Artist Spotlight #46: Ayesha Aggarwal

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Ayesha Aggarwal. Photo credit: Elle Dawson Scott

Adelaide at this time of the year produces magnificent looking flowers and what better way to showcase such beauteous flora then to utilise Ayesa Aggarwal’s stunning pots. In our latest spotlight, Ayesha talks about her “schizophrenic” style and her favourite watercolourist.

Q: Hello Ayesha! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

A: Hi! I’m an Indian-born artist working in Adelaide.  I work part-time in publishing and spend the rest of my time making ceramics.

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Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?

A: I always find inspiration in the work of other artists but lately I’ve been finding it out in the streets too. I’ve become really obsessed with leaves – their shapes, their colours, and their varieties.

I used to think I had a black thumb and could never keep plants alive so I could never have imagined that someday I would have a bunch of healthy plants that I would obsessively put on the side of pots, but there you go.

Q: Do you have a preferred medium?

A: I’ve worked with a few different mediums before but nothing has really stuck with me like clay has. I love the versatility of it, there are so many ways to form it and alter it and decorate it. There’s nothing like getting your hands stuck into a ball of clay.

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Q: How would you describe your style?

A: I’d say my style is kind of schizophrenic. I love experimenting and trying new things so it’s almost a challenge to make the same thing twice. In fact, I don’t think I have actually succeeded at making any two things exactly alike yet. Some of my work is clean and simple whilst some is super detailed. I guess it depends on my mood and what inspires me in that moment.

Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?

A: My artistic process it a bit of a roller coaster. Sometimes I feel really stuck and end up scrawling on Pinterest or Instagram for hours looking at other artists’ work and filing away a shape away here or there. But once I bite the bullet and get stuck into making I find that one thing leads to another and all of a sudden I’m having a new idea that I love more than anything I’ve done before.

I don’t really work from a plan but I’m trying to change this habit and make some sketches before I decorate my pots. It means that instead of having pots where one element doesn’t quite work and throws the whole piece off, I can refine the design before it goes onto the clay. It’s the same with throwing on the wheel. I used to let the clay dictate what form I made, but I’ve learned that when I have a shape that I’m aiming for, the results are always better.

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Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?

A: To be honest I haven’t thought that far ahead yet. The response to my work has taken me completely by surprise and I’m only really coming to terms with what the next few months will look like right now. All I really want is to be able to keeping making things that I love and hopefully they’ll find homes with people who love them as much as I do.

Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?

A: I love Kate Pugsley. She’s an American artist who makes these beautiful, whimsical watercolour paintings of ladies and plants. I’ve been coveting her work for ages.

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Q: What is your favourite gallery?

A: I actually adore the NGV. I went to art school in Melbourne and being able to see the work of the artists that we were studying at the time was pretty magical. I flew there earlier this year to check out the Andy Warhol and Ai Wei Wei exhibition and just felt so excited to be there. It was totally inspiring.

Q: Where can we find more of your work?

A: I’m beyond thrilled to be stocked at both Urban Cow Studios and E for Ethel and I try to post all my work on my Instagram. I’m working on getting a website up and running but in the meantime taking orders via Instagram from some lovely patient customers.

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Q: If you could include a new category for the Nobel Prize, what would it be?

A: I want to say a Nobel Prize for Humour or Art because I don’t think we would be human without either of them.

– Masya Zabidi

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