2) Similar to your paintings, your photography style is very switched on and vibrant with color. The Madam Fly series is a collaboration between you and 2 more artists. How do artists like these find themselves and embark on these creative collaborations? “Madam, Fly.” was a collaboration between model Nira Kehar, Stylist Rashmi Varma, Make-up artist and hair stylist Ashima Kapoor, and myself as photographer. Rashmi, Nira and I, all from Canada, all in Delhi at the time, knew each other prior to the shoot. We were each more excited than the other to express our visions and collectively came to what became “Madam, Fly.” I think with all of us having an insider/outsider perspective, our visions were quite aligned. In general though, I do believe like minds intuitively find each other to make their dreams reality.
3) The concept behind the Madam Fly series is the leisure woes of an upper middle class Indian housewife, coupled with Indian items of beauty. How did the concept behind the Madam Fly series originate? “Madam, Fly.” was in some ways a very familiar project for me. As a frequent visitor to and partial product of India, I have interacted with have been fascinated by Indian items of beauty, Indian products and basic objects of Indian design and craft. As an adult, while some of these objects remain functional, many have slipped towards nostalgia. The project was interesting because it played in this area between function and nostalgia, and with items that we were all familiar with such as the parandhi, the bidi, the chapal and the mosquito net and combined it with a level of contemporary fashion only accessible to upper middle class women.
4) Your independent company, MISC, is a smart and savvy endeavor. How did you start it and what were the initial hurdles you faced? MISC or “Meera Sethi Creative” officially began two and a half years ago when I registered the company name. Unofficially, you could say it began as far as ten years back to as recent as this year! Sometime early this year, I realized that the process of starting an independent company in which to make and promote my art and design was in fact very organic. Although I knew long ago (when I was 5 actually, and drew my first self-portrait, with so much emphasis on what I was wearing) that I wanted to make art and was interested in fashion, it was only two and a half years ago that I really took that leap and decided that if I was really going to share my vision during my lifetime and see it grow, I had better start immediately! So I quit my full-time job, came to Delhi for 3 months, and returned to Toronto to “set-up shop.” My initial hurdles have been both external and internal. Externally, the hurdles have been financial and practical: paying bills, making time to create, finding adequate space, handling all aspects of a business, finding work/life balance, etc. Internally, the hurdles are more vague. Even though, I have always had the support of my family which has been a blessing, I found my own belief in my art to waiver. The internal inquiry and self-reflection that is required to believe in yourself is challenging. Some days are of course better then others, but each day, I must remind myself that what I am doing has a purpose and a future. This is where trusting in the process of your own development is key. Without trust, you can not let go and dive into the work. In this way it is scary, but also exciting.
5) With such a vast clientele, it would be wrong to ask if you have any favorite clients, but what have been the projects close to your heart since you began MISC? MISC is an amalgam of all types of projects and clients from one-on-one work with helping someone develop their own vision for their own company to enabling large organizations creatively express their vision. Each project has had its place and which each project I have developed my creative skills or learned a new aspect of running a business. The projects closest to my heart though have been the ones where I can be my own boss, namely my art! I find now that I design so that I can create art. Having the freedom, skills, resources and vision to make images is really what is closest to my heart.
6) What kind of projects are you looking at during 2010? Will you be doing any travelling outside of Canada? Funny thing about travel is that I actual begin tomorrow! I am heading to New York to meet with some galleries and gain new insight and inspiration into my art. I have always been fortunate to have the privilege to travel. Of course travel broadens my perspective but it also gives me that much needed space to let ideas grow, morph and meld in my subconscious, always allowing me to have greater vision, clarity and excitement when I return. In 2010 I am continuing to develop my “Firangi Rang Barangi” series and have begun work on a new series of work that interprets the idea of the Bodhisattva. I am also hoping to adapt some of my earlier drawings from “Textlace” and “Sacred Geometriks” to tshirts and other garments.
7) All your work, be it photography, painting or graphics; is a proud shout out to your heritage and your current life. Many artists in Canada and around the world must take great comfort in your success and feel more encouraged to showcase their own talents. Many more artists will be reading this now by means of this blog. What is the message you would like to impart to budding artists, the world over? Just keep at it. If you really want to do something, just keep at it in whatever small or big way you can. The more steps you take forward, the more the path will open up to you. Trust in that. Most importantly however, practice loving yourself, all parts: the good, the bad and the ugly. The more you break down those internal walls, the more the external ones will break open for you.
Meera would be delighted to answer any questions you have on misc [at] meerasethi [dot] com or visit her at MISC