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Finally Living My Dream And Influencing Lives With Artisana, My Art Studio!

Artisana, my art studio. Something I loved to make saved me, gave me an identity and opened avenues in front of me that I never thought was possible.

If you are looking for a successful business story you might be disappointed. However if you are looking for a love story then you are at the right place.

I followed my heart when it came to art

Almost all of us love art as a child; there’s something magical about turning blank pages into colour filled miracles.  As we grow up I think our sensibilities kick in and we aren’t brave on paper anymore. Love takes courage, so does art.

Many moons ago when I was a little girl I was told that I can never be an artist by a teacher who was aghast at my attempts at art, thankfully I wasn’t the kind who listened to such words, I left the conventional route of learning and started making my own. Be it the ritualistic floor art patterns of Alpona with my grandmother, or watercolour painting attempts with my father, listening to my father and his guru Shri Sunil Guha talking about art, art history, and techniques, to making my own versions of what I thought was art from my imagination, I have come a long way.

Then life happened

Soon life took over and I took the path that was expected of me. Education, job, marriage, ticking all the boxes as I travelled through all the common roads. It wasn’t a bad journey but somewhere deep down I wasn’t completely happy. I finished my teacher’s training from The Manchester Metropolitan University; I went on to work with The Refugee Council in the UK. A few more years passed and a couple of more degrees and jobs later I got married and moved to the very beautiful city of Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Roughly about twelve years ago, I was struggling after a difficult child birth, I had taken a career break and I was at home wallowing in self pity. Being a new mom was hard as it is for all women, and I was no exception, as I stumbled through what to do and what not, I kind of felt clueless, directionless. I knew I wanted to do something, I just didn’t know what or how!

‘I don’t know what I am doing!’

Around that time a conversation with my father changed my life. One day over the phone I told him, ‘Baba, I don’t know what I am doing; I can’t find any meaning to anything these days. He told me ‘Life won’t seem meaningful unless you make it’.

Being a well known Doctor’s daughter wasn’t easy, on top of that he was also one of the most respected watercolour artists of his time. ‘But how do I match up to your legacy Baba?’ I had asked. I still remember the softness of his voice when he told me, ‘You don’t match up to mine, you create your own legacy child.’

That catapulted me out of the phase I was in. I took care of the baby and the house, I started writing and painting again. I filled my life with positive people who would inspire me to do better, cut out the negative toxic people who would constantly tell me that I am a failure.

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Practising art when I got any time

I practiced when the baby slept, sometimes on the kitchen floor, after all chores were done as I didn’t’ want to wake her up by turning on the lights in the room. I practiced in the park while she played; I practiced in the car waiting for my daughter to come out of her playgroup. I would wake up every morning at 4 to 4:30am every day before anyone else got up to get in my extra time of practice. In all my spare time either I wrote stories or I made art.

A couple of years went by like that before I found out I am pregnant again with my second baby. It felt my life had taken another turn. Honestly, I felt trapped. There wasn’t one thing I could put my finger on that was wrong, but I knew that I didn’t feel that I was doing enough. But I didn’t stop making art, I couldn’t stop.

After my son was born, within few months I got back to my art ritual; this time writing took a backseat. I painted and painted, I didn’t know why, but I just did. I kept learning new art forms, I self taught some and I learnt some from people.

Becoming a professional artist

Since I restarted painting six years had passed. In 2017 my two best friends sat me down and gave me another life changing direction, they scolded me for about an hour and made me realize that I was ready to enter the world as a professional artist. So I did, with a lot of fear and apprehension, I still believed whatever I had was just out of hard work and practice not talent.

The day my first painting was sold, I realized, maybe this is what I am meant to be, this is what I am meant to do. I started selling more, I started conducting workshops and teaching art to adults. I was already a trained teacher; I used all my professional learning to become an art teacher. I joined the two of my skill sets and opened my Art studio and learning centre Artisana in 2018.

Shifting to the online mode during the pandemic

At first everything went brilliantly, but as you all know in March 2020 the Pandemic hit the world, and it not only claimed lives, but it left many small and medium business owners like me in the sheer mess of uncertainty and financial loss. I had to shut doors of my beloved studio, I had taken a Gold loan to start my studio, How would I ever repay it back, how would I recover my losses such thoughts kept me awake at night.

Eventually, gathering courage, like rest of the world I shifted to online mode. As weeks rolled into months I saw a rise in interest from people who wanted to learn art online. In fact my reach became greater and I started mentoring artists across the globe and not just my local region. At the risk of sounding clichéd I will still say, when one door closes another opens.

A labour of love, in many ways

I managed to save enough to pay off my Gold loan; furthermore I saved enough to open up my Studio again in a new way.

Something I loved to make saved me, gave me an identity and opened avenues in front of me that I never thought was possible. I am super proud when I look back at my students now, many of them are now opening their own art business, art studios, some simply have used their time with me to rekindle a forgotten childhood passion, some have found peace. Over the course of time I have mentored hundreds of students through online classes and workshops. I teach over 40 different artforms currently, a lot of people visit for art and counseling, I work with upcoming artists in ways to empower them, I am at peace.

I do not consider it a business venture; it is my love story, with art, with my self identity. Remember as my Baba said, we don’t need to match up to anyone’s legacy; we get to create our own, on our own terms.


Images source: Rhiti Bose

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About the Author

Rhiti Bose

I am a writer/poet/blogger/reviewer. I have a first class master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Madras and have done my Teacher’s Training from Manchester Metropolitan University, UK read more...

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