I romantically muse upon the word that I picked for myself from the series: Selenophile-a person who loves the moon. I thus ask:

Your lover’s series is simple, uncomplicated and yet very powerful. How did you conceive the idea?

One day I was painting the moon for my best friend as she is obsessed with it.

Oh my God So Am I. (Realising that I just cut her short in excitement) I am sorry please continue.

(Laughing) So yes that is when I came across the word ‘Selenophile’ and wondered that there must be similar words for people who crazily loved such natural things. For instance, I love trees and thus the word for me would be ‘Dendrophile.’

Dendrophile-a person who loves the trees and forests.

Dendrophile-a person who loves the trees and forests.

So the lover’s series was conceived from the thought that why only celebrate the romantic idea of love when love extends way beyond just people.

Since most of your artwork features a character musing upon something I’d love to know about the inspirations behind them. Please enlighten me.

It started with people around me. Initially, the inspirations behind my characters were my loved ones and my friends but eventually, I exhausted them all. That is when I started looking beyond them for inspiration.

I love sitting and observing people on the streets. It is my favourite thing to do and I always end up finding something peculiar in somebody. I wonder why a person is a certain way as I observe them and create a personality in my own head. Thus lately I have been drawing inspiration from those I don’t even know.

Picture Courtesy: Shreya Pranit

This article was first published on June 15, 2018.

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