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Anuja Aggarwal went back to her childhood dream of creating art at a difficult time during the beginning of COVID and has truly discovered herself.
This is the story of how I became an artist from being a freelance corporate writer. ~ Anuja Aggarwal.
A few years back, I was talking to my daughter, and I asked her, “what do you want to become when you grow up?” I wanted her answer to be something offbeat, something that she actually wanted to do, but she came up with the most unexpected, “I want to be a masseuse”. Her reason was very clear. Whenever she massaged my shoulders with her tiny hands, I gave her the best reaction of being the happiest person on earth which made her believe that she was extremely good at it.
But, her next question to me was the same, and I told her that I am already a grown-up. To which she said that “then you must already be what you wanted to become.”
This simple question stirred me at a deeper level. It made me question if I am on the right path towards achieving my goals. And most importantly, what were my goals?
I was working as a freelance writer for IT companies for over 14 years. It was fulfilling initially, but the monotony got to me and I couldn’t bring myself to write one more case study or whitepaper for the same kind of IT challenges. I was stuck and I felt like something was missing in my life. Always busy with work, but never reaching anywhere.
If someone had asked me this question to me when I was a kid, I would’ve replied that I want to become an artist when I grow up. But since then, I had not paid any attention to that calling and now at this stage of my life, was I already too late to think in that direction? Being an adult, I believed that art could only be my hobby, as I am not trained in the field and I am not good enough to make it my career.
At the beginning of 2020, things were going normal, we had settled in our new home in a new city, and then COVID shook the world. I stopped getting new work assignments, boredom took over, and depression started to take root as I had nothing to do.
Fortunately, art came to my rescue to break that chain of monotony and I joined one Instagram hashtag which was 30 days of painting. Each day, I painted something small and each painting brought me more happiness.
I found a new excitement in art and looked forward to painting every day. I started getting more encouraged to paint when I got good reviews from people all over the world. Each painting helped me in improving my skills. When you are open to ideas and decide to take a path, you are more willing to explore.
One day I came across alcohol inks and I just had an intense craving to use this new medium. When I started working with alcohol inks, I immediately fell in love with them.
Thankfully, people started appreciating my art and I knew I was moving in the right direction. Soon, people requested me to teach them alcohol ink art and I was happy to do that. I love to see the beginners getting the same excitement that I felt when working with alcohol inks.
Although I enjoyed taking workshops, my main focus was to remain on my path to becoming an ‘artist’.
I painted almost daily, made connections with all popular alcohol ink artists in the world, reached out to all the art supply manufacturers in the field, consistently worked on growing my reach through social media and other online channels. All this required passion and dedication. I constantly challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone and come up with something new.
It requires a lot of hard work to paint as well as market it through the right channels without losing your sanity. Creating art should bring joy. If we compare ourselves to others, get into the rush of marketing and hustling to sell our art, then slowly the joy of creating starts to slip away. I know, we all would like to monetize our art and find ways to make money out of it because that’s all we see on social media. But it’s a tough market. I am happy that things are working out for me, but there are many days when I feel depressed and unhappy when things don’t work out.
When I feel that way, I always remind myself that my goal is to become an “artist” and the rest all becomes clear and fades away.
I feel ecstatic that my journey so far has been full of positives. Having taught over 2000 learners through my alcohol ink workshops and online video tutorials, sold 100+ paintings worldwide, participated in art exhibitions across India, opened my own art studio, I have come a long way from where I started.
Now people call me an ‘artist’ and I feel completely elated and confident when I hear it. Although, I know there is still a long way to go. My ideas might change in the future as circumstances and my likings change, but the path of creating art will remain constant.
If you ask for one advice from any artist in the world, they would say, “paint consistently”. And that’s the only key. When you make something daily, you tend to loosen up, you feel okay when you make mistakes or things don’t work out as planned, because you know there’s always the next time. And the next time would always be a step ahead.
So, I remind myself to breathe, take one step at a time, and enjoy this beautiful journey as a full-time artist, #LivingMyDream.
Find Anuja Aggarwal on Instagram and on her website.
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Image source: Anuja Aggarwal
Anuja Aggarwal is among the top alcohol ink artists in the world. She has been painting with alcohol inks since 2019. She has created many unique alcohol ink techniques and has expertise with all alcohol read more...
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