Life of an artist seems surreal and enviable, right from the recognition s/he gets to all that freedom for creativity and opinion and, of course, their knack for turning anything into a wonderful play of colors and putting something beautiful and meaningful out into the world.
But quite often, we forget that their fame was gradual and, for some, attained long after their deaths and that they too started out as amateurs, experimenting with their style and, perhaps even, insecure about their work. While we see the glory of an accomplished artist, we ignore all the years s/he spent refining her/his skills.
One such aspiring artist who, we believe, has great potential is Roseena Sakya. The 21-year-old was born into a family of Thangka painters and she grew up in Kathmandu surrounded by colors and brushes. Fascinated by watching her dad create beautiful art pieces with the paintbrushes, she too grew interested in the craft as a child. And today she also makes Thangkas, giving continuity to a family legacy.
However, Sakya claims that art did not come to her naturally and out of the blue, because it ran in the family. Instead she had to continually practice to get better at it. “I most definitely had to work for it. It took years of practice to be as good as I am today,” she says. Most of her childhood was spent scribbling drawings, stroking brushes and observing her dad ever so meticulously add colors to a Thangka painting, which, no doubt, is one of the most complex forms of artwork in the world.
Even though she has had no formal education in art, Sakya says that her dad has acted as a mentor to guide her through the process of creating art – from painting techniques to giving her pep talks when she felt like she wasn’t doing her best. “My dad is my biggest inspiration when it comes to pursuing art. I’m where I am because of him,” she reveals. Currently, she works 10 to 5 as a Thangka painter and she and her father take personal orders from clients.
However, Sakya isn’t just limiting herself to this one art form. She is also experimenting with paintings and drawings other than Thangka. Just last year, she started an Instagram account (@roseena.sakya) and it is here that she has taken to showcasing her talent in other mediums like digital artwork and watercolors. Her art pieces can also be viewed on the Deviantart website under the profile ‘phllegm’.
Moreover, Sakya has a particular fascination with portraits and most of her drawings are close ups of eccentric people adorned with splashes of colors in their clothes or background. She is also fond of digital artwork and she has done an illustration work for Columbus chocolate and is now working with a friend on a children’s book. Adding to her list of achievements is her comic series about her dogs and their quirkiness called ‘Shiro and Leo’ on webtoons. “This series is me putting a slice of my life with my dogs for others to see, using art as a medium,” she explains. The series has around 36.7k views, and can leave anyone at awe because of the cuteness of the dogs and also due to Sakya’s heartfelt and light execution of the illustrations.
However, Sakya has yet to find a medium of art that she truly feels comfortable with. As she has mostly done Thangkas, she wants to further experiment with different mediums, be it watercolor, acrylic, or digital. She likes the works of graphic artists like Gabriel Picolo who add artistic touch to comics and hopes to do something along the lines of this very genre of art, playing with words, colors, and faces. Sakya is also fond of abstract art and she hopes to evolve into an artist capable of mixing both abstractism and realism. To her, the idea of exhibiting her artwork seems like a far-fetched dream but she wishes to come to a point in her life where she will be confident enough to showcase her pieces in front of a wider audience.
Sakya claims that her only hurdle when it comes to art is that she feels like she has yet to express her emotions freely through it. “Drawing or painting feels like meditation to me. I feel the most powerful emotions when I’m staring at a canvas and, yet, I feel as though I haven’t fully expressed myself after I complete a painting,” she says. Her emotions undoubtedly change the colors on her palette and manipulate the rhythm of her strokes and so she wants to let it fully influence her artwork. All in all, she hopes to be more than just a Thangka painter, trying out digital illustrations, comics, and incorporating her knowledge of Thangka painting into the modern setting of graphic illustration.
Furthermore, Sakya confesses that someday she wants to go abroad and work and experiment in art fields around the world but, for now, she wants to focus on what surrounds her, working with other talented artists here in Nepal. She also wants to learn and refine her traditional art skills, all the while keeping her personal, modern interests in mind.