“Every child is an artist; the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. This beautiful quote by Pablo Picasso is so true for most of the people who are busy in their lives ignoring their creative sides. But Vandana Krishna is someone who quit her IT job to pursue her passion for art. She believes everyone should do something creative whatever they like, it helps a person to grow. After exploring the different array of arts, she fell in love with a unique pattern art Zentangle. A Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT)Vandana Krishna talks to BananiVista about her journey as an artist and a teacher, who wants to make this stress buster art popular through her classes in Bangalore.
BV: Zentangle is not a well-known art form in India, how did you get tangled in this pattern art? What made you choose Zentangle?
Vandana: As far as I remember, I was always inclined towards drawing/sketching. About 4 years ago when I quit my full-time IT job, I wanted to start doing something creative as a means of mental relaxation. I slowly started drawing again. The internet provided a huge source of inspiration for creativity. During one of my online search on some creative topic, I chanced upon the term Zentangle and some images of it. The black ink patterns on a white paper immediately caught my attention and I browsed more about it. On the website, I found a couple, who were the only two Certified Zentangle Teachers, then, in Bengaluru. I signed up for a class with them and thus began my Zentangle journey. And I must say it has been a great journey from learning the art form to becoming a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), myself. Currently, there are just 11 CZT residing in India, 4 of whom are in Bengaluru.
BV: Can you explain to BV readers what is Zentangle?
Vandana: Zentangle® is a form of relaxed, mindful drawing method where we use structured patterns in a repetitive way to create abstract images. It is a very recent art form, founded in the early 2000s, by American couple Rick Roberts & Maria Thomas. As the founders of Zentangle put it, “The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. We call these patterns, tangles. Zentangle art is non-representational and unplanned so you can focus on each stroke and not worry about the result.” In this method, we believe there are no mistakes but only opportunities and hence we don’t use erasers while doing Zentangle art. Also, one does not need an elaborate set up of materials to do this art; all you need is a pen and a piece of paper which we call a tile.
BV: You have expressed yourself beautifully with Graphite, Charcoal, pastels, and acrylic. What is your favourite medium to paint?
Vandana: Every medium has its own qualities which need to be learnt, explored, experimented & finally be exploited as the true artists do! I love the control that one can have in the dry mediums like graphite, colour pencils, charcoal & pastels. I love acrylics for its versatility & flexibility. Though I am intimidated & still taking baby steps in watercolors, I love it for its translucent quality.
BV: For Zentangle does one need to be a natural artist or anyone can try their hand?
Vandana: I would like to put it this way, “One becomes a natural artist with Zentangle.” You need not be a trained fine-artist to create a Zentangle. If you can hold a pen & write your name, you can tangle! It brings out the hidden artist in you and it is an art form which is enjoyed across varied age groups.
BV: You are an Engineer but now are a full-time artist. Was becoming an artist your childhood dream.
Vandana: Art was always a part of growing up years in the form of drawing, craft, dance etc. My mom still recalls drawing being my favourite subject in school & that I would prepare for my drawing exam very religiously as compared to other subjects! I still vividly remember the day, during my first grade or so, my dad helping me with my drawing/colouring homework & we coloured a drawing of a rabbit, blue with red eyes! So, Yes, I think becoming an artist was always there somewhere inside me.
BV: How supportive were your family?
Vandana: I am very fortunate to have an extremely supportive family. Be it my parents or in-laws or my husband, they have always been encouraging of what I do. My husband is a huge pillar of support in all my ventures. I am also lucky to have a set of artist friends, who have become like a family; they always keep me creative & inspired!
BV: What was in your mind when you started your art page Vandana Krishna Art Studio? Was it to showcase your artwork or make Zentangle popular?
Vandana: My sole aim when I started my art page on Facebook was accountability to self; in the sense that, since I have started a page I also need to do something creative consistently, to share on it! After becoming a CZT, this page is also serving as a platform to share my upcoming workshops/courses & a way to interact with my students. If the page is making Zentangle popular then it’s an added advantage and is more than happy.
BV: It is said that Zentangle practice makes one stress-free. Is it true?
Vandana: Any form of art, be it painting, singing, dancing, writing or even exercising is a stress buster for the one who practices and enjoys it. Unlike in a traditional fine-art where a chair must look like a chair, or a landscape must have a proper perspective, etc., Zentangle is abstract where we don’t worry about perspectives or light and shade or form and one is unaware of what the finished tile looks like. This makes the entire process of tangling relaxing & stress-free. Personally, it has been a great stress buster for me and a relaxing change from the mechanical life. I urge everyone to try your hand at Zentangle to experience its benefits.
BV: You are taking art classes and making people aware of this art form. How is the response of people towards Zentangle artwork?
Vandana: The response is quite good. All my students enjoy the quality time they spend tangling. Most of them have even shared that they have experienced the said benefits of tangling like increased focus, relaxation, stress-free and such. I can say Zentangle is slowly but steadily picking up the pace as an art-form in India and I am sure it will grow in a huge way in the coming days.
BV: What is your favourite subject to draw or paint? Where did you get your inspiration?
Vandana: I believe inspiration is all around us, we just need an eye to pick it up. It can be a place you travel to, a movie you watch or even a book you read, all serve us as inspirations. More than favourite subject or what I like to draw, over the years I have slowly been discovering what I don’t like to draw. I don’t like drawing portraits, buildings. Apart from Zentangle, I enjoy painting still life, birds, flowers to name a few. But, few years down the lane this may change, because, I believe I am constantly learning & growing as an artist.
BV: Tell us about your favourite artwork which is very near to your heart?
Vandana: I love all that I create since each piece teaches me something and helps me grow as an artist.
As Henry Ward Beecher has aptly put it “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures,” each of my work has a bit of me in it & is close to my heart. But if I must pick one, it must be my black & white Zentangle inspired work titled “KALEIDOSCOPE”
BV: Any quote you believe in or follow?
Vandana: I love this quote by Andy Warhol “Don’t think about making art, just get it done! Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more Art.”
So just drawing, painting, dancing, writing or doing anything creative that one likes to, on a regular basis, consistently helps them grow not only as artists but also as a person.
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