Updated: Mar 24
Ishika Guha is an abstract artist located in London, who by use of blissful colours and a variety of forms, talks about her inner experiences. She does not need words to express a huge range of emotions. Ishika masterfully translates the poetry of feelings into expressive vibrating paintings.
In this exclusive interview with the artist we talk about how to transform powerful poetry and music into mesmerizing works of art, how to resonate with the viewer's emotional perception, how to choose a title for artworks that engages your audience, shape your Instagram community to support and inspire new ideas in your art.
Yuliana Arles: Wassily Kandinsky compared abstract art with music, which with the help of colour and a variety of forms, purposefully makes the human soul vibrate. In your work, do you also strive to influence the emotional perception of the viewer, or is abstract art more serving to express your personal emotional and mental states?
Ishika Guha: That is a brilliant question Yuliana! Thank you so much! Yes, my art is all about expressing my own personal and emotional experiences. I am a self-taught artist; I work spontaneously and mainly for myself! It is nothing but a joyful ride for me that enlightens me as a human being and can be profoundly moving for me at times. It is something that heals me personally, gives me hope for my future and makes me feel free!
My creativity makes me complete. I am never myself without my colours. The best of me, the happiest of me, is when I am painting and expressing all those intense emotions trapped inside me. Sometimes I paint only for the very reason people want to talk – to communicate! My vibrant colours become my voice when nothing else works.
Yuliana Arles: Why did you choose expressive abstractionism from all directions in painting?
Ishika Guha: My abstracts chose me! They came naturally to me; I didn't have to try hard! Expressive abstractionism is my comfort zone from the very beginning. It gives me freedom, gives me wings- I just feel at home! It unlocks all those aspects of my personality that otherwise would lie dormant inside me – silent and nebulous. My abstracts provide me with that much-needed catharsis that makes my reality bearable to me. No other directions in painting felt that home for me, so I just kept doing what I love doing most- creating a lot of abstract expressionism pieces!
Yuliana Arles: Can you tell us how you made your first piece of artwork? What prompted you to create it?
Ishika Guha: I love colours, and from my childhood, I have been splashing colours all over, scribbling- painting what not! It was always there with me. But I never took it too seriously until recently, especially since these lockdowns started, and I had to be home bound for weeks! I had nothing left but to paint, and yes, I loved it! So, my first artwork dates back to my childhood days, and it is only my strong passion for colours that keep me going for more splashes, splodges, or simply the joy of playing with paints!
Yuliana Arles: Looking at your work, the viewer can not stop wondering at the incredible harmonious combination of colours, completeness of the composition and the texture of your paintings which resembles the creation of nature itself. How did you learn the art of picking and matching colours? What materials do you use to create your work?
Ishika Guha: I do not have any specific art rituals. My art process is very spontaneous, and all my artworks are mainly concentrated on abstract expressive mixed media (oil and acrylic) that are deeply reflective, and they actually fly beyond the borders of my canvases. I love to explore the spontaneity of mixed media, and the whole process is rather playfully adventurous to me. My passion drives the whole process and I just sit with my whole bunch of colours staring at them until they call me- rather than I pick them! Often my subconscious mind takes over, and the process feels very liberating to me. I forget my present and dive into my own world of blissful colours.
Mixed media is always my thing, mainly acrylic and oil. Sometimes I use watercolour tubes as well, but not always. I do wet on dry methods and layers- it's layer after layer, they create the texture for me—all very experimental, as I am self-taught. I do what I feel like, no plans, no rules whatsoever. This world is so full of rules, so I find my own freedom through my art journey!
Yuliana Arles: Sing Me a Rainbow, Blueberry Memoirs, La La Life, how do the titles of your artwork appear? When you are giving a name to your paintings, do you aim to spark the viewer's imagination to find certain analogies?
Ishika Guha: My artworks are heavily inspired by music and poetry. It also has stories from my life, my own traumas or happy memories. I always choose the titles after finishing the paintings; I keep staring at them until I come up with the appropriate words that match the painting itself. Sometimes they are very spontaneous, random words that jump out from nowhere; sometimes they are inspired by different songs that might have inspired the whole painting, or sometimes they are inspired by poetries that rock my world somehow.
Much of my artwork is heavily inspired by Charles Bukowski, Ogden Nash, Robert Frost, Rudyard Kipling, Jibanananda Das or Sylvia Plath's poems. The emotions and the messages in their powerful poems spark those butterfly feelings for me that inspire me to translate them into my own forms of poetries – my artwork. I do get a lot of positive feedback from my viewers about my titles as they often find their own analogies through my titles and colours! I absolutely love it when they do!
Yuliana Arles: The perception of abstract painting is always subjective, the viewer has the opportunity to get his own unique emotional experience. Do the audience share with you their inner experiences from the contemplation of your artwork? What emotions do they have from interacting with the paintings?
Ishika Guha: Of course, I do get emails and feedback from my viewers all the time telling me how my paintings have made them feel certain emotions! It is always fascinating to know how a simple artwork can bring out so much from within, so many memories, life stories or experiences! Many viewers tell me how they see figures or shapes, how they can relate to specific colours I used, how the colours made them feel certain ways -
I always appreciate their very kind feedback. It is an absolute joy for me to know how my colours can make them go through such emotional roller coasters!
Yuliana Arles: Which abstract artist do you follow? Have any of them influenced the development of your art?
Ishika Guha: I get inspired by many contemporary abstract artists, so many of them are from my own Instagram platform- many of them are my friends!
I love British artist Deborah Gardner’s work, she is one of my closest friends on Instagram. Her colours do inspire me a lot! I always tell her how inspirational she is for an emerging artist like me! There are others too who inspire and encourage me a lot! And if you want to know my favourite artist, that is, of course, Gerhard Richter, I absolutely love his colours, techniques and everything about his fascinating abstracts!
Yuliana Arles: Looking to the future, are you going to further develop in an abstract manner or are you planning to master other techniques and styles in art?
Ishika Guha: I have always been painting abstracts and that is my comfort zone. I feel at home doing my abstracts! So, in future as well, I hope to learn more about abstracts and keep on doing more! I am learning every day and experimenting a lot- love it!
Yuliana Arles: In the modern conditions of the rapidly developing digital space there are various possibilities for demonstrating the artist's work. Internet platforms and social networks allow you to unite lovers of your art from all over the world and thereby form your audience. According to your experience, what's the best way to make a name for yourself on the internet?
Ishika Guha: Social media is a fantastic way to promote art these days. I started uploading my works on Instagram when I was getting bored by all these lockdowns happening in London (in 2020). And it worked wonders for me! All the support I get through my Instagram page, all the love and encouragement – just mind-blowing. I feel extremely humbled and grateful. I know if you are new on Instagram or Twitter, it can be overwhelming at first. But, if you know what you are doing, it can be really fun to share, to inspire and to get inspired yourself!
I am not an expert, but I try to enjoy the journey! I believe that when you are enjoying yourself- sharing what you painted last night or showing how you painted that special artwork, your audience will sense the joy too! And they will definitely want to follow your art journey. Both my Instagram and Twitter work brilliantly for me and I can't really thank them enough!
Yuliana Arles: And at the end of our interview, what advice can you give to aspiring artists?
Ishika Guha: To any aspiring artist out there, I have only one piece of advice to give – let's keep painting more, let's keep dreaming even more, don't ever stop!
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Ishika Guha official website - ishikaguha.com
Instagram - bit.ly/ishika_guha_instagram
LinkedIn - bit.ly/ishika_guha_linkedin
Twitter - bit.ly/ishika_guha_twitter
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