Friday, September 25, 2015

Meet Shalini Prasad of Desha Creative (Featured Artist)

Here at TECD, we applaud people who strive to follow their dreams, people who dare to take the path less traveled, people who are passionate about what they believe in and people who inspire through their work. For this very reason, I take pride in showcasing the stories of artists and journeys of creative individuals behind a brand. Today, we take a look at the art portfolio of a new age artist Shalini Prasad. Does the name sound familiar? Yes, we’ve been introduced to Shalini earlier when we took a grand tour of her beautiful New Jersey home. With an educational background in architecture and a Master’s of Science in Design, Shalini aspired to pursue an independent and interdisciplinary creative path. She currently splits her time between her consultancy service “Desha Creative”, (specializing in brand identity, advertising, print and web design) and creating unique mixed media art. 
When I first got acquainted with Shalini’s work, it immediately came across as contemporary expressionism of her Indian roots. Her work is equal parts of beauty, authenticity and a willingness to experiment to find her distinct personal style. The end result being a patchwork collage of textures, exploration of various mediums fused with energetic colors and a translation of her love for predominantly all things Indian. Do join me while I chat up with Shalini and pick her brain to know more about her creative journey.
TECD: Hello Shalini! It’s always a pleasure collaborating with you. Let’s start by asking you how did Desha Creative take shape?
Shalini: “I have illustrated for as long as I can remember... 6 is perhaps when I started doodling caricatures (on the margins of my notebooks) and rendering eyes....lots of eyes (creepy I know). Mostly self-taught (interspersed with a few gallery workshops in my grown-up years), I started with pencil and charcoal and naturally progressed to the calligraphic pen and acrylic paints. But all along I used this more as a bonus skill/technique to enhance my academic and professional work in architecture and graphic design. It never was given enough seriousness or attention to blossom on its own accord. I did paint and draw for my mom's living room walls and left it at that for a while. 

It was three years ago, thanks to a bit of a lull in my design projects, that I inadvertently switched the roles, and this time used my graphic design expertise to enhance my fine arts work. I digitally applied textural overlays onto my free hand renderings, creating a new dimension with color, texture and space. The result is what I like to call digital mixed media art. I experimented more and more with this technique, creating high resolution scans of my freehand work and messing around with it, with the help of Adobe Creative Suite. I started to really enjoy the outcome. With no real business intent I happened to share some of my work with friends... Voila! Before I knew it "DeSha Creative Design Studio", soon became "DeSha Creative Design Studio and Art Shop."
TECD: Clearly, your work reflects your India roots. What aspect of India, talks to you? 
Shalini:"My obsession is many fold- there is the color, texture, materials, and patterns, and then there is the garb, and the culture. Coupled with my predilection toward portraiture and lifestyle, the result is what you see. The overall vibrancy that our culture has to offer is so striking from a graphic standpoint that it's too exciting to resist. I do steer in different directions such as nature, but seem to come right back to this overarching theme. I love the idea of introducing a bold modern graphic look to these traditional and simple themes.  My work as a designer and artist is surely an extension of my biography and Indian heritage. It is as simple as that.”
A glimpse at the process of bringing an idea to life
TECD: Do tell us more about your creative process?
Shalini: “I am afraid my creative process is a bit murky. I can be thrilled to bits with a final piece and completely clueless as to how I got there. What I do religiously (and inadvertently) apply to all my fine art pieces when I take to the digital realm, is my strong sense of graphic and color and keen sensitivity to space and structure. There is a general methodology though that I follow, with some steps on repeat... 
 -I am inspired
-After a bit of ideation, I create a sketch with pencil, pen or paint with acrylics (this could take from a few minutes to few days)
-I scan the free-hand art work to create a high resolution digital format 
-I rummage through my collection of some wonderful fabric scraps or fabric from my ethnic/rustic furnishings around the home
-I look at some older color dabs I have made on canvas or paper or messy color washes that my girls have made (I dig the brush strokes that kids fearlessly make)
-I create a visual combination of these various textures and then scan what appeals to me that instant
-I then juxtapose my scanned art with the found textures using a combination of design software tools
-I mess with it for hours on the computer 
-I stand at a distance and stare at the screen
-I continue to mess with the lines and the overlays, and the spatial arrangement with particular attention to the negative space (I believe there is beauty in the negative) 
-After much improvisation, there comes a point when I know that what I am staring at, is just right. I can’t describe it but it’s a good feeling.

That is how things get created at DeSha- organic and visceral and ridiculously playful!”
Divi Divi was part of a recent group exhibition at Gallery U in Westfield

TECD: On a cerebral level, what is it that you would like to convey through your art?
Shalini: “My subjects are fairly commonplace and simple- the Tree of all seasons, The Milkman, The Saree Pallu and the like. I find no reason to invent a new universe because there is much beauty in our traditional environment and culture to take cues from.I find no reason to conjure up a set poignant tale behind each piece, because I would like them to be vulnerable and accepting of one’s own interpretations.

For me the means is as important as the end. My approach and process is where lies the basis for the story behind each piece.

I would like to harbor the thought that my audience derives comfort from the familiarity of the subject, a sense of intrigue by the layers behind it, and a bit of excitement from the associations they make.

As a mixed media artist, I hope to put a smile on your face and a bit of wonder in your eyes… the meaning you take away, is your own.” 

 TECD: Where do you see your self in the next five years?
Shalini: “A solo exhibition in Manhattan!”
Commissioned artwork for a newly wed bride
Ambitious, Unique, Creative and Authentic – a lethal combination that’s bound to be a household name on the contemporary art scene. Wishing Shalini loads of luck and happiness. To view her complete art folio click here. Shalini is on FB page and Instagram, so go ahead and push that follow button to stay connected with her. For price inquiries and print specifications, write to Shalini at 

Image Credit/Copyright : Shalini Prasad - Desha Creative. The images may not be used without prior written permission from the artist. 


  1. Beautiful artwork - and the colours are ever so vibrant. Especially loved the saree and the matka paintings. Great post Sruthi.

  2. Vibrant and very Indian... Just too good. congratulations and here is to Manhattan


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