Anoushka Mirchandani is a female artist living in San Francisco. Born and raised in Pune, India, Anoushka moved to the United States when she was 18 years old. Her artworks are informed both by her cultural upbringing in India, and her personal discoveries and growth in the United States. Anoushka works across multiple media to create figurative artworks that embody the emotions of what it feels like to be a woman in society today. Her artworks are inspired by her patchwork identity; that of being Indian, being an immigrant, being an other, being an American, being a woman, and being an artist. In 2017 and 2018, Anoushka was selected as a showcase visual artist for Kearny Street Workshop, the oldest Asian Pacific American multidisciplinary arts organization in the US. She was also selected to show her work at CA State Senator, Scott Wiener’s public offices, has shown her work in various galleries in San Francisco, and is in private collections across the U.S and India. Anoushka's debut solo show opened on August 29th in San Francisco at Glass Rice and is on view till Sept 26th.
What hurdles have you overcome this year and how have they affected your art practice?
For me, 2019 was full of experimentation, inspiration and observation. 2020 thus far has been focused on action, isolation and dedicated creation. I have definitely overcome some tendencies towards escapism, and dismantled some self-imposed limitations of what I want my artwork to convey. In this same vein, my artwork has evolved immensely this year. With the ability to focus so intensely on my practice, I have a newfound sense of confidence with the development of my work -- I have pushed creative boundaries, and found more freedom in the creation process without the fear of failure, but rather with the expectation of failure, and foresight of the lessons it would provide.
How has your art practice been affected by the pandemic?
The majority of my latest collection for my solo show, Note to Self, which is currently on view till September 26th, was created in quarantine during the pandemic. The socio-political and cultural environment of 2020 thus far has played a pivotal role in the co-creation of my current body of work. The collection comprises a series of figurative and abstract works all of which draw on fragments of memories, hopes for the future, and emotions born of my experiences and sensations as a woman on her own path of self-discovery. The artworks therefore remind us of our internal narratives of change during this time, and the emotions we all experience -- longing, nostalgia, reflection etc, all of which seem so heightened right now ironically, given that they feel so out of reach and displaced. The pandemic as a result forced me to look inward, confront my emotions, try to capture them through my art instead of escaping their weight.
What support systems have you put in place to help keep your practice thriving amidst these unforeseeable circumstances?
I feel very grateful in a sense to be an artist during these unprecedented times. I can get to work, and focus 100% on channeling the circumstances around me, and the emotions they bring up directly into my art practice. On the other hand, the lack of certainty, fear of the unknown and despair are a constant struggle and I have been able to navigate this with help from my friends, and family. Having a very focused goal of my debut solo show which opened August 29th, was also a huge motivator in keeping up my momentum in my art studio.
What methods do you employ to stay resilient in your art practice? What tips would you recommend to other artists who find staying resilient difficult?
Staying resilient is a critical learning for artists, as we encounter failure on a regular basis, and have to dust ourselves off, and keep moving forward. For me personally, it’s about trying to stay optimistic, not losing sight of the big picture, and finding satisfaction and fulfillment in the journey itself. In my experience, setting up a routine, and structure to keep the process of creating going despite facing a setback has been very beneficial for me. Having a painting on my easel to continuously go back to the in the face of rejection allows me to continue moving, and maintain perspective.
What have you learned about yourself as an artist this year?
This year has been instrumental in my journey as an artist. I have learned so much about my capacity for working hard, setting goals, and building structure into my life. Additionally, I have also encountered deeply my desire for balance and sustainability in my life. Finding a way to temper the creative, almost manic flow with self-care, time-off, space and nurturing. I have also pleasantly surprised by the rapid pace of the evolution of my artwork this year, and so much of this momentum is also a directly result of deeper internal reflection, and then corresponding time spent in the studio. It's been a great lesson in believing in the journey.
Find Anoushka Mirchandani on Instagram