Shweta Ektare has a head for numbers and figures and was determined to become a chartered accountant.
A good, diligent student, she did become a qualified chartered accountant. But then, instead of auditing accounts as most in this extremely tough to get into profession do, Shweta chartered her own course, a creative one.
Endowed with keen interest, as well as aptitude as recognised of her artistic abilities by even her nursery teacher and much later winning the Governor’s prize for her painting when she passed out from her school in Madhya Pradesh, her heart was always in drawing and painting.
But like in all good middle-class families, it was studies first, and she too liked studies and studying.
“I was always academically inclined and was also very determined to achieve scholastically and was targeting to become a chartered accountant. And I did qualify as a chartered accountant, but my heart was not in it,” she said. Sitting for long hours, pouring through account books, tallying, counting the beans and spotting mistakes, was her training, but she was clear it was not her cup of tea.
So, she decided to take a leap of faith and became a visual artist, doing full-time art as a career. By qualification I am a chartered accountant, but I am an artist,” she told Tricity Scoop in a chat over the telephone from Bangalore, where she is now settled. What does her family think about her stupendous hard work in academics going “waste” as a painter?
“I am fortunate that the family totally supported it, and in fact, I am very happy that I chose to become an artist for the amount of creative satisfaction it gives me expressing my thoughts, feelings, instincts and sentiments through creative art,” she said adding “even my husband understands this creativity aspect as he himself is a hobby writer and does food blogging purely out of interest.
What her grounding in CA and exposure to the corporate world have done is equip her to deal with the business aspects that most creatively artistic persons are lacking totally. She does understand how businesses operate on how to do the costing and pricing of her artwork much better than many others like her, simply because she has trained for that. Incidentally, it was a chance, a random opportunity that came her way when she was in her CA Finals for doing an art mural when she realised that she could make a career out of her passion.
She has a distinct advantage as compared to other artists, because she understands the overall structure of businesses and how they operate. Maybe cost calculations really help, she admitted. She is selling her unique artwork through her website. She also takes on custom projects based on requirements like decor/ themes, etc. She does corporate workshops and works on the art therapy aspect as well.
Shweta can evaluate the creativity quotient and put an appropriate, and even competitive price for it and more importantly she can persuade the corporates on the valuation front. “Most corporates do work under budgets, and it is understandable. But where I come in is in making them appreciate the real value of an artist and art product – a painting, mural, sculpture etc – through creating awareness about these aspects which they are not familiar with,” the artist in Shweta said warming up to the subject.
Social media is the tool she is using to market her wares, and create awareness – by exhibiting her creations, and posting information on the value and valuation of works of arts, the degree of difficulty involved in it, the man hours spent, and the creativity quotient, and the like, which most often is Greek and Latin to most people in other professions, especially in the business arenas of the corporate sector that regularly spends money on arts and artists.
Shweta, making a very decent living out of her life as an artist, however, is concerned over the ill-treatment of artists and more important, cheating that goes on that deprives genuine artists of the fruits of their labour. Often, people download pictures of works of art and get a lesser-known and inexpensive artist to copy the same onto a canvas. The original artist is thus deprived of money he or she rightfully deserves, Shweta said adding that “I have begun an awareness campaign on this aspect and am working with few artists on fighting this menace.”
She also has plans to help artists not so business savvy by forming either a collective or an organisation to enable them to earn their rightful living. At present, she collaborates with other artists on different art projects.