There have been so many instances in our lives where we would have nurtured a childhood hobby. As a little boy or girl, we would have pursued a hobby be it strumming the guitar, gardening, playing a sport, baking, painting, stamp collecting or singing. But as we grew up, somewhere these hobbies have got drowned in all the chatter and noise of parental expectations of academics and societal pressures and we lost the connect with our inner artist.
Thankfully now, with an increasing awareness to connect with oneself both professionally and personally, it has made following one’s heart much easier.
Here’s our feature on 33-year-old Anchal Bansal, a self-taught artist who’s made a mark of her own by rekindling her lost love for fine arts. She’s a knife artist with an impressionistic style that is influenced by Monet and his work. We talked about how her entrepreneurial journey began from a shift from Mumbai to Jamnagar and how motherhood propelled her to success. Read her wonderful journey right here.
How did it all begin?
Art was always a hobby for Anchal until she got married. When she moved with her husband from Mumbai to Jamnagar a small town in Gujarat, she started painting primarily to decorate her new house. When friends started showing a keen interest in buying her paintings, it sparked the entrepreneurial bug in her and so Anchal’s Art Studio was born.
“When starting up, one of the biggest investment in art is most often patience, practice, dedication, and faith. It takes time and resilience to make your mark in the art world; and the more you believe in yourself, the more you grow,” smiles Anchal.
We really liked her reason for branding her studio with her own name. Anchal recalls how she would love it when someone said, “I bought a Monet or a Hussain”. She says, “I look forward to the day when people would say, “I bought an Anchal!” That was the thought behind branding my Art Studio with my name.”
From a self-taught artist to an entrepreneur
Irrespective of how modern and educated we are, once a woman gets married, most of the times, she is expected to move her base with her husband. And as women are resilient enough, they usually raise up to the challenges and find something lucrative to do. That’s what exactly happened with Anchal where this shift to Jamnagar proved to be a blessing in disguise and she turned this experience to her advantage.
She adds, “For a city girl like me, moving to a small town like Jamnagar with no friends became a very lonely experience. However, in retrospect, I feel it was the best thing that happened to me because it gave me my art. I learnt a lot from books and online portals – from how to stretch canvases to knife painting techniques as well as acrylic painting and lots more. Every afternoon at 3:30 pm I would set out with my sketchbook, pencils and a bottle of water to do live drawings of the lovely heritage buildings of Jamnagar. The Jamnagar Palace, temples, railway station, and the university all have beautiful colonial architecture and were a joy and education to draw. I would just sit down by the roadside and start sketching. Those sessions helped me to strengthen my drawing and observation skills and lay a strong foundation for my art. And over a period of time, I realised how art gave me a routine, a purpose and a sense of achievement.”
Initial-struggles to sell her artwork would often lead to people thinking of her work as purely a hobby. It would be frustrating to hear people request for artwork pro-bono, as they didn’t perceive it to have any commercial value. Anchal further explains, “When you freelance from home with a toddler not everybody respects your space and time. It used to infuriate and motivate me in equal measures. It drove me to work harder and prove myself. After all, everybody starts with small, baby steps before learning to run and I wanted to fly.”
List of clientele
Her clients range from corporates like Talwalkars Health Studio, Sterling Wilson & Co Corporate offices and others to private collections held by art lovers across India, US and Japan. She has also done a lot of fun, vibrant illustrations of the beautiful High Courts of the country for Law Suits & More, a firm, which specialises in curated gifts for lawyers.
We talk about some of her recent projects and Anchal shares, “I really enjoy illustrating and cartooning. Deepak Chatterjee’s book title ‘Are You Really Happy’ says it all. It was a fun and challenging project to convert his experiences and ideas into visuals. I made his caricature, which in turn, shares all the key points in the book. The dentistry cartoons for Dr. Moez Khakiani’s book Clinical Fixed Prosthodontics were a pure joy. While Deepak’s were the original hand illustrated drawings, the latter were digital illustrations where the teeth and dentist’s chair were animated.”
From start to finish
Most clients who have approached Anchal are based on her previous work. “It’s difficult to say how long each project takes to complete since every project is different. It depends on the detailing required. Also, I prefer not to take work with very tight deadlines because it hampers the quality of work and creativity,” adds Anchal.
What makes Anchal’s Art Studio so unique?
Anchal’s Art Studio has a very simple vision, “To create art that spreads happiness”. It aims to bring about cheer and joy through its paintings, illustrations, cartooning and design. They take pride in using happy, bright colours in all their work and hope that every single piece of work brings positivity wherever it goes.
“The caricatures and cartoons we do are also fun and humorous. Recently we customised wedding cards for couples who wanted something quirky, different and special. Needless to say, our designs and illustrations brought smiles all around,” giggles Anchal.
Motherhood and art
We were quite intrigued to know more about how she blended becoming a new mum with being an artist. And we were impressed how she took on the challenges of pregnancy in her stride and turned that into her advantage yet again.
As Anchal recalls, “When I was pregnant, the aches and pains, mood swings and weight gain was quite overwhelming. It inspired me to create my “Being Baked” cartoons that translate the difficulties of a pregnancy into funny visuals. Cartooning gave me the strength to cope with my prenatal journey and my experiences of motherhood.”
Illustrated book on Hanuman Chalisa
We were quite intrigued about her recent project on the Hanuman Chalisa. Being a firm believer of the Hanuman Chalisa, it has a calming effect on Anchal and how she chose to weave art around that too.
She shares, “I heard and chanted it throughout my pregnancy and my son hears it when we do pooja at home together every day. I wanted to introduce it to him as Hannuji, the Superhero God who fights bad guys, helps people and is loyal, strong and brave. The book has bright visuals that he would enjoy seeing and a simple translation for older children. The book is still work-in-progress and I’m looking to connect with publishers who would be interested in such a project. We have a plethora of stories in our mythology and culture. I want to introduce them to my son and all children through happy, simple and fun illustrations which they can also later sketch and colour on their own.
Visions & aims
Anchal seemed pretty sorted when she shares her visions and aims with us. For her, she believes that we are all artists. We all used to draw when we were children, but as we grew up, we were told we were good or bad and these labels stopped our art journey.
That’s where she has partnered with Misha Gupta to start Doodle Draw and conduct Art Parties and workshops for the young and old, corporates and private groups. “Come relax, paint and learn something new while the creative juices flow. Art is for everyone, and research has shown how de-stressing and calming art is. We just forgot this as we grew up,” smiles Anchal.
She further adds, “Art is very subjective. What may appeal to one person may be meaningless strokes for another. The key is to just keep drawing and sketching. When you crave to pick up a knife, brush or pencil and by doing so makes your soul happy then the true artist inside you comes to the forefront. You start seeing art in everything and get inspired even by a puddle in the street.”
Response so far
Her journey as an artist has been a colourful learning experience. She’s modest enough to state that she still has a long way ahead of her. Anchal adds, “But what I create makes me happy and when a stranger buys my work I know it gives them the same happiness that I felt when I created it. And we share that connection for a brief period of time through canvas and colour. “
Anchal’s Art Studio is like a tree with different branches of painting, cartooning, caricaturing and designing. The tree continues to grow and strengthen its roots. After all, the journey for an artist never really ends. Anchal aims to keep doing more work and add joy to the world with every stroke of paint and pencil and we hope so she does.
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