A sense of perturbance exists in those few gifted individuals, who, if abort pouring it on a canvas, discover a sort of unrest within their souls. How does their desire to express find a medium so strong that it beholds the world in fascination? As the prominent painter, Orhan Pamuk, once quoted, “Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight”.
Art flutters within a soul, making known its desire to be cast forth, to be exhibited. That is when the artist plucks her canvas and unfurls the avenue to compose her pièce de rèsistance.
Meet 28-year-old Rajivi Rao, a story-telling artist, brimming with mirth and verve! She gives us an account of her relationship with the aesthetic world of art.
Q: Who is Rajivi Rao and what does she do?
Rajivi: Hi! I am the creator of The Story Starters. I’ve worked in Germany as a copywriter before returning to Mumbai in 2016. I took up a job in an advertising firm here but quit in June this year. It was only after I resigned that the real idea for The Story Starters struck me as I gradually moved forth with pursuing my art. While I will always love advertising, The Story Starters is what feels good for my soul now.
It allows me to merge my three passions:
* Real life stories of people.
* The defining characters in their stories.
* And art.
Q: What art themes do you pursue?
Rajivi: It all depends on what I’m creating and for whom. And whether it’s about putting together a story about two individuals and their memories or a momento that somebody wishes to gift their loved ones. Basically, I make use of my trademark look of lined lettering, within lined bubbles and a lot of lining work outside them. It’s highly time consuming, but lends a fantastic overall effect. Adding personalized caricatures to the theme gives my art another level of dimension. One of the things that I love working on is getting acquainted to the person I’m sketching for. Even if that requires an hour of phone conversation. I feel that if I connect with them, I’ll be able to pour out their version of expected art or designs that are true to their personalities.
Like when I sketched for you, after comprehending the unique personalities of your three sons, I resolved to sketch their caricatures, depicting each child’s personality and trait.
Q. Yes, and you did a wonderful job! My kids couldnt have been more happy.
How do you see yourself as an artist in the society?
Rajivi: I relate to the term ‘Creative’ or even ‘Storyteller’ more. For me, art comes second. It is the stories that I’m interested in listening and adapting to. I design my art on themes like special memories that people wish to celebrate, certain funny moments that they want captured, or the sort of personalities that they possess. It’s these stories that I work towards bringing on paper.
Q. How do you spend your time of leisure?
Rajivi: By learning new skills. It disturbs me when there are times I goof up or don’t get my sketches right. (Ask my mom and she’ll emphatically describe the lenghty monologues I delve into about how unfair the world is. All because one line/letter did not come out the way it was supposed to!)
I’m a self-taught calligraphist. I practiced learning different caricature styles, different watercolor techniques, about different pens and how to use them, etc. I’m still learning and improving because there is always something to perfect. At the moment, I’m working on teaching myself brush-lettering and detailed doodling. And I’m having a blast doing it 🙂
5. What’s your favourite art work?
Rajivi: Honestly, I don’t have a favourite famous artist whose work I worship. I like browsing the Internet, going through as much art stuff as I can to build my art vocabulary. In my own assembly of work, though, I’d done a sketch for a friend’s fifth marriage anniversary that I love. Also, the cartoon caricatures with wordages I did for your kids (it’s been my first order for children), a big sketch I did in monochromes for a friend and recently, a cute doodle piece I did for my elder cousin. All my works take 7 to 8 hours of diligent detailing which makes them special for me.
Q. Your most embarrassing/scariest memory?
Rajivi: Scariest- Nights when I wake up to use the loo and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror with my hair sticking up. I swear to God, it scares the daylights out of me! Beside that, moving to Germany, unknown to the German language or anybody there, was unnerving. Launching The Story Starters was formidable too. I had no idea how would such an unusual concept be received.
Embarrassing- Now that’s gonna take several pages to answer!
Q. Why art? Do you have other interests besides art?
Rajivi: Art is what I earnestly turned to after I formed a clientele. Also, because art is so therapeutic and vast that anyone can dabble in it. Every person loves it in some form or the other since it is always open to interpretation. Having said that, I can’t skip mentioning that poetry is my first love. I’ve been writing poems since I was in school and feel that my style keeps evolving. I’m also a bookworm. I love reading.
Q. If you were granted a super power, what would you choose and why?
Rajivi: The ability to recognise and accept exactly who I am and erase all self-doubts. I apologise if my reply sounds clichéd, but that’s what I’d wish for. We are so conditioned to focus on other’s achievements. I learnt from my elder brother to not forget that success is something we should define for ourselves and must never doubt our own caliber. I’m still learning not to compare myself to anyone. It’s hard, but I try working on it.
Q. What is your dream project?
Rajivi: When I was six, my dream project was to commence a chain of restaurants that sold 2467 flavours of ice-cream (a bit of Nutella in each of them!) and 400 types of chicken nuggets which I would share for free. Seriously, though, The Story Starters IS my dream project. Through TSS I now see how much compassion exists in the world. When people call me to create gifts for the ones they love, be it a parent, boyfriend, wife, best friend, they narrate awesome stories and unique memories that they share with them. I adore witnessing the love people have for each other. It is my favorite part of what I do.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Rajivi: There are three great ones that I’ve received so far:
1. “Don’t eat what you can’t pronounce.”
2. “No Rajivi, Pizza doesn’t count as a friend, so please, let it go, move on.”
3. “Just because you’re struggling, doesn’t mean you’re failing. Struggling means you’re trying. And things change when you try.”
Rajivi Rao may be a beginner in the field of commercial artistry, but her hardwork and quality style of craft promises to gain her a fair share of recognition and success. I wish her the best in all her endeavours and soon hope to see a well-established artist. Here’s to knowing a good-hearted soul and a beginning of a heartfelt friendship.
Thank you, Rajivi ❤