January Artist Profile – Garima Dhawan

Welcome to the very first Artist Profile for Tunns of Style.

As promised every month I will bring you the profile of an up-and-coming or established artist to delve into what makes creative people tick!

I am really excited about our very first artist – Garima Dhawan. I have been a big fan of Garima’s since stumbling across some of her work on my inaugural Society6.com visit. You may remember in my very first post I mentioned I was waiting the arrival of one of her wonderful energetic and colourful pieces! You can check out Garima’s work on Society6.com but below is a refresher of the piece I have (and love). Lucky for me Garima agreed to take some time out of creating to be profiled for Tunns of Style!

Expressions - Garima Dhawan

Expressions

Garima Dhawan 

Garima Dhawan

Now based in the epicenter of creative culture, New York, Garima grew up in a middle class family in Delhi, India and was a creative but shy child who loved to draw and paint, and wail away hours in her school art room – housing some of her fondest memories.

Having completed an undergraduate degree in Fashion Design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi and an MFA in textiles from the famous Rhode Island School of Design in the USA, Garima has honed her skills and creative voice.

“Going to RISD was a big milestone in my life because I learnt to find my own voice and use art as a medium to express my ideas and emotions, and have a dialogue through my work. It was very new and very challenging and I struggled a lot because it was an entirely new way of learning and expressing,” Garima says.

“Thanks to my professor Maria Tulokas, I graduated from RISD in 2003 with many awards and a big dream of creating beautiful and meaningful art, textiles and products.”

Over the years, Garima worked for many companies, meeting wonderful people, and learning the practical aspects of design and business with a dream to one day have her own design business as well as teach other aspiring artists. In 2006, Garima faced some very tough years in her personal life, however she looks back on the period as a blessing that forced her to answer the fundamental question of how she wanted to live her life and the immense power of prayer.

After returning to school at The Arts Students League in 2012 for printmaking, Garima made a determination to start creating work everyday based on prayer with an intention to bring peace and happiness into people’s lives and spaces through art -the result? Her amazing Society6 collection! Now she finds herself supported by family, incredible artists and friends, and faith in her own life potential.

“I used to believe that happiness was to have a life that was easy and without challenges but now I know that true happiness is to have the life force and state of mind to overcome anything and to enjoy the journey. And that it’s important to have obstacles to grow and become happy for self and others” She said.

Here is what Garima had to say when I grilled her on what makes her creative heart beat!

What are your favourite mediums to work with?

My basic idea is always very simple….bold, beautiful forms filled with space, light, breath, laughter and color. I usually start out creating forms with silkscreen or photolitho and lately have been experimenting with woodcut, linocut & etching. I then scan them in and play around with them in Photoshop…so it’s really a combination of handmade and digital. I print at The Arts Students League, New York and have a small home studio for my digital work.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on exploring beautiful forms from nature and color to tell a story. I love reading and sharing inspiring quotes and most of the times they become the starting points of work as a challenge to express them visually using simple forms and color.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love to create and I might work the whole day and I come out my studio feeling so rejuvenated and refreshed with so many ideas in my head. My prayer is to create everyday of my life and to support and encourage artists, because I feel art communicates with the heart and surpasses all language, age and cultural barriers.

What are the creative influences you have had throughout your life?

When I was doing fashion, I was really into Issey Miyake and I spent endless hours on Irving Penn’s pictures of Miyake’s clothing and the fabulous visual dialogue between the body, clothing, movement and art. At RISD, my interest was in creating space and light and a sense of peace and well being through form and color. Some of the artists I love are Dale Chihuly, Rothko, James Turrell, Hella Jongerius & Lois Greenfield. They all use different medium, but it’s so much about form, color and light pared to its simplest form to express an idea. There is something very spiritual about there work that really touches my heart.

What are the places that most inspire you?

I love living in New York and the excitement of all genres of art but my favorite thing is to be in nature and I am fortunate to have a beautiful park by the river where I can go for a walk and just be.

Do you have a favorite piece and why is it so special to you?

My favorite piece so far is Painted Pebbles 1. I love that it’s simple and yet it’s rich and I really enjoyed working on it. These were actual pebbles that I picked up on my walk and there is something so simple and delicious about the forms.

Painted Pebbles 1

Painted Pebbles 1

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I always wanted to do creative work…. I was supposed to have become a doctor but I am glad I became an artist. I am very interested in alternative healing and also spirituality but I am sure I would have fainted at the first sight of blood. I would rather have paint on my hands every day.

Favorite color?

It ranges from pinks to oranges with a lot of neutrals thrown in but I really love all colors and how they dialogue when they come together.

What’s currently on your iPod/are you listening to?

I love Sufi music and poetry and am a big fan of Nusrat fateh Ali Khan and Abida Parveen. It’s music as a celebration of self and the divine, and self as the divine based on Urdu poetry. It’s so uplifting and expansive and beautiful…something that I want to create visually…prayer through forms and color.

What’s your signature dish you cook when guests come over for dinner?

It will have to be rice and curry chicken with a salad or sautéed fresh vegetables and lot of Indian tea/chai and custard with fruits & nuts for dessert.

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