Riddhi works largely on Madhubani, a traditional Indian art form practised by locals of the regions it originates. Her themes are deeply influenced by her roots, culture and childhood memories, expressing loudly with vivid colours on canvas her inner emotions, thoughts and feelings.
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions Riddhi, firstly... where and when did your artistic journey start?
My journey began early as a toddler, as I was happily doodling on the walls at home, much to my parent's dismay and disapproval. Before I learnt to write the alphabet I was drawing characters and landscapes and, by the age of four, I was copying illustrations in children’s books and giving shapes to my imagination. As a child I was always encouraged by my father to draw and paint, which led to me experimenting with coloured pencils, watercolours and different papers. He would then frame my artworks and put them on the walls, which boosted my confidence. As I grew older I attended weekly art classes for a year or two to learn about still life and other basic techniques. However, when I graduated into high-school and then onto college, my studies and other activities including part-time jobs occupied me fully and so there wasn't much time for art. Once I got married I restarted my art classes with a private teacher, but once again this was paused with the birth of my daughter, who took all my time. It wasn't until I moved to Bahrain in 2011 did my love for art, and the time I had for art, develop once again.
How did Bahrain influence your art?
Moving to Bahrain was the changing point of my life because moving away from my own country changed the way I looked at life and other cultures and communities. I was intrigued by the many social influences here in the Kingdom, especially the many different art forms encouraged through workshops and exhibitions on the island; a rather rare confluence of art and culture where there is something being contributed by each artist on her or his own artistic journey. However, running a home and being a mother took most of my time and I still struggled at first to find some creative time again. It wasn't until I watched a YouTube video of nail art that I became fascinated with miniature artworks, and it was this unusual fascination that re-started my creative journey. I began doing art on nails and soon had a huge following on Instagram which led to international media exposure and I went onto to win many nail art competitions worldwide. From miniature art on nails I was then asked to create more mainstream art work on much larger canvases, and it wasn't long before I was back with my childhood favourites of brushes, papers and paints. I started drawing and painting every single day and started to really develop my skills.
What inspires you?
I love nature profoundly and with most of my art I try to connect the audience directly to part of our natural ambience and bountiful environment. I am a very simple person with simple thoughts and imaginations thus, with a primary colour palette and line work, my art only reflects what’s in my mind. Mostly I love to paint realistic forms and 'live' paintings, as it is more artistically challenging, although I think that I have evolved gradually to a level where I am comfortable to call myself an artist who loves to paint anything and everything with no specific genre. I am happy to paint any subject with any medium of my choice as long as I enjoy the process passionately. I work mostly with acrylics, watercolours, coloured pencils, pastels and Copic markers, but I keep away from oils as they could be a safety hazard to my daughter who is asthmatic, and to my three year-old bunny Murphy and dog Popcorn.
Tell me about Madhubani
Madhubani district is one of the thirty-eight districts of Bihar state, India. Madhubani is a traditional art form practised by locals of the region. Locally painting is done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments, and is characterised by bright, eye-catching geometrical patterns. Presently I have committed myself to work largely on this form of art, but incorporating newer, more modern concepts, colour palettes and methods while keeping the actual traditional art style alive.
The process is very time consuming, which initially involves the black and white phase where fine lines are drawn with black paint and a superfine brush, and then each area is filled with bright acrylic colours, followed by coats of varnish. Depending upon the amount of intricate detailing, The process can take weeks, or even months to perfect. It is my sincere efforts to reintroduce this art form to larger global audience and a newer generation who can more easily relate to and be interested in traditional arts.
My themes with Madhubani are deeply influenced by my roots, culture, and childhood memories expressing loudly with vivid colours on canvas my inner emotions, thoughts and feelings, and family, friends, relatives and art admirers have always encouraged me with their immense positive vibes throughout this journey, My art has been bought by collectors from different age groups, culture and countries around the world including the US, New Zealand, Australia, India and in the UK, and I know part of me lives within my paintings, wherever they are. Never could I ever have imagined that my art would reach so many places and people, and on display on walls in rooms and offices around the world. My art has seen more of the world than me!
What are your plans for the future?
The time ahead is going to be both challenging and interesting as I am presenting my art on different forms of merchandises, while continuing to explore and discover my own potential as an artist who creates art. Also, I aspire to become an illustrator for merchandise and books, for which I am currently undergoing formal education from a number of top art designers. I have promised my daughter that I will leave her a legacy of artworks to fill her life too. Through my art I plan to reach more people of all ages, cultures and places and to encourage my daughter’s generation to treat everyone with kindness and acceptance. This is my biggest motivation for creating more and more art and also because there is nothing else I can do better!
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