The Indian Artist: The Final Post of the Year

Good afternoon everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. Final season is finally over! The semester is finally over! We survived! This was a difficult year for me. It was amazing and full of firsts, but it was still hard. I lived on my own for the first time in my life and had to learn how to take care of myself, take care of my emotional and mental health, and come to terms with the fact that I have some issues that I have to tackle to become the best version of myself. Through all of this, balancing my studying with my health, my art has been my solace. My art has given me so much strength and confidence, pride and joy.

I will be back in the fall and will have at least one more new piece to showcase! Thank you all so much for your readership this past year. I truly look forward to starting “The Indian Artist” up again soon! As always, if any questions arise, please feel free to reach out to me via my Instagram or my contact page through my website. Have a wonderful summer!

 

Until next Monday,

~ Riya

 

Instagram: @riya_aggarwal.art

Personal website:   https://riyarts.weebly.com/

 

The Indian Artist: An Important Birthday

Good afternoon all! I hope that you are all well. The semester is coming to an end and I am really looking forward to it being over. This year has been wonderful but also so overwhelming and exhausting. I have learned more about myself than I ever have in my life and have grown more than I give myself credit for. I hope that you have all come out of your semesters stronger, happier, and more grateful.

Today I am going to talk about an important Hindu festival called Hanuman Jayanti. The story behind the deity Hanuman is beautiful and one of my absolute favorites, enjoy!

Here read this interesting story of Lord Rama and HanumanHanuman Jayanti celebrates the birthday of Hanuman and fell on Saturday, April 16th this year.  Hanuman was the son of Kesari and Anjana. He was well-known for his unwavering selflessness, service, and devotion to Lord Rama and his family, thinking of nothing else but their comfort and well-being.

Once upon a time, in the mountains of Meru, there was the great sage named Gautam. A monkey-couple, Kesari and Anjana lived nearby the ashram. Anjana was once a heavenly maiden, who was cursed and transformed into a monkey woman. She would be freed from this curse only if she gave birth to an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

Anjana was cursed one day when she was wandering the earth. She saw a monkey meditating deeply in a forest, like a holy sage. At the extraordinary sight, Anjana was unable to control her laughter. She made fun of the monkey and threw stones at it until the holy monkey lost his patience. He opened his eyes that sparkled with anger. He was a powerful holy sage who had transformed into a monkey to do his spiritual meditation. With ferocious voice he cursed her that she was to take the form of a monkey and that she will be relieved from the curse only if she gives birth to a mighty son, an incarnation of Shiva.

Anjana’s dedicated prayers and meditation to Shiva without any food or water soon gave her fruitful results. Lord Shiva was impressed with her prayers and wished to bless her with an immortal son.

In a kingdom far far away, King Dasaratha was performing a religious service to have children who would be blessed with a divine sweet by Lord Agni, the lord of fire, that was to be shared among his three wives. And Vayu, the Wind God, under the instruction of Lord Shiva carried a portion of the sweet and gave it to Anjana and blessed her. Anjana soon ate the divine sweet and instantly felt the blessing of Shiva. Vayu told her that she would soon be a mother of a son who would possess intelligence, courage, tremendous strength, speed and the power to fly. Anjana was overwhelmed with joy.

Soon Anjana gave birth to a beautiful monkey-faced child named Anjaneya (meaning ‘son of Anjana’). In that moment, Anjana was released from her curse and returned back to heaven. Hanuman’s father took care of Anjaneya and he grew up to become a strong but mischievous young boy. Anjaneya has been called by many names such as Hanuman, Maruti, Pawanputra and more. He played an important role in Ramayana, the greatest epic in Hindu Mythology.

Hanuman Jayanti celebrates the incredible Hanuman, his endless devotion, and marvelous qualities.

https://www.apnisanskriti.com/story/birth-story-of-hanuman-747

 

As always, if anything that I discussed in this post stands out, or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!

