ISH PATIL: Freezing Moments

Ish Patil – an artist, student, and creator of a zine “Quarantine Daze”. Ish was born in New York City but spent her childhood in Mumbai, India.

Ish is inspired by Sarah Sze, Takashi Murakami, Cory Arcangel, and Sheela Gowda. “Quarantine Daze” is a digital journal that Ish created during the lockdown. It is her thoughts, emotions, and feelings that she experienced during these events. “It is essentially a compilation of the things going through my head during these unsettling times. I like to use journaling as a way to liberate myself from these emotions that may not always be so positive and thought it would be nice to share”, Ish says. You can download the zine at the bottom of this page.

Currently, she is studying at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Ish says: “New York has always been a second home to me. It’s where my grandparents currently live and have lived for years but it’s my first time living in the city as a young adult. During my time in boarding school, I hadn’t had a chance to visit the city for the past few years, and I was honestly a bit scared about going back. I was afraid that the city I once knew as a child was gone and would’ve changed beyond recognition. While I found that the city, no doubt, wasn’t the same place it was years ago, it still managed to keep the same charm”.

Do your environment and culture HAVE AN IMPACT ON your work? 

I think it definitely does. Mumbai being a major city with such a large population is definitely one of the busiest cities I’ve lived in. This is not only in terms of people but the culture and the environment as well. There’s so much going on and everything about the city screams chaos and clutter but in its own captivating way. The vibe and vibrant colors of the city somehow always find a way to seep into my work. Another more direct cultural influence for me would be Warli art. This is a style of tribal art that originates from the North Sahyadri Range in India. It’s something I learned about in school as a child and it has always stuck with me. The way in which simple geometric shapes and patterns are used to convey something a lot more complex has always appealed to me.

What inspires you? are there specific places, songs, movies?

Most of my inspiration comes from the inner workings of everyday objects, I’ve always loved to pull apart things and see the different elements that create that form. I take these things, I see, break them down into simpler shapes, and use them to generate patterns and elements that I use within my work. 

More specific inspirations of mine include sci-fi movies and anime like ‘Cowboy Bebop’ and ‘Evangelion’. I just love to see the extent to which art can push the boundaries of reality.

Ish works primarily with mixed media and is attracted to the topics of nostalgia and exploration. Ish says: “I think so much of this stems from the fact that I’ve attended boarding school and have been away from home for quite a while now. Like anyone else, I like to take my memories along with me wherever I go and my art acts as an ever-growing journal for this. When people look at my work I want it to evoke that same childlike sense of curiosity and exploration within them. I want them to really be drawn into it, to analyze and perceive each and every little detail that goes into its creation and to somehow make those memories their own”.

Do you think lucid dreaming influences your creativity? 

Yes! 100%. I think it’s quite similar to dreaming that way. Lucid dreaming is simply having control over your dreams, being able to do whatever you please, even actions that may be impossible to execute in reality. The emotions I experience within my dreams are as real as the ones I have during my waking hours and I find that a good number of my artworks are based on these very feelings and ideas. I mean, when in real life would I magically have the opportunity to turn broccoli into chicken nuggets? 

Do you have any favorite Instagram pages?

I have A LOT but these are just a few creative pages and people I follow and take inspiration from @spicy.obj, @norblacknorwhite, @dr.azra 

Are there any giants in the art industry whose opinion would be crucial to you?

I’d probably say someone like Takashi Murakami. He’s an artist who has truly helped art become more mainstream and accessible to a group of people that would never have been interested in the traditional art scene. He has found his way into the universe of art with his unique ideas and style and hasn’t hesitated to keep growing since. He’s been able to explore and extend his creative work into other areas such as fashion through collaborations with multiple apparel brands. I feel that this kind of flexibility is something that every artist should strive towards. After all, art can’t really be confined to a specific definition and just like that, us – artists shouldn’t be either. 

Can you create everywhere or DO you need a specific place?

I can create anywhere, I find myself creating works on random pieces of paper or materials I find around the house or even the sand on the beach. It doesn’t really matter where or what I’m creating as long as I have an outlet.

How long does it take YOU to create your work? How do you prepare for it?

My work takes anywhere from a few hours to a few days, it really depends on the size of the piece I’m creating as well as my mood (Ish laughs). Art isn’t really something I prepare for, I tend to have random bursts of inspiration be it at 2 pm when I’m watching a video about ‘NASA’s message to aliens’ or at 5 am after waking up from a weird dream. 

What is it about mixed media that attracts you?

