Last week I gave a Ted-style talk on why I think art matters in our loves and in our homes. It was presented live at the Make it British online event, and I wanted to share it with you too! Enjoy!
You can also watch on and subscribe to my YouTube channel. There are subtitles available, and the transcript is below if you need to read as well as watch. I’d love to hear what you think, so leave a comment here or on youtube, or email me. Sign up to my email list as well for more at www.aratidevasher.com
I am not sponsored by any brands and nothing has been gifted by brands either (just some presents from friends and family).
Just ask any questions you might have in the comments! I’ll do my best to help you out.
Hi. I’m Arati. Welcome to my studio. Today’s video is a little bit different from my usual. Last week I gave a TED-style talk for the Make it British
live event and I spoke on the importance of art in our lives and in our homes. I thought you might like to see it, so here it is – enjoy!
Hi everyone! I’m Arati, I run Arati Devasher Illustration where I make my artwork into cards, art prints, postcards and tea towels and more.
Please feel free to ask any questions in the live chat and I will answer them at the end of my little talk.
To begin with, I’d like to tell you a story about a little girl who used to doodle in the margins of her textbooks. She grew up and went to art school, and then went to a graphic design job, moved on to freelance work, and along the way, her mental health and physical health
both went up and down.
And through it all she drew and painted and created, and was surrounded by art on all sides. And the more she looked at that art, the more she drew confidence and inspiration from it, and it helped her way through life. From the patterns and colours of the textiles that people around her wore, to the colours and textures of the food of the culture she came from, artistic beauty in the natural world, and of course, all around, the art that covered the walls of her home both as a child and even now, as an adult.
That little girl was me. An introvert in a world made for extroverts, it was hard to come out of my shell, but art was the thing that helped me do it. By drawing and painting I could express what I couldn’t put into words or communicate to anyone around me. It was cathartic to spill my feelings onto paper and canvas, and have them out of my overfull brain and heart. It always amazed me how much better I felt afterwards.
It was even more amazing to see how that artwork, created from feelings of happiness and joy, or pain or sorrow, could inspire a reaction in other people. They saw something completely different in my work from what I saw in it. And that I could make them so happy was an inspiration to make more art – not everyone liked every painting I made – some liked one, other people liked a different one.
Gradually, I realised that art has a different meaning to everyone. They each see something different in a piece, and that’s affected by their own personality, their life experience, and even their particular mood on the day that they viewed that piece of art.
As Joan Miro said, “You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can look at the same picture for a second and think of it all your life.”
Various research papers have suggested that pleasure is derived by the interaction between emotion processing in the brain and the reaction of the beholder to the artwork. So when you see art, it affects your mood. The colour, the feel, the aura it exudes – happiness, sorrow, fear, longing, anger – all of these can be contained in a single piece of art.
It’s also believed that viewing art can even give you a feeling similar to a dopamine boost, kind of like falling in love. Art in your surroundings has also been observed to reduce stress and depression – that is, if it’s the right piece of art. Because everyone reacts differently to artwork, and a disturbing piece of art could cause untold distress over time.
For someone trying to deal with a lot of anger, for example, an angry piece on the wall could either be a reminder to control that anger, or a piece just to rage at in privacy when you need to.
People who suffer with social anxiety may do best with calming artwork in their space, a peaceful oasis to come back to and recharge when they need to, especially after a lot of interaction.
An introvert like myself enjoys pieces in which I can find a deeper meaning, and kind of weave stories about in my own head.
An extrovert may need art that inspires and energises, for those moments when alone-time is kind of stifling to them.
If you feel overwhelmed and you can’t decide on art for your space, all you have to do is feel. Stop thinking with your head and start thinking with your heart and soul. From something as simple as “Do I like the
colours?” to “What does this piece of art mean to me?” ”Do I connect with it?” “Will I enjoy looking at it each and every day?” “Does it make me laugh?”
Focus on what you love about the piece or what is meaningful to you. And when you feel that most vital connection, you’ll just know. You’ll think “This has to come home with me, right now!” And, even better for your state of mind, will be the knowledge that you made an artist – if they’re living – very very happy by falling in love with their work. It’s the ultimate compliment for you to connect with their expression of their soul, and it’s a feeling unlike any other.
So, coming back to my story… Eventually, the little girl I was stopped drawing and painting just general things and began to illustrate the subjects that meant a great deal to me. I love food, so I draw it rather a lot as you can see. Animals and plants are important in my work, so that became a constant theme. The quirky and whimsical side of my personality started to surface along with the confidence that comes from deep thinking and growing up. So I drew things that had deeper meaning than the colourful surface maybe showed. My own health and mental state of mind are reflected in these pieces, and throughout my sketchbooks.
As making my art has done for me, I want my artwork to bring you joy, to create a visual feast in your home, and help you make your space feel more like you. I want you to look around you every day and feel happy, to see beauty and inspiration, and to feel fulfilled and content.
Art absolutely has the power to lift your spirits and be sort of transformative to your home – original art, prints, sculptures and even bespoke art made just for you. From a thing as small as a postcard propped against a stack of books, to a few frames in a gallery wall or a huge mural, even.
So, whether you live in your parents’ home with just one room to decorate, or in a dorm room that needs to be more personal and less sterile, a rental apartment – grimy and grungy as it might be, a first home that you can do whatever you want with, or even your perfect forever like ideal happy home…
Art is what makes it feel complete. It’s the finishing touch, adding your personality, more than any fixtures and fittings ever could. Because the art that you buy and hang on your walls is personal. You made a connection with it, and that’s why you brought it into the most intimate place of all – your home.
Even better, there are different ways in which particular pieces of art can transform a space. I’m going to use use some of my own work to illustrate this point.
Bold colours such as the ones in these Papaya and Pomegranate
prints can add a punch of colour to your space. It’s an easy way to add colour without having to invest in painting your walls, especially if you’re in a rental.
If you’re an avid cook, a kitchen chart is both useful and beautiful. Or a foodie print if you can’t cook but aspire to it.
Calming colours and the sense of space in this whimsical Zesty Escape print are also offset by the little person hanging off the balloons… And if you’re someone who has always dreamed of adventure but unable, for whatever reason, to go on one, this could provide some inspiration.
The food Mandala prints are quite zen. This one is the Gin Mandala. Again, calming colours offset by white and line-work can really help with a feeling of contentment.
Every day I look at art – my own, online, in museums, in other people’s homes – to feed my psyche and my soul. I look at art to refresh myself, not just because I am an artist, but because I want to rejuvenate my creativity by admiring that of others, well known or obscure. By acquiring the work of up-and-coming artists, young artists, whose work appeals to you, you can ensure that they are able to continue with their creative processes and to flourish, as well as investing into the long-term future of the whole arts community at large.
I hope that I’ve encouraged you to fill your home with art that you love, and make it an extension of your soul. A place that you can retreat to when you need it, and enjoy no matter what your mood.
As George Bernard Shaw said “You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”
I’m happy to be able to answer any questions you have now in the live chat. After that, feel free to use the chat button on my website, or sign up to my email list or even like follow me on YouTube… plus my instagram DMs are always open to you as well!
Thank you so much for listening. Bye!