Looking forward to next Sunday!

 

~ Riya

 

Instagram: @riya_aggarwal.art

Personal website:   https://riyarts.weebly.com/

The Indian Artist: Henna Artist to the Stars

Good morning everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. Hopefully this beautiful weather that we are having is here to stay, but knowing Michigan, we could get snow tomorrow!

I have written about a few different traditional-medium artists that inspire me. I thought that it would only be right to write about a wonderful Indian henna artist. Neha Assar is a Los Angeles project engineer in the oil and gas industry by day and a henna artist by night. I respect her so much as she was able to find a healthy balance working as a professional henna artist on the side while focusing on her full-time career in engineering.

The process of applying bridal henna takes anywhere from five to nine hours depending on whether the design moves up to the elbows up past the biceps. Generally, bridal henna includes adorning both sides of the arms as well as the tops of the feet. Assar’s artistic inspirations include patterns in nature, Rajasthani art, and world architecture. She’s even taken inspiration from the shape of a tree, she said.

As explained in an article with NBC News, Assar has applied henna on approximately 1,000 brides. Most recently, her work has been modeled during L.A. Fashion Week, where she designed a sari blouse on a nude model which took approximately three hours to complete. She has also created henna crowns for cancer patients which is a beautiful application of this Indian art form used in a way that gives other people peace and joy.

Henna is a beautiful form of art that Neha Assar is working to bring to the spotlight. Having done mehndi on celebrities like Rihanna and Shay Mitchell, Neha has earned her title as the “Henna artist for the Stars”. I have attached her links below as well as the article with NBC.

https://www.instagram.com/nehaassar/

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/neha-assar-henna-artist-stars-n662226

As always, if anything that I discussed in this post stands out, or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!

Looking forward to next Sunday!

 

~ Riya

 

Instagram: @riya_aggarwal.art

Personal website:   https://riyarts.weebly.com/

The Indian Artist: Thoughts on Formal Art Education

Good afternoon everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. With the semester coming to an end I decided that I wanted to reflect a little bit on my first time taking a formal collegiate art course. I am doing a minor in Art & Design through STAMPS and this was my first semester being able to take a course.

I am finishing up ARTDES 105: Drawing Visualization. Seeing at is a foundational course, I did not expect to be challenged as I would be in a higher level course. I don’t think that I came out of the course learning much; however, I truly appreciate having time carved out of my week to devote to drawing. I found that once I started college, with the plethora of pre-medical courses, it was very difficult for me to prioritize my art and even more difficult to justify taking time away from my studies to paint or draw. Taking an art course has forced me to make my passion more of a priority and I have seen a massive shift in my mental health and state of mind since I started.

The majority of the first few weeks of the course was working exclusively with simple shapes (conical forms, ellipses, rectilinear planes, etc.), learning about perspective and foreshortening, and introducing composition. Nothing was new to me and I was quite comfortable with all of the concepts. However, I do think that I have learned how to be a little looser with my rendering. As someone who has done tightly rendered conceptual art for as long as I can remember, it was difficult to learn how to convey ideas with fewer strokes and details. We were encouraged to be brief with the rendering stages of our projects, and I truly believe this has helped me to become more perceptive of what details and forms are necessary to convey ideas to a viewer. This has aided me in forming a deeper relationship with my own art.

Overall, I do see value in obtaining some level of formal art instruction. Having been on my own until now, teaching myself by watching videos and observing others’ artwork, I look forward to being taught by professionals in the field of art, gaining new perspectives, and hopefully learning new techniques and methods. However, I am a true believer that a formal education in art is by no means necessary to becoming a successful artist and creator.

What are your thoughts on formal art education? As always if anything that I discussed in this post stands out, or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!

 

Looking forward to next Monday!

