Bengaluru-based artist Anushka Kalro talks about her work, inspiration and role models
Even as a child, a choice of career was no head scratcher for Anushka Kalro. “I always knew I would do something creative, working with my hands,” says the Bengaluru-based artist.Having grown up in Valley School outside of Bengaluru, Anushka spent a lot of time with Nature, sketching and working on artsy projects. “I believe that is why there is a lot of Nature and its patterns in my work. I pretty much knew in Class VIII that I would be going to art school after I finished high school.”Apart from a creative streak, Anushka, now 31, also possessed an entrepreneurial bent. “I began to work with women entrepreneurs, helping them with their brand design and positioning their innately Indian brands online,” she adds.Proud to be feminineWhether working on a commercial illustration to package Ayurvedic wellness or with a classical dancer who wanted to project art in the background whilst her dancers performed on a global stage, Anushka says the underlying impetus to her work, irrespective of the project, was transforming something essentially Indian into a consumable, contemporary product. Whatever the medium she works with — ink on paper or creating digital art — Anushka’s primary clientele remains proud Indian women.“I enjoy working with women. I feel their challenges are more interesting and their lives more complex,” she says, crediting the strong women role models of her childhood for imbuing her with this particular work ethic. She adds: “I tend to invest or immerse myself in their life story and their vision while conceptualising the end product they are looking for.”“I’ve always been blessed to be surrounded by women who enabled me to be me. I had this fantastic Chemistry teacher who encouraged us to draw the trees instead of sitting in class. And of course, my mother and grandmother. These were powerful women in my life and what they did has also translated into what I do.”Even with the launch of an online print shop where one can churn out copies by the dozen, Anushka believes in keeping things simple, with just a few prints of every piece she creates. “I usually fashion pieces based on requests and keeping in mind a particular memory of a client. Even when it comes to my original art, there are limited pieces as I feel they will resonate with only a few people,” she says.Anushka believes that while the form she chooses ties it all together, her work stems from an emotional response to her experiences. “A lot of my work is inspired by simple things,” she notes, recounting how her black and white digital sketch of a mortar and pestle brimming with spices, is reminiscent of time spent in her grandmother’s kitchen during childhood summer breaks.“She taught me to cook quite early and it empowered me to understand balance and flavours which is typical of wholesome Indian food,” she says, adding, “Another piece I enjoyed was giving the ‘kalasha’ (used in pujas)a Mughal interpretation. Then, there is also a contextual one, of how a heart would look like if it was lost in Nature.”Her upcoming book, Dekho Magar Pyaar Se, in collaboration with photographer Sanket Patel, is a journal to help users curate moments of kindness, reflection, nostalgia and memories. “We both believe in slowing down for the moment, and savouring a sense of pause. There is a kindness in just doing nothing in that moment of wonder,” she adds.
Blank spaces, photos, and illustrations one can colour in make up the book.While her current work all are one of a kind, her next collection is inspired by the moon and will most likely be ready by Deepavali 2021.With prices starting from ₹7,500, Anushka’s art can be viewed on anushkakalro.com and on her social media pages