by Bharati Kondepudy
Tell us a bit about you, the person behind the work we see.
I am Vidya (a.k.a @vabyvel), I am a 26 year old artist living in San Francisco. I was born in India and grew up in Toronto, Canada. I have been creating 3D art for several years now. My art plays on sensual, feminist imagery and my goal is to create more representation for South Asian women.
Tell us more about the process behind developing your unique art style.
When I started creating art, I found comfort in creating fictional characters and building narratives that elevate important issues centered around liberty for women. I started posting art on the side on Instagram five years ago and eventually started to find my style more recently, especially during the pandemic. When I get an idea, I immediately put it down on paper with a messy sketch, only to get the idea across and then start the process of refining my vision in 3D. I do spend quite some time going over color palettes, composition and overall look. As an artist, I don't ever feel like a piece is truly finished.
What inspired the Crypto Rani series, as seen on your Instagram?
Being a daughter of South Asian immigrants, I grew up in a very conservative household and art wasn't really given any light. I never had the space to express myself creatively growing up. The times I made art about the female figure it was immediately looked down upon. Eventually I made it as an artist in the corporate world and found myself in a male saturated industry and it wasn't always comfortable for me. Most of the time I felt like I was being told what to make, what to create and didn't really have control of my own art and space. When I am creating meaningful art I always feel whole, especially when I touch on the most stigmatized and uncomfortable themes.
My main goal for this series is to uplift women of color in the NFT space and spread the representation we don't see enough of. I want more women to feel more free and talk about their sexuality, their desires, identities, menstruation and normalize those things. I want to showcase the bold, authentic side of me and many women out there that were told to live by restrictions/rules and discipline and who were completely ripped from self expression growing up. I feel so lucky to be able to showcase my culture and feminism on this platform and be a role model to the young South Asian artists out there!
How important is it to give exposure to the different sides of women in your work?
Being able to show your authentic sides is one of the many reasons I created Crypto Ranis. I think women go through a cycle of deep and raw emotions which we don't see depicted enough in art forms. In Hindu mythology, a lot of goddesses are seen showing their gentle, divine side. It is the feminist icon Goddess Kali that reveals her true colors and I believe every women has an inner Kali. We are such expressive emotional, expressive beings, that is where my best art is created. I want women to feel empowered with their sexuality, emotions and not be afraid to show their authentic selves.
How do you think digital art and NFTs are influencing the market for smaller artists?
I think NFTs in general are evolving so fast and the space is welcoming more people. That being said, we still need to carve out space to have more minority groups. Tech and art industries have historically been dominated by men, and women only make up about 15 percent of the space. Sadly women of color only make a small percentage of these women and that is something I am always looking to help change in the NFT space and is a motivating factor for doing what I do and the collaborations I am doing with other artists.
What does art mean to you?
Art is self-expression, it is the way we live, the way we see, the way of life and art connects us together. One of my favorite all time quotes by Viola Davis “I became an artist—and thank God I did—because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life”
What’s next for you?
I have many collaborations with women in the works and building the platform for Crypto Ranis, you can definitely expect some more drops coming soon that highlights the world building behind the Ranis. I am also building out my pfp collection of “Everyday Goddesses”, stay tuned for that as well.