 

~ Riya

Instagram: @riya_aggarwal.art

Personal website:   https://riyarts.weebly.com/

The Indian Artist: The Art in Teaching

Good afternoon everybody! I hope that you all are doing well! I had a wonderful weekend that I wanted to share with you all. Yesterday was Holi, the Festival of Colors, my absolutely favorite Hindu festival. We all get together, wear white, and play tag with colorful powder, adorning each other in beautiful hues of pink, orange, yellow, blue, red, and more. If you are interested in reading more about Holi check out my post here! If you are interested in seeing the art piece that I did commemorating the euphoric holiday of Holi, click here!

In this post, I wanted to share something else besides Holi. A few weeks back, I was presented with a beautiful opportunity. I was hired by the Ypsilanti Public Library to demonstrate and teach young kids and families how to make Rangoli. Rangoli is the art of adorning pavements and house floors with colored powder or fine colored sand. Traditionally, during holidays, homes and temples are decorated with beautiful mandalas. Generally, natural and pure products are used to create these beautiful designs. When I did Rangoli this time, I used fine colored sand in squeeze bottles to make intricate designs. We decided this could be the best form of creating the Rangoli because it is easy to handle by children.

This was a really wonderful day. I demonstrated how Rangoli is made, creating original designs on the floor of the library. Kids watched and then were allowed to go wild, using the bright colors to create their own abstract and wonderful creations. The kids, of all ages ranging from toddlers to pre-teens, were very sweet, loved learning about the history of Rangoli, and created their own wonderful art!

I really enjoyed this opportunity and sharing it with you all. As always, if anything that I discussed in this post stands out, or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!

Looking forward to next Sunday!

 

~ Riya

 

Instagram: @riya_aggarwal.art

Personal website:   https://riyarts.weebly.com/

The Indian Artist: A Wonderful Night of Art

Happy Monday everybody! I hope that you are all doing well and had a restful weekend. Last Friday, March 10th I had the incredible opportunity to be a featured artist for the MA:E x Stamps Gallery. This took place in the Rogel Ballroom at the Michigan Union from 6-8 pm and was a wonderful night of art and company.

I was approached by MA:E Magazine to be a featured artist for this event which was in commemoration of AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Heritage Awareness Month. At this gallery I showcased my portfolio as it pertains to my journey of accepting and finding pride within my identity and culture.

Growing up in primarily Caucasian society, and over time, veering away from the strict traditions of my culture, I have found myself torn between following in the footsteps of my ancestors and creating my own path. This is an aspect that I choose to discuss heavily through my art, the culture that I was born with versus the culture that I have grown up amongst, and the difficulties that come with being pulled constantly in different directions. As time has gone on, I have come to find solace in my culture while continuing on my own self-made journey. I have chosen to accept the traditional parts of the Indian lifestyle as another part of the beautiful culture. However, now I choose what I want to be a part of my story. 

Through my art I demonstrate this initial internal battle and then my road to pride within my heritage. Starting in 2019 when I created “Modern Brahma” to now, shortly after finishing “The Festival of Colors”, I depict a clear shift in my tone and attitude towards my upbringing and shine a new light on who I am within my culture. From starting off as resentful towards my heritage, which I demonstrate in some aspects of “Modern Dhulan” and “Modern Brahma” to now when I have found pride and my own identity within my culture. I show this is the countenance of “The Festival of Colors” and “Govardhan” which shows a prominent religious scene in Hindu scripture and is a recreation of a wonderful painting by Bijay Biswaal, an incredible Indian artist. “True To My Roots” is a bridging piece, depicting my fight to be true to myself and pull away from anything and anyone trying to hold me back. 

For anybody that happened to be at the event, thank you so much for attending. It was a wonderful experience. We had some wonderful speakers share their own experiences as Asian Americans and round out the event in a wholesome and beautiful way.

As always if anything that I discussed in this post stands out, or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!

 

Looking forward to next Monday!

 

~ Riya

Instagram: @riya_aggarwal.art

Personal website:   https://riyarts.weebly.com/