A&F Conversations: Hansika Sharma, textile designer and artist

Blue is indeed the warmest color for textile designer and artist Hansika Sharma. Hansika, who wanted to be an artist ever since she was a kid, reached her destination through a slightly meandering path which involved working as a visual merchandiser and stylist. Art is now a way of meditation and a way of life for her, and blue (indigo, to be precise) is her signature color. We speak to Hansika about the importance of Indigo in her work and her other inspirations.

Your love for textile and its hint in your work comes from your textile design background. Could you tell us a bit about how you landed in textile design?

To be honest, when I was in high school, I wasn’t doing so great at studies and had an extremely low self-esteem. However, I found myself constantly making something – either copying Van Gogh’s flowers or just painting a landscape. As I started paying more attention to this, I realized that the colors and the business of patterns excite me the most.

Then when I was looking for colleges for my further education, I figured that I was really interested in the complexity of how textiles are made. By this time, textile art was something I had started following. I knew that I was not going to be a designer from the very beginning, but I wanted to learn hands-on about how this amazing world of textile is created. I wanted to learn the tools that I can use in my art. And that’s how I ended up graduating from NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology), specializing in textile design.

And then, how did you transition from that space to art? 

I have a very vivid memory of me and my father painting and listening to old Hindi songs when I was a kid. And in that moment, I kind of knew in my heart that art is what I want to do and this was the seed I planted in my heart. But as I grew up and went to college, I got into the hustle of getting a job and working 9 to 5. I have worked as a visual merchandiser and stylist for one of the leading furniture brands. But all this while, I couldn’t connect with my inner self, and that job didn’t give me any satisfaction or soulfulness.

And then there was a voice in me that told me that it’s time to stop and do what you dreamt of as a child. So I quit my job in August 2016 and took art up seriously. And now I am doing it full-time, not as a hobby but as a living. It’s a way of life for me now.

Aligned

Of course, Indigo color is the signature aspect of your work. What are some of your earliest memories associated with this color, and how did it end up becoming such an important part of your work? 

I have been trying to explore and develop my style for more than ten years now. My early canvases, unlike the current ones, are extremely colorful and figurative. Apart from canvases, I used to have small sketch files in which I doodled patterns in black and white. This was actually my way to meditate and clear my head. And then I realized that this was my natural way of expression, and what I was doing with colors and figures was more like lifeless canvases in that moment.

And as I said before, my work style has come to me as meditation practice. I had this color for my soul – I always imagine my spirit to be extremely dark blue (indigo) in color. I close my eyes and that is the first color I see. It feels like comfort for my inner self. Even when I was studying textile design, fabrics dyed in Indigo were like magnets for me. So apart from it being my favorite color, I dug deep into it during my college years.

Atypical
Illusion

“I had this color for my soul – I always imagine my spirit to be extremely dark blue (indigo) in color. I close my eyes and that is the first color I see.”

Could you pick one particular artwork from your works featured on Art&Found, and tell us a bit about its inspiration and making?

I will pick ‘Void’. This is something that I feel very often. So there are times when everything seems fine and going along in a proper flow, but then there is this vacuum space which has zero feelings, which is the obstruction in the smooth flow. Just like a punch in the stomach when you realize that not everything is fine. There is that place inside you that keep just for yourself. That is the void. The big blue patch in the painting is the obstruction, the void.

Void

 Who are the artists around the world that you admire?

There are many. Apart from Sir Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo, I am a big fan of Yayoi Kusama, Agnes Martin and Tracy Emin.

Lastly, could you tell us a bit about some of the projects you are working on right now?

I have three exhibitions coming up this year, all with new artworks. In May and July, I have exhibitions in Ahmedabad, and in October, I am displaying some of my work at Chitra Kala Parishath in Bangalore. Apart from this, I have an ongoing collaboration with The Project Cafe in Goa. And I am currently working on this project for Liz Kamarulm, a Home Decor influencer on Instagram.

Unlike
Strength
Perception

Words by Payal Khandelwal

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