Perhaps there is a reason why she calls herself an ‘artivist’. Anjali Chandrashekar, a 22-year-old artist and product designer who has been getting noticed for her captivating work is a firm believer of art as a medium of starting a dialogue.
Like, her painting ‘Happy birthday to me’ which depicts the bane of peer pressure that got youngsters talking about ill-effects of smoking — giving a message out loud that that everybody has a choice to live a healthy lifestyle.
Another such work is ‘Breathe in, breathe out,’ a painting that sprung out of her fascination of breathing, which is such an easy task in contrast to the complex human body.
This piece made it to the EcoHealth 2014 Conference’s art competition, as she efficiently drew a parallel between ecology and human health.
Hailing from a family of engineers, Anjali said that she was raised with the freedom to find her own passion. “I tried many things as a child and took my time to try and figure out what I loved doing the most — and that was when art happened to me. I have always been experimental with different mediums and styles. I loved painting, but found myself intrigued by the three-dimensional forms,” she says.
After finishing her schooling in the city, she headed to New York to study at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she realised her passion for creating tangible objects through physical and digital mediums — this led her to major in industrial design.
“At Pratt I was exposed to a vast world of visual languages, from understanding space to concepts of line, plane and volume and how they can translate into products. This coupled with my fine art experience challenged my design thinking and helped me formulate my thoughts both objectively and in an abstract manner,” she adds.
Her speech on climate change and biodiversity for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) gained her global recognition, while talking about the role of art and design in change at the World Economic Forum at the age of 17, is something that she will always look back on.
Speaking about a product of hers that’s closest to her heart, Anjali shares, “I love to play with different materials and elements of surprise, like the Trillusion chair I designed.
It’s a two dimensional planar piece of furniture that uses the corner of a room, while giving the illusion of a solid object in space.” But when it comes to making art for campaigns, she thinks about universal languages and symbolism that art can take advantage of. “I’m a committed minimalist when it comes to my style and echo the ‘less is more’ ideology,” she explains, adding, “I am obsessed with colour and believe that it has a huge impact on the way we see and consume imagery. As for the themes I work on, they vary depending on what campaign I am working on.”
When we ask her about what art means to her, she says, “A large part of my identity is the artist in me but I’m just starting to embark on my journey as a professional designer and that is very exciting. Since social activism will always be a large part of what I do, I hope to translate this passion into creating products that change lives on a deeper level. I enjoy both these sides of me and I can’t say I’m one or the other. My hands are my most precious tools — I love getting lost into the process of creation. I miss that, now that I have graduated but I’m looking to perhaps find a studio here soon!” she says with a smile.
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