Smrita Jain: “A Beautiful, Indispensable Obsession”

Artist name: Smrita Jain

Featured Work 1: “Creating Durga’s Head Close Up”

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Smrita Jain is a multi-media artist, designer, photographer, author, public speaker and university professor. Her works include designs with rich palettes and interlocking symbols and photographs documenting traditional idol making. She also shares reflections on her personal history and on violence against women and undertakes a wealth of other creative projects and explorations. She will be speaking at the Global Status of Women and Girls Conference on March 25th at Christopher Newport University on “Understanding, Defining, and Preventing Violence” and her autobiography  Fat Free Samosa will be available later this year.

Featured Works Slideshow:

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5 Questions for the Artist:

1. What is art to you?

Art is my cocaine! YES, I AM AN ADDICT! I sniff it, I breathe it, and I inject it into my blood every single day before I leave for work. Not the actual drug itself, but it’s the art infused—–energized—–power-packed—–feeling that I keep it with myself at all times. I don’t see art as much of a problem solver, but I see it as a medium to help humans to reach towards the solution and become a language. It is an agent to help bring change — the change could be for good, bad and even worse. It all depends on how the artist creates it and how the viewer perceives it. But art itself, is a beautiful indispensable obsession, which can be found in any form as long as other living beings including animals are not harmed in the process of creating art!

2. What did you make in the past and why?

The unprofessionalism in the workforce and for many unpleasant personal reasons, I was compelled to come to USA for higher studies in Pratt Institute in 2007. Since then, I know only one language, art and design. Creating Durga, was my first independent photography project. I did that because I wanted to break the stereotypical thinking of people who think India is all about religious fanatics. In the realms of arts and crafts, the skill sets surpasses the religious beliefs. It is so pristine, beautiful and so professionally crafted, I wanted to bring that to attention through the documentary based photographs—complied into a book. To anyone who wishes to know the history behind one of the important festivals of the country, this book is perfect. It is an amalgamation of literature and art, telling the reader a story like a garland of events and information.

3. What are you making now and why?

I love doing books because I believe the words printed on a piece of paper are more sacred than a digital tweet. Before we lose the grip — the importance and sanctity of ‘written words’— I want to create a strong mark that remains relevant for generations to come.

The work that I do today is not different from what I have done in the past. I always had an independent way of thinking, coming to my own decisions and conclusions. Although I feel my work is now more expressive, open, fearless, bold, honest, explicit, and blunt — pretty much like the personality that I have grown to — reflected in my new upcoming book, Fat Free Samosa. I will be speaking at Global Status of Women and Girls Conference on March 25th about Understanding, Defining, and Preventing Violencesharing some of my personal experiences and how I overcame tribulations through art and design.

4. What are your hopes for the future?

I hope for a future where people are more:
—Considerate, but not weak.

—Humane, but not wild.

—Honest and blunt, but not rude.

—Open-minded, but not directionless.

I strongly feel, art is the best way to advocate for a change, and it shouldn’t be limited to just four corners of a canvas.

5. What else would you like to say?

I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak my mind and share my work. Your work as a journalist, author, and artist is truly commendable and I hope you continue to strive and inspire in your field and bring attention to gravest issues our society is revolving around. “Inspiration is one thing and you can’t control it, but hard work is what keeps the ship moving. Good luck means, work hard. Keep up the good work.” —Kevin Eubanks

Artist Supplied Background: 

Smrita Jain is an eclectic, award-winning graphic designer working at The Aquario Group in New York City. She is also the lead internationally renowned artist at Surmrit Gallery of Art and Design based in New Jersey. Smrita’s art has been showcased in New York, London, and India. Beyond being a multi-faceted designer and artist, Smrita has reviewed the work of undergraduate and graduate design students at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City for 6 consecutive years. She also taught Visual Communications II at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Her biggest influencers are people — from those who bring her to life and those who bring her down. She finds inspiration in the worst situations, translating a troubling experience into an uplifting painting or capturing a moment through her writing, photography or hand-drawn graffiti. She will be releasing her photography-focused autobiography called Fat Free Samosa later this year. In a chapter of her forthcoming book, Smrita describes her intimate experiences with domestic and dating violence.  At the same time, she exposes a cultural pattern among men and women that begins with a focus on differences or arguments, and results in violence.

Find Smrita Jain on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers
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