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Colouring India’s Shores: A Testament to Bollywood, Beauty, and Everything in Between

By Komal Samrow

Places, Tanya Timble (2020)

Take one look at Tanya Timble’s Instagram and you’ll be transported to Mumbai’s bustling markets, Kerala’s sandy beaches, Jaipur’s towering palaces and Goa’s roadside lemon soda stands. A 23-year-old self-taught digital illustrator born to a defence family, Timble has seen every corner of the Indian subcontinent and draws on the richness of her experiences to create stunning digital and hand-painted renditions of her travels.

Describe your artistic process.

In an ideal world, I would have an answer to that question, and be able to give you an elaborate response, and give my process a structure. But in reality, I don’t have a process and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The way I approach my art is unfiltered and unrestricted, it lets me do MY best work. I don’t like to have a specific framework for my work because I think that’s very counterintuitive to foster creativity. Inspiration strikes anywhere. My artistic process is very surprising sometimes even to me, I guess that’s what keeps it exciting for me, to see what I come up with next.

You were born in Jaipur and raised in cities throughout India. How has that experience

influenced your work?

Being a defence child has its caveats. The constant moving, uprooting homes and leaving people behind changes you as a person from a very young age, but I chose to look at it from a positive point of view from the very beginning. Every place I’ve lived has a piece of me left behind and I have a piece of that town/city that I always carry with me. It helps me connect very deeply with whatever I am making– for example if I am making a Hawa Mahal, I can imagine almost every nook and cranny because I’ve taken it all in on a sunny winter afternoon. Growing up in over 15 states (in addition to my own impromptu trips) I’ve covered a lot of India, which helps me create authentic, vivid and striking paintings. I enjoy doing this, as almost half the time I am just drawing an actual memory for the world to see.

Your “Everyday India” series depicts scenes from everyday life in Jaipur. What is it in the

“little things,” the mundane that inspires you?

The essence of this question is very near to me. I truly and fundamentally believe that there is so much beauty in little things. I think we as a society have started taking these small things for granted, and then only realise what they’re worth after we’ve lost them. There’s just so much emotive experience in regular things, like two friends meeting after a very long time and catching up, or just a beautiful sunrise that most people are too busy to notice. There’s beauty all around us and once you realise that, creating art is just a tertiary process.

How has your art evolved throughout the years?

I think in introspection it has changed a lot over the last couple of years. It was pretty constant the first formative years with pastels, watercolours, canvases etc the works. Digital art has been a very recent addition to the tool belt. I like doing digital art because it’s convenient, it’s quick and it’s precise, but I find myself drawn back to the canvas time after time. I love the precision and pixel accuracy of the iPad, but there’s something so addictive in seeing the colours mix into each other on the canvas, to see my human error, and just to feel myself. Aside from the medium on which I draw and paint and my styles, one very big evolution doing digital art has been my deep appreciation for human-made art– I appreciate every crease, every stroke, and every little mistake because they make me feel hope in a world full of screens.

You’ve been occasionally participating in 36daysoftype, which challenges artists to share

designs for each letter of the alphabet for 36 consecutive days. All your designs revolve

around famous Bollywood films like Band Baaja Baaraat and DDLJ. Why Bollywood?

I think this specific roundabout with Bollywood was heavily inspired by how everyone was just stuck because of the pandemic, and not just stuck between four walls– people were stuck in confined spaces, stuck at work, stuck in a rut. It was very overwhelming, so I wanted an escape and to provide others with an escape as well. What better parallel reality is there than Bollywood? My exercise of making Bollywood inspired art led me to multiple movie marathons with family friends, which took them and me out of the rut for a while, and with the little details I incorporated in my art afterwards, I hope it got other people out as well.

What does art mean to you?

Absolutely everything, and not just the kind of art I do. I appreciate all kinds of art: cinema, photography, music, anything under that umbrella. As the world becomes more materialistic, I think it’s all the more reason for people to do art. On an individual level art to me is a means of escape and a vehicle of hope. For me,@tanyatimble

art is a form of communication, and as a less than affluent orator, I sometimes find that my art communicates better than my actual words or actions. And at the end of the day, I also think of art as a way of leaving your mark on the world long after you’ve left it. There’s something about the thought that pieces of you will be all over the globe even if you aren’t.

What’s next for you?

I honestly don’t know. I am going with the flow; I like to keep things raw and unplanned. For now, I am just going to continue upskilling, learning art forms that I’ve never tried before, creating new work, and probably going forward with a little more meaning behind my work. I love the personal connection I have with the people who enjoy my art and am going to strive to be a better artist for me and for them. “What’s next” is a big bold question mark, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, because let's be honest– how often does life pan out the way you plan it? I am just going to continue to do what I do and hopefully inspire a few people along the way.

Follow Tanya's work @tanyatimble . All artwork featured in the piece belong to the artist.


Artist Spotlight is a series where we highlight upcoming South- Asian artists in the creative space.



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