Don’t you feel envious of people who have the ability to capture beautiful sights and memories in a tangible medium, so that they can preserve it and also share them with others? We definitely are. So whenever we meet such artists, we make sure we share their work with our readers. Meet Dina Hazarika Chowdhury, a fine artist from Assam, who creates lovely paintings on canvas and ceramic plates.
Dina Hazarika Chowdhury specializes in taking on nostalgic memory snapshots of cities and rural landscapes and transforming them into beautiful artwork.
Dina’s story starts from the culture capital of Assam, Tezpur. “I have been brought up in a nuclear family, though the essence of a big, joint family is strongly instilled in me as we never missed a family gathering at my father’s paternal home in Sibsagar,” she says. She now stays in Gurgaon, after moving into the city post marriage two years ago.
- Tell us how you arrived at this point – as an artist who is happily running her own venture from home.
Well, I explored many (career) paths before settling on this one – into the world of fine art. At one point, I wanted to become a teacher, then in mid-school, I wanted to become a model, high-school was when I wanted to become a fashion designer! I worked as a social media specialist for a very brief period in one of the start-ups in Bangalore before finally finding my calling in becoming a fine artist, six years ago. I have never looked back since then.
- How and when did you pick up painting?
One fine day, I just felt this urge to do something creative so I bought a couple of acrylic and fabric paints to paint the entrance of our house with a bright tulip painting covering the entire door. That was the dawn of the artist in me. When I left Bangalore, the house owner decided to keep the painting on the door and not repaint it. I consider that as my first instance of appreciation as an artist.
- When did your passion turn into a full-fledged venture/business?
After my first tryst with painting, I was totally hooked. Soon I started buying small canvases, some paint and posted the artwork on my Facebook. Gradually people started noticing my work and very soon, they were offering to buy them. Then word spread through my friends and acquaintances and I began receiving orders.
The biggest validation came when one of my friends, who was a committee member of the Assam Association of Bangalore suggested that I put up my art for display during the Bihu festival. It was a great opportunity so I accepted the offer, and held my very first art exhibition with about ten to fifteen art pieces. I managed to sell only one painting! But I continued making more as a hobby and very soon, I found myself maintaining an account book to manage my orders.
I haven’t had another exhibition yet, it is just my art and the connection people have with it, that has brought me this far.
- Always encouraging to hear such success stories. What keeps you going and inspired?
The positive feedback I receive from people is the strongest motivator. I now have a group of followers on social media who look forward to my next post, so I know my work is not wasted.
Another factor that motivates me to paint is the satisfaction of creating something solely made from the movements controlled by my mind, on a blank surface. It is probably the closest I can ever feel to God. The thrill to see an artwork unfold right before your eyes is an experience in itself – it is like meditation. I strongly feel it’s the only way one can achieve freedom without escaping, and dream without closing one’s eyes.
- So where do you draw your inspiration from? Any great artists that you follow?
When I began painting initially, I used to follow Leonid Afremov’s work online. His pattern of artwork is very loud in terms of colors and he uses only a palette knife and not brushes. I remember redoing one or two of his paintings and realizing that was not my forte. That is the disadvantage of copying a favorite artist. It totally distracts you from your originality and you end up losing your inspiration along the way.
Over the years, as I matured as an artist, I discovered my own style of brush strokes. I love doing a mix of realistic and impressionistic artworks. I draw most of my inspiration from nature, mostly floral and landscape. I also love painting bungalows and rural landscapes of the villages of Assam, like thatched huts with banana trees, a yard, farmlands and so on. I’ve recently discovered an interest in bird portraits when I was doing an assignment on migratory birds from Kaziranga, Assam.
Besides painting on paper & canvas, Dina also paints on white ceramic plates – creating art pieces inspired by different places and her surroundings.
- Any interesting upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on a project on Assam’s village landscape and am in talks with corporate houses for making hand-painted souvenirs on ceramic plates. I have had many commissioned assignments for painting on ceramic plates recently and it’s interestingly almost on the verge of dethroning canvas as a traditional medium for my artwork.