We had the good fortune of connecting with Ambika Thiagarajan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ambika, why did you pursue a creative career?
I always knew that I had a problem with understanding and channeling my emotions. I know I’m a really sensitive and emotional person but I didn’t know how to interpret the complexity of it. Being an avid over thinker, I wanted to dig further into the world of all these feelings I was experiencing and explore it in another forum. In middle school, I started pursing different forms of artistic expressions. I learnt South-Indian traditional dancing (Bharathnatyam), singing and took several after-school Art lessons. This led to late night sketchbook drawings, painting on my bedroom walls, and constantly reading about anything related to the world of Art. Around high school was when I decided Math and Science just wasn’t doing it for me and I instead want to choose a path of self-expression and share it with the world. Ever since I made that decision, I have been throwing myself onto the canvas. I even attended Acting School in between which only furthered my love for creativity and expression. I was very much in touch with my feelings as I went through different Acting exercises and performances. It helped me experience my emotions in ways I never knew possible. I finally narrowed down and engaged myself wholly in drawing and painting. I knew this was going to help me gain a better understanding of myself and simply just lay all my emotions out in the open in the means of color, form and texture. That’s how I fell in love with the act of creativity. I feel very safe within the realms of creativity. I feel like I can fly and experience an ultimate level of liberation within the strokes of my brushwork. With the different tones demonstrating light and shade, I feel like I can be a part of different weather conditions, periods of time and release my million personalities, without the fear of being judged, onto paper. This is why it was important that I entered the world of Abstract Art to be one with that ultimate level of freedom and in a way, what felt like pure love to me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started off as a realistic artist by painting Still Lives, Portraits and Landscapes. I soon realized that I wasn’t experiencing my calling the level I wanted to. Representation wasn’t cutting it for me, I needed more. Something just didn’t feel right. After I moved to Baltimore where I attended the Maryland Institute College of the Arts, I began observing my peers and realized the importance of thinking out of the box and how that was so freeing. I found it so fascinating to challenge myself to come up with unique visuals. I realized that a lot of the amazing Artists around me were digging from within their life stories to create their work. So I started doing the same. I began writing on bits of paper and created images based on the writing. Writing helped because it told my story and I needed some kind of base to start my studio work. A professor once told me that all Abstract Artwork came from somewhere-they always had a root. So I started exploring what my root could be and worked day and night in my studio until I just couldn’t stop creating. It was so freeing! I think the greatest lesson I’ve learnt so far in my journey is to simply stick to your goals, whatever they maybe, and to turn off the negative voices in your head. Write down on a piece of paper what is most important to you, and make sure it’s the first thing you see when you wake up. It really helps me stay focused.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The two things I do mostly out here in SoCal is go on fun hikes and eat tons of amazing food! I definitely recommend the Torrey Pines hike in La Jolla, what with the beautiful cliffs and stunning ocean sights. I remember my mother describing the curves of the cliffs mimicking the shape of human fingers. Right after that hike, don’t forget to grab a Taco at The Taco Stand! Their tacos are simply delicious and their dessert churros are out of this world!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Definitely a lot of credit goes to my family who has been there for me ever since I picked up a pencil, to attending most of my Art Shows. Also, the constant support from my best friends who have been huge pillars of support in my life and remind me to never stop dreaming.