A Masters from the Harvard Graduate School of Education not only opened her eyes and mind to the way she see’s the world, it also taught her leadership to negotiate a path in an often male orientated, creative world. It also educated her about the business of art. Knowing how to plot a path to self sufficiency while staying true to the stle of art making that she loves. We recently managed an ACRYLIC SESSION with Imagine and while she was making the marks, we asked her a few questions to try and get a personal insight into her life and art. Here is what she had to say:
1) When was the moment when you decided you wanted to become full time artist and entrepreneur?
Everything happened over time. I don’t think being an artist happens simply by deciding. There are so many other factors that need to align for this to be possible. What I did decide on, was to follow my passion and started connecting the dots after that.
2) I understand you graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. How do you combine this with your art? How does the merge between these two enrich your daily life?
Yes, I received my Masters from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where I learned about leadership, technology and creativity in Education. Education is an area of interest for me because sharing, learning and teaching is so important to create better understanding in the world. Growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal, I didn’t get the best education. My teachers often felt like my bullies and I was convinced that I was a dumb kid. Good education should do the opposite. Children should be encouraged to see the world with limitless imagination. So I always wondered about how other Nepali children like me can best learn. One of the things that helped me with my education and overall development was art. And this is why I founded the Children’s Art Museum of Nepal in 2013, so that children growing up in Nepal like me have a place where they can express themselves creatively. So…long story short, Education is a big part of who I am as a person. My art is a visual representation of my voice. My voice comes from my understanding of the world and academia helps me inform my thoughts. Education and development issues are close to my heart because I know about these from first hand experience growing up in a poor country. So I find it’s important to learn about them and understand them beyond just my experience.
3) What do you think is role of the artists in our society nowadays and specially urban artists?
I think the role of artists is to make people see things differently than they would otherwise. I see my role as beautifying spaces by sharing my culture and native language through my art. Learning about a world different than yours, can improve your understanding of the world.
The path of a female, Nepali artist
4) What does Montana Cans represent to you? — specially the acrylic markers and inks for calligraphy.
Montana Cans represents to me a creative freedom and versatility. Montana Cans has continuously improved its product similar to a creative process where iteration is a big part of the finished product. I love the chisel tip acrylic markers because it’s great to use it for my handstyle. The ink flows well and is super opaque. My work is heavily influenced by my culture and my native language. Being born and raised in Nepal, I take rituals, philosophies and especially colors from my Hindu-Buddhist up bringing. Color is so important to my work and Montana Cans provides a range of colors that resonate with me. (Favorite color is Royal Red) Another thing is that Montana Cans products are still not fully available in Nepal so I see it as a privilege I have earned to regularly use high quality products that I didn’t have around me as a young kid.
5) Do you have any special projects that you have been involved with recently that you want to tell us about?
I recently painted for POW!WOW! Nepal, which very special. I have had a lot of fun painting twice at POW!WOW! Worcester so I was very much looking forward for POW!WOW! Nepal because it was in my hometown of Kathmandu where I grew up! It was amazing traveling back to my hometown of Kathmandu for POW!WOW! Nepal, and I was so thankful for the opportunity. It was my two very different worlds coming together and I can’t think of a more cathartic life experience. Like… when have I ever painted a wall where I’m with all these amazing international artists, but also have my people speaking my native language around me? And I also have my best friend and my MOM watch me paint??? My street art and mural world that largely lives in the United States, met with my world in Nepal that I grew up in. I am not sure if I am able to express to you how amazing this is for a Nepali kid to experience this. My world is so big and so small at the same time. I am forever grateful for art making this possible in my life…I made sure to take time to take it all in, each and everyday. Right now I’m painting a building for the Harvard-Sparked space called “Zone 3”, on Western Ave in Allston. During my time at Harvard, I spent a lot of time at the Harvard Innovations Lab at the Harvard Business School, so coming back to paint something for this area means a lot to me.
6) As a woman, what are the difficulties you have faced in the street art/ urban art scene? How do you think women and men should face these together and create awareness for everyone else, so there’s a possibility of sorority and equality for the future generations of artists?
I think as a woman, there are difficulties to navigate through the art world and street art isn’t any different. I think women should face them in a way they would approach any other sort of work, stand your ground, be confident and have an undeniable work ethic. Women supporting other women is also a powerful thing and I feel lucky to be part of Few and Far Crew, where we do just this.
7) What are your up and coming projects? What’s next in the career path of IMAGINE?
My future plans is to continue pursuing my art career. I am excited to announce my first solo show in the United States is happening in October at the Distillery Gallery. In the fall, I am also starting another prestigious artist residency with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which I am very, very excited for. It’s another opportunity for me to create more work and share it with this city that I love so much. I will continue making my way into galleries across the country and paint as many walls as I can! I am also working on designing the Visiting Artist Program at Harvard’s South Asia Institute so I can’t wait to share it with everybody.