For me, it’s the freedom that comes with creating a mixed media work. I could take an object like my broken spacebar and integrate it into my artwork and no one would bat an eye. For me, it’s more about freezing a moment in time on my canvas no matter how minute it may be, even while no one else may really understand its significance. 

Is there anything you’d like to try in the future? New software, certain art supplies?

I’m currently trying to teach myself 3D modeling, it’s a lot tougher than I was expecting, and how to code so I can use it to push my art further. I’m really into new media and digital art and I’d like to explore it in a lot more depth. As for traditional materials, I prefer pen and ink, any mistakes made can’t be erased, just improvised. 

Where do you find images for the collages? And do you have a theme for a collage before you start working?

I usually just take my own pictures since photography is something I enjoy, but I also do sometimes find pictures from magazines. I start off trying to stick with a specific theme but depending on where the network in my mind guides me, it might end up turning into something else altogether. The process is a lot more important than I tend to realize and I sometimes unwillingly find myself getting too caught up imagining what the final product would look like. 

Can you tell more about the Quarantine daze? How do you feel about isolation? And what impact did it have on you and your creative work? 

I actually spent half of my college semester online and Quarantine Daze was a product of one of the online assignments given to me by my teacher. There was no theme as such but just an exercise to learn the ins and outs of InDesign, which I used to create a quarantine journal. Being someone who loves to spend time with my friends, go out, and explore the world, even if on my own, I found the isolation to be agonizing. I spent it with my family which I’m really grateful for but it was still tough to not be able to leave my house. I found myself getting frustrated and feeling low but it definitely gave me a lot more time to pursue my creative ventures and learn more about myself as a person. The isolation forced me to use art as a way to release my pent up emotions since I couldn’t really go out to forget or run away from it.

As a journal junkie myself, I have to ask – how many journals do you have and what do you do with them after THEY’re filled in? Do you keep them?

I have so many that I bought a giant wooden box just for storing them, along with other mementos like keychains and small childhood toys. I started journaling all the way back when I was 11 in a notebook gifted to me for my birthday by a friend. I stopped journaling somewhere between middle school and high school, I’ve just recently started getting into it again. For now, I have one journal where I write down all my frustrations, my blessings, and my thoughts. It’s a place where I can display my feelings without any judgment. It’s full of small objects and pictures that I like or find, as well as words of motivation to myself. My second journal is my art journal where I sketch ideas, random doodles, and jot down inspirations. My last journal is the notes app on my phone, it’s just a dump for quick thoughts and ideas I have when I don’t have my physical journal with me or I’m just too lazy to write it down.

What are your goals and dreams?

Ideally, I’d love to see my work displayed in online and physical galleries, and just be able to reach a much wider audience.

So which galleries do you want to be in, like when will you be able to say “Ok, now my work is here, I made it”?

A dream of mine would be to have my art displayed at the MoMA, it’s actually one of the first galleries I ever visited. As a child who loved to draw stick figures and tape pieces of cardboard together, I was never really interested in visiting museums and galleries. However, I always had that passion for creating things, It didn’t matter where it would all end up (hopefully on our family refrigerator). It was only towards the beginning of high school, when I visited the MoMA, that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my art. Just being surrounded by the works of fellow creatives all in one place made me realize just how powerful the feeling of it all was. It would truly be an honor to have my works hung up amongst those of some of the most creative geniuses in existence. I too wish to inspire people.

Do you think artists can be ever creatively satisfied and do you give yourself permission to relax and be less judgemental Towards your art?

It’s definitely something you need to learn to do. While striving to do better is a great thing, it can ultimately lead to never being truly satisfied with your own work. At the end of the day, it is work that you’ve made, you’ve put in hours of time and effort into. That in itself is something that you should be proud of.

What is the hardest and the best part of being an artist for you?

I think the hardest part of being an artist is not getting lost in thoughts of how others are going to perceive your work, art is very subjective as it is and people are going to say whatever they want anyway. Oddly enough that is also the best part about being an artist, there’s so much room for thought, with all these varying opinions you can learn and grow from.

So how do you distance yourself from the opinions of others? Do you take advice as it is or you analyze it and accept only applicable parts for your work?

Although it can be a tough thing to do, once I’ve finished creating something I try my best to disconnect myself from the work as much as possible. While I’m receiving criticism, I like to think of the work as if it were made by someone else. I find that this helps me to maintain a balanced perspective and take advice without any bias. Just as criticism towards someone else’s work wouldn’t affect me too much I try to keep it the same with mine.

Follow Ish on Instagram and visit her website.

All the work is provided by Ish Patil. Thank you for reaching out to us, Ish! 💖

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