Pooja Gupta: Life before 3For
I left India in 1994 with my family. I spent a year with them in Canada studying visual arts, and I got my first taste of life drawing there. I moved to the States- Massachussets then, where I received my BFA with a concentration in painting.
The period from 1994 – 1999, was a very confusing time in my life. I was literally broken up about leaving India, and leaving my friends with whom I shared an incredibly close bond. I was trying to grapple with all of this, and in my confusion I kind of turned into myself and unlike normal artists I suppose, instead of letting my despair out through art, I kind of swallowed everything, and tried to create works that were perfect, instead of experimental and growth oriented. I wanted to be perceived as perfect, not confused..does that make sense at all??..
I moved to South Africa in 1999 for two years, because I was so confused in my mind that I needed to get away from everything. I studied textile design in Cape town, and this was a time of real awakening for me. Being so far away from anything I had known, and just exploring new forms of art and culture were just amazing.
Here, my obsession with colour truely began, what a wonderful thing it is! And here, I revisited the nude as a subject in painting.
In 2001, I returned to the States, and was torn between textile design and painting. I think now though that I was confusing my love for the life I was leading in south Africa, with the love of textile design. I returned to painting.. I painted several nudes after that, some with elements of surface design. I had some success with the sales of my work, undertook some commissions..put a couple of works in a couple of shows..But, I just couldn’t break this wall I had put up for myself with painting with total and utter abandon.
I had a hard time grappling with the truth that I controlled the painting, and not the other way around. This led to a series of “pretty” works. Saccharine sweet, wallpaper- like.. blending…
The sensitivity that I associated with my friends – (which I suppose is the female form translated into my paintings), translated into an oversensitizing of my treatment of the paintings themselves.
When I heard that Rachna, our dear, dear friend had passed away, something kind of went off in my brain. I was just mad at everything and at myself, and I took down a painting I was working on, and scribbled all over it. I drew over the perfectly painted nude in its saccharine environment, scribbled over it with crayons..threw turpentine on it..
That was a breakthrough for me in painting.
I realise that everything has been surface oriented; me on the surface. I had not opened my mind to explore what was within me. There has been no depth. I’ve come face to face with my biggest challenge. To take a chisel, and to start to scrape away to get to whats locked inside of me. To get rid of fear, and to create the way I’m supposed to create.
3For is such a natural evolution, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this emotional awakening with my closest friends with whom I first started this journey 14yrs ago!