By Hand From The Heart is a Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 , Jenney Residency, Coimbatore. 23rd Edition: February '18 in Chennai.
A certified Zentangle teacher, Artist Sandhya Manne enjoys painting in oils and ink drawings, just as much. Based in Chennai, Sandhya, conducts regular zentangle classes in the city and online.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am an Artist working predominantly in oils and ink drawings. Since the start of 2009, my artworks have been part of private collections in Canada, USA and India. Though mostly self-taught I have had the opportunity to study under some highly talented and successful artists during my travels around the world. I have been exhibiting my works through juried shows and group shows in USA and India.
I am also a Certified Zentangle Teacher and taught Zentangle in the USA before my move to Chennai. Since my move here I have been regularly conducting Beginner and Advance Zentangle Workshops in various locations in southern India as well as online via Skype.
How would you describe what you do; and how long have you been making and creating?
My oils are small sized paintings inspired by the little things in life painted in bold fresh vibrant colors. I have been painting in oils for the last 6 yrs, and after a lot of experimenting and studying in terms of subjects and techniques have now found a niche for myself. I started with Ink drawings also called Zentangles about the same time. These are small abstract artworks mostly in Black and white but sometimes with a spin of earthy colors…
Tell us about your recent works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
I just finished working on a small sized Mandala series of ink drawings (Zentangle Inspired Art) that I will be showing at By Hand, From The Heart along with few limited bigger works in the same medium. Apart from this, I am also working on small sized oil paintings inspired by our daily Tea Time routine….
Can you describe your work place / space?
I work out of my home studio… one of the bedrooms with a large window is converted into the studio…I have a huge desk at this window over looking the community park, with plenty of natural light I plan and work most of my ink drawings from here… my huge easel is placed right next to the desk where I paint oils… my husband built me a stand alone table top easel that I use over the big one, this allows me to stand and paint. Apart from shelves and shelves of art supplies, I have a mini library with my collection of art books by some great artists and some cool art magazines that I often browse through for inspiration and motivation. The studio walls have my artworks on them except for a small corner that has my art collection from other artists and art friends.
What is a typical day at SANDHYA MANNE STUDIO like.
A typical day at “SANDHYA MANNE STUDIO” starts at around 9:00 AM, usually with sketching and or finishing up the previous day’s artwork. I then either start a new artwork or spend time experimenting and learning new techniques.. Depending on the mood, the studio is either quite or has some pleasant music or some artist interviews playing in the background… Usually it is a studio wrap up by 3:30PM. After which most of the evening is spend replying emails, answering queries regarding my classes or scheduling private classes, and end the day taking care of the business side. Ohh and you can through in a lot of social media in between.
What/who inspires you? Or how do you find inspiration?
I have a set of artists in both mediums whose works I admire and which has inspired me to design my own creative process. Most of them are women artists from the west and I learn a lot from their artistic journey taken while still managing kids, family and home. I relate to their struggles and success more naturally and that truly inspires me.
Can you describe your creative process and what is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?
In the process of my experiments the last couple of years, I realized that I work better when creating a series… It gives me time to head deep into the theme and technique, which then gives me confidence to explore further and go beyond the obvious. The most rewarding part of my creative process is when things finally come together and it starts to look like the way I saw it (in my mind!!!…that is).
Ooo thats a big one… like all artists I have my own phases of creative blocks. But of late I have been studying them and have discovered that my blocks can pretty much be categorized into two kinds….the first type is the fear of starting something new..I have these starting trouble its a huge fight within my self..one part of me wants to move ahead and explore the unknown and this other part is afraid of the unknown so comes up with all kinds of reasons for not putting out that first step. The second type is when I am unable to take criticism by someone in the right spirit…I begin to question everything about what I do and why I do what I do.
I have realized that the more I dwell on these fears and criticisms the harder it gets to get back in the studio…. I am fortunate to be surrounded by loads of artists some established and some working their way up like me..they are all over my FB, whatsapp, emails, pinterest and in all those books in my studio…so when they share their everyday works it inspires and motivates me to get back in the studio.
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
The best thing about being an artist is that I get to transform the beauty of simple mundane things in life to something beautiful and unique through my artworks basically I get to show things in a new perspective.
You have participated in an earlier edition of By Hand From The Heart; what was the BHFTH market experience and what have you observed?
Yes, I was part of the 15th Edition and I loved every minute of the two days… the organizers took care of helping us settle down with setup etc, the show is curated and that could be seen as each and every single vendor had exclusive items to offer, the marketing of the show itself and showcasing of artists and their artworks was done meticulously for over a month in advance and that in turn helped not just creating traffic but also having genuine serious buyers walking in…..it is an upscale show with upscale visitors.
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
Sure! Go out and just do it. There is no method or right and wrong way to sell your work…all it takes is to put your self out and get in the game.
About Chennai. What advice would you give other makers to explore Chennai?
Chennai is an emerging market and has huge scope for handmade unique products… you must consider showing your works herein Chennai.
Anything exciting on the cards for the coming months?
I am really excited about 2016, both in terms of my classes and artworks that I plan to work on. I am currently working on the Tea Time series for the By Hand From The Heart Show at Lalit Kala Akademi.