Published: 05th April 2018
A stroke of brilliance: Anuja Sethi tells us the intricacies of getting a bird painting right
After the success of Shop with Tanuja, Tanuja Sethi's online portal has decided to start painting workshops too
She has been painting since she was in school and painting full-time since 2013, but yesterday was the first time that TanujaSethi took a bird painting workshop, "I was very nervous," is all she says. And she wouldn't have thought of doing it had it not been for her friends, who insisted that she conduct the workshop for a limited batch of kids. Thank God (and her friends) she complied.
Sethi was born in Arunachal Pradesh, but has settled in Bhubaneswar. She did her Master's in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Institute of Media Studies, Bhubaneswar
If her name sounds familiar, then you've probably heard about or visited Shop With Tanuja, the portal through which she sells hand-painted cotton bags, handloom fabric, scarves, sarees and more. And if you have checked out her merchandise, then you'll know that Tanuja has a penchant for painting birds. "I remember sitting in my garden and clicking pictures of birds. Painting them comes naturally to me," laughs the 31-year-old. Birds like sparrows, shama and other local and wild varieties found in the coastal state of Odisha are what she paints and she encourages children to appreciate them as well. "I want to make kids familiar with the birds around them. I want them to observe birds and paint them and by doing so, bring children closer to nature," she says. And what she loves about painting birds is the detail.
Pretty things: A hand-painted scarf from Sethi's collection
Being an avid traveller who has been to cultural locations like Puducherry, Hampi and Aurangabad, she draws inspiration from nature, which proves to be extremely therapeutic for the Bhubaneswar-based artist. She even exhibits her products in exhibitions in Chennai and other cities. In fact, she has one coming up in Coimbatore on April 18 and 19, 2018.
Sethi uses acrylic and fabric paints to paint on plushies, tote bags, sling bags, accessories, tea towels and more. Apart from painting, she loves to travel solo and loves photography as well
Painting is her passion and through her workshop, she wants to share her passion with others and not just kids. "A lot of adults have also asked me to conduct workshops for them, so I might do that in the future," Tanuja says, cheerily adding that, "it's about time that adults get off their phones and indulge in something creative." She also finds the concept of adult colouring books really cool.
I don't consider myself an entrepreneur, I am simply an artist
Tanuja Sethi, artist
Speaking of Shop With Tanuja, which she quit her content writing job at a software company to start in 2013, Tanuja says that, "It's difficult to sell paintings otherwise, so I decided to paint on earthy products and sell those." Ask her how much she makes and she'll say the oddest thing — I don't know. All she knows is that, "I make enough to live and travel." She credits social media for the popularity of her products. "My products are not mass produced. Each one of them is painted with love and care. I can even do big orders if I'm given adequate time," says the artist. She concludes the conversation by urging us to purchase goods from small, local artists to support them rather than purchasing factory-produced goods.
To check out her products, click on shopwithtanuja.blogspot.in