This 27-year-old is making some unique mandalas and zentangles by adding comic characters to it 

In just one and a half year time, Shikhi Bhat has created paintings of many mandalas and zetangles and converted them into merchandise so that people can buy them
Shikhi Bhat with all her mandala paintings (Pictures:  Shikhi  Bhat)
Shikhi Bhat with all her mandala paintings (Pictures: Shikhi Bhat)

Mandalas are typically drawn and coloured in to instil spirituality and for the wellness of mental health. But Shikhi Bhat, an artist from Bengaluru, has been experimenting with mandalas by drawing them with everyone's favourite comic characters and superheroes. She explains the idea behind this, "I wanted to create mandalas in every form and theme. That's why I introduced comic characters in my art."

Like most professions, Shikhi's job as an architect was hectic and demanding. As a result, she underwent health issues. She recalls, "Right after my graduation, I worked for two different companies in two years. My health issues were at its peek and I decided to quit. That's when I took to drawing mandalas, zentangle art and murals. Initially, it was my hobby and I would draw them on a canvas, fibre material, wood and so on. Some of my family members and friends liked these mandalas and they started giving me orders. I would customise these artworks as per their requirement and they loved it too."

Isn't it true that the horizons of our thinking and creativity become broad with experiences? A similar instance happened with Shikhi also. One day, the thought came to her to experiment with mandalas and zentangles — she threw in comic characters too. "I have done zentangle art featuring Groot, a character from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Groot has a childlike innocence, loves music and he is always confused. So this artwork includes him removing the tape from a cassette. The tape is drawn in the zentangle format and Groot is distracted and trapped in the confusion again," explains this alumna of M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology.

Similarly, she has drawn Spider-Man, an iconic scene from The Lion King, baby Yoda from the Star Wars universe, Daenerys Targaryen — a strong and unrelentling ruler from Game of Thrones and many more. Among these is Wonder Woman, a character that can capture everybody's attention. Shikhi says, "With the Lasso of Truth, find what you truly want and go catch your dreams. These were my exact thoughts when I was painting Wonder Woman, by breaking the traditional mandala symmetry with a flowing zentangle pattern."

It has been more than one and a half years since Shikhi started making these unique mandalas and zentangle patterns. This 27-year-old recently turned most of her artworks into merchandise, including bookmarks, mousepads and a whole lot more. "The main idea behind turning artworks into merchandise was to make it affordable for everyone to buy. Usually, the paintings are sold for a higher price because we put in a lot of time and work into it. But some people cannot afford to buy paintings, therefore, merchandise became the best form to sell my artwork to people," says Shikhi, adding, "I plan to create many such merchandise including coasters, keyholders and so on."

Shikhi concludes by telling us that, "Five artists including me were supposed to hold an exhibition last year to sell our artwork and merchandise. But due to the pandemic, the exhibition was postponed. However, we finally put up the exhibition for five days in February. But the second wave of COVID-19 began right the  and now, here we are." And with that, she puts the struggles of an artpreneur into perspective for us. 

To take a look at her paintings, you can check her instagram page: artsy.shikhi

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