Tell us about yourself.
My name is Anoop-Caur and I am a traditional artist born and raised in Toronto.
Describe your style of art?
I haven't developed a distinct style yet as I am still exploring various mediums and subject matters but I mostly enjoy painting large canvasses and sculpting in clay and plaster.
How did you first get into your art?
I developed a serious interest in art during high school. Fortunately, I had a good teacher to help me push my creativity and I wanted to pursue it as a career. However, growing up in a strict, traditional family, my dreams were belittled by friends, family and relatives.
At what point did you realise you may excel in this?
To be honest, I still don't know if I will excel in this in terms of money and success however, I know that this is what my soul desires and I feel it's crucial to fulfil your desires in order to be happy in life. Money and success will come and go.
Considering the stereotype of some Asian parents, what do your family think about what you do?
My parents were not initially thrilled with my decision but they have become supportive of the choices I made over the years. They have seen my work and the amount of support and attention it gets from the community. It's been difficult but totally worth it.
How does inspiration find you for your art?
I do carry a sketchbook with me, in which I doodle and write random things often. The internet is a world of inspiration as well. I save whatever strikes an idea or is appealing on my phone or computer. I have a handful of amazing and artistically inclined friends who provide advice and inspire me too.
Have you gone through a period when inspiration has been hard to come by?
Of course. Just like writer's block, artists occasionally will hit a creative block or artist's block. The way you deal with blocks, depends on the reason of the block though. If it's emotional you learn to cope with those situations and move on, if it's financial, you have to find creative ways to make money to make more art. As an artist, I've learned that blocks are perfectly healthy and natural, in time you find your groove again.
Take us through your creative process.
My creative process is spontaneous. When an idea hits me, I usually plan it out in a mind map or I make a list of everything in my head whether it makes sense or not. The time it takes to execute an idea, depends on a number of factors – interest, money, size, materials etc. For example, many times I over think ideas and lose interest in it halfway so I never finish it or if it's a large piece it can range anywhere from 20-60+ hours on a single piece.
Who are your artistic inspirations?
I draw inspiration from many different artists including Dali, Frida Kahlo, Arpana Caur, The Singh Twins etc. However, my biggest inspiration has always been, Ma. She's been my biggest critic but also my strongest supporter.
I've also teach art to kids between the ages of 4-13. I've been teaching part time for almost 3 years now and it's truly been a life altering experience. Being able to work with such inspiring, young, crazy little minds has been a major factor in my motivation and work ethic. They remind me to nurture my inner child and create without fear, love without boundaries, and how to dream, be persistent and be content.
How do you find showcasing your creations?
Visual communication has always been my forte so I'm not really good at articulating my thoughts verbally therefore preparing for a showcasing of my work is necessary. I write down my thoughts sometimes which helps me explain my feelings and concept to others more effectively. I also get advice from close friends for confidence and assurance before releasing a piece.
Tell us about a particularly popular creation and why you feel it was so appreciated.
My first “big” art piece was one I did for a local event, hosted by The Sikh Activist Network called, Tears and Ashes. I had to dig through a lot of books and internet sources to create this piece, which I called 1984, Never Forget.
It is a glorious portrait of Indira Gandhi from afar. However, the background consists of a fraction of reported victim names and addresses while Indira Gandhi's face is made up of the words, “Justice” along with the names of alleged perpetrators involved in the genocide. It struck many people emotionally and the large scale of it attracted a lot of attention at more than one event. It was showcased a few times.
What would you consider your biggest achievement as an artist thus far?
I believe that I haven't achieved much, other than experience. I also think achievements are overrated. Don't get me wrong, you should take pride in being able to accomplish your goals but I owe Maharaj (God) for it all.
Instead of achievements, I suppose I have some goals – I would like to teach art in the future, share my work with the world and ultimately inspire young people to pursue their passion and create change in the world instead of just chasing after the dolla dolla bills, na'mean?
How do you look to improve as an artist?
I have a long way to go. I hope to become better at creating work fearlessly and more confidently so I can develop my own distinct style. I also want to be able to inspire others as an artist as well, especially young Sikh artists.
What do you do to relax?
I like to work out regularly, watch movies, read books, explore the city (or nature), and visit art galleries and museums to relax. Doing things alone helps tune the mind and body.
Tell us about the relationship between Sikhi/Punjabi background and your art.
Being a Punjabi-speaking Sikh and coming from a very rich culture of Punjabi Sikhs, I do feel that a lot of my work is inspired by and has a strong relationship to my background. I have an urge to maintain a connection to my roots so I am attracted to mostly punjabi culture and Sikh philosophy. I want to preserve whatever is left of our quickly diminishing history and pass it on to my kids through my artwork.
In an ideal world, where would you like your art to take you in life?
Ideally, I would like to take my work internationally. I want to have it displayed in galleries across the world. Ultimately, I just want to teach, create, and share art with others.
If you could showcase your work anywhere in the world, where would you do it and why?
I don't have a particular place in mind but honestly, it'd be an honour to showcase my work anywhere.
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