Art means different things to different people. There are many photographers, musicians, painters, home decorators who call themselves artists, and rightly so. But this doesn’t make art an exclusive club. Anyone with the talent and dedication can create compelling art. Turning talent into a career, however, is a different story.
There are a few rising stars, however, who are striving to end the “it’s not stable”, “it won’t work” notion. They have figured out ways to make art and make money. These artists are developing low cost business models around their talents and are part of a growing movement that encourages aspirants to follow their heart and use their talent to make a living. Most use social media like Facebook and other virtual platforms to market their products.
Rithika Kumar, painter and founder of Pyjama Party, an outfit selling exclusive and customised hand-painted home décor, is one such example. “Pyjama Party started as self expression” says Kumar, “it is something I enjoy and love doing and am emotionally invested in.” But is being emotionally attached to something you love enough? “The key is to keep at it and experiment,” she suggests.
Practice only improves your chances of getting better. “Every time you’re done with an order you should feel like its a little part of you. Give every piece your very best and the money will flow in automatically,” she advises.
Being self employed can be rewarding, but it’s not all fun and games. “Bringing discipline into my daily routine is the biggest challenge; it calls for focus and being able to prioritise,” she warns. You are what you are passionate about and that’s what makes you unique. “To be extraordinary one must be able to express it from within and with passion.”
Passion is what drives nail artist Sakshi Kastiya, founder, Sakshi Kastiya’s Nail Art. She says, “Every client I meet is different and I aim at depicting/expressing it through their nails.” She began her journey in class VIII when she found a DIY book on nail art and started painting her own nails and that of her friends and relatives as a hobby. The hobby soon grew into an addiction. “It grew to something bigger in my life, my passion. It was a stress buster, a mood lifter,” she says adding that nail art taught her how to read each individual’s unique personality and express it through paint.
Art is happiness, it colours one’s life and soul. “When you know that you’ve made a woman more confident by painting her nails it inspires you. The smile that you see on your client’s face when she can’t stop adoring her nails is priceless,” Kastiya exclaims. One however, needs to keep up to date with the various designs and new methods. “If you fail to do so, people may turn to other things and you’re bound to die in this industry,” she warns. For Stefan Fernandes, founder, Shoe-U, a brand that offers hand painted designs on old and new shoes, coming up with new ideas is the biggest test. “When you do something you love, the element of boredom will never arise,” he quips.
Fernandes was blown away the moment he saw the work done by one of the artist at a shoe painting workshop conducted at a college fest in Goa. “I never had any training as such but I wanted to do something unique and creative, so I started with simple designs for myself and a few friends,” he says. Soon this part time passion turned into a possible career when he created Shoe-U.
“First, I thought of a catchy name and a tag line then I made my page of Facebook and soon orders started to flow in.” he says. However, the reward of following one’s passion takes time. “It’s never too certain, the pay solely depends on the orders,” says Fernandes. Tattoo artist Al Alva, founder, Als Tattoo Studio, which offers tattoo body art, believes that pay prospects in any career depends upon the clients and also on one’s own experience. “People prefer going to artists that are more experienced as it is a safer bet and training adds to it,” he says. However, when it comes to passion, money is not a worry. “If you are content you will do a good job which will lead you to becoming a brand that the world is ready to pay any amount for,” observes Alva. Alva’s romance with tattooing started when he was a kid. He used to watch artist inking into other people’s skin and “that’s when I got the idea and tried experimenting with a guitar string on my brother,” he laughs. His mother however, didn’t approve of it as she believed that people who have a lot of money and prefer not working become tattoo artists. Jamming needles into other people’s skins is not a joke. “I realised that I needed some kind of training as I didn’t want to damage anyone’s skin or tissues. So I headed to Amsterdam for professional training,” he recalls.
Inking someone is not like paint, it cannot be washed away. There’s no erasing or using a new page. “A tattoo artist needs to have a steady hand to get the design right and it is a big commitment, so it’s always better to give your own inputs and suggestions so you’re comfortable with it,” suggests Alva.