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An artist’s real motivators are highly personal, believes Saheli. She refers to them as an internal process of “little breakthroughs” towards stylistic improvements and maturity of work. But, Saheli experienced the power of external validation early in her artistic career.
“[It] was before I did any kind of promotion of my work. All I had was a blog.” In those early years of her artistic endeavor, Saheli sold her first painting online, even before she had taken herself seriously as an artist.
“To think that someone from across the world would find my work online and would want to spend money on it, suddenly made me respect my work more.”
Crusade for Mental Health
Psychology and the understanding of the human mind have always remained at the center of Saheli’s Art.
“Even when I am making a portrait or expressing something technical or intellectual, I am always trying to get inside the skin of the being,” says Saheli.
The next horizon is to make her art meaningful and contribute back to the community. She is working actively for causes she believes in and to “change perceptions and create a more inclusive kind of consciousness in the viewers.”
Saheli’s project MHIllustrated is a step in that direction. Saheli’s close brush with Mental Health exposed the lack of understanding among patients and caregivers of mental illnesses. She realized that unaffected people have very little information and awareness about mental health. So, Saheli has set forth in trying to create illustrative pieces that go beyond jargonizing psychology and enable easier understanding of the matter.
“What I am trying to do is create personal artifacts that grab the attention of non-mental health practitioners, help them empathize and understand a particular mental health concept, and then connect them to other already available useful sources of information”
A Better Place for You and for Me
Saheli feels strongly that the world, at large, is suffering from a “growing sense of wariness and mistrust of otherness”, a cause she is keen to take up in her future projects. She hopes to find a way to demonstrate the similarities that tie the human race together, despite the superficial differences.
“I hope that my art can counter hatred, without being preachy,” says the young activist.
A Word of Encouragement
For those who are impassioned by art but weary of the financial viability in its pursuit, Saheli has some practical advice.
“Firstly, when art really grips you, you don’t have the choice to leave; you have to keep doing it. Secondly, it doesn’t have to be the only source of income for you. So many famous artists have juggled their art with day-jobs. The important thing is to find a way to keep doing it. It sounds really simple; but it really is the most important thing, kinda like what Neil Gaiman said in his “Make Good Art” speech.”
Saheli believes that persistent, quality work can never go unnoticed. She advises those in pursuit of success to make a schedule of sending work out to possible patrons – either through social media or more traditional channels.
“If you do that constantly and do that well, I believe that it has to bring some fruit,” remarks the artist.
An Ode to the Pioneers
As we wind down, Saheli closes with a humble ode to those who paved the way for her.
“I keep telling myself how lucky I am to be woman artist in 2015, instead of in 1915. And I owe it to all the women artists of 1915, to use each and every resources and opportunities that I have (and that they didn’t) to advance my goals.”
Team Blank Slate thanks Saheli Khastagir for her time and wishes her all the very best in her amazing journey. You can check out Saheli’s art and other creative pursuits at www.sahelikhastagir.com.
Are you excited by her work and her journey? Do you have any questions for Saheli? Write to us at email@example.com
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