Anna Dhakal is a young artist brimming with myriad expressions and a palette that takes you on a riotous journey of colours. Earlier this year, the self-taught artist hit a milestone when people on social media began to notice, appreciate and even buy her art. The young and beautiful artist lives in Chitwan and in this conversation with WOW, Anna talks about what art means to her, the creative process and more.
Tell us about your shift from business student to self-taught artist.
It all started during the lockdown in 2020 when I was an MBA student unsure about my life plans. Later, I started a job with a bank and left just after two working days. The reason might be because I am an introvert by nature. To take my mind off things, I tried doing a lot of different things and then stumbled upon art. My mom brought me some colours from a nearby stationery store and I initially played with them, first to keep myself busy and then to keep myself happy, and now to keep myself free. I rediscovered my passion for art that I had left at the age of 12. I am still doing it and will now be doing it forever.
What was the turning point to know that this would be what you would do forever?
The extended Covid lockdown period gave me enough time to work on my skills, long enough to be able to portray my imagination on a piece of canvas, but after I made my own studio is when I really decided that I would be nothing but an artist. I fixed and filled all the cracks and corners of my broken old house and painted it myself to make it my own studio, not only was I fixing my old broken house to make a beautiful studio, but I was also fixing myself.
What inspires you?
I am not a professional painter, I paint for myself, and I paint to feed my soul. To be honest, I know nothing much about methods and elements, I just put a canvas in front of me and paint whatever I feel like. I follow no rules, no limitations, no boundaries, and it’s my free world where I live. However, I am inspired by many, and Vincent Van Gogh influences me the most. While nature is another important subject that I am inclined to, sitting under the night sky, the colour of the earth, and sometimes not knowing what life really is inspires me to paint.
What does your family think about your work?
My family has always been supportive, my brother is the one who helped me when renovating my studio, my dad is the one who stretches all my canvas for me, and my mom is the one who helped me see the directions of art, she always kept me free and pulled me closer to nature.
You seem to enjoy self-portrayal through videos, pictures, and portraits…
My mom says everything you do should be done in an artistic way, it’s not just about painting but the way you present it, and making videos and clicking pictures is my way of freezing the memories forever. Right now it might only be a picture but after years it will be a treasure box that’s going to remind me of the days when I started to paint. And at the end of the day, the goal is to live an artistic and creative life, beyond any competition, closer to God.
With growing number of followers and appreciation on social media, what does it feel like to be in the spotlight?
I started with a few followers and I enjoyed putting out my work for them because even a hundred people for me was a big deal. As my followers increased, I was also adapting to the changes that it brought so it always felt very natural to me. Even today I feel the same as the day I started.
A recent painting of yours is of a ‘Map’ where you have mentioned “having no direction in your life”…
In life, there are times you must walk without any particular direction just to find your random fate, and that’s why I said I am directionless. Some people seem to have a map for their life; they know where they are going and they plot their route but, I have just floated on a chartless sea, my journey governed by the wind. And I love every process whether good or bad.
Besides painting, what do you enjoy the most?
I am an introvert with zero friends other than my pet dog, Kuku. I spend my day painting, gardening, reading as much as possible, writing sometimes, looking at the sky, and just wondering about everything around me.
A life that you want to manifest…
My own house by the mountains. There are many paintings of mine that resemble this subconscious desire. I paint a house by the mountain hoping to turn my imagination into reality, and of course how can I miss a big garden nearby which would be such a lovely place to create some of my masterpieces.