Fine, fun pieces define the work of talented visual artist, Hema, who uniquely blends the scientific and creative to produce spectacular graphic prints. One piece may depict fruity coffee as well as the curvy, plump beans of which the popular drink is comprised while another might deconstruct a woman with a frilly umbrella into several slender dancers with the brolly transformed into three webbed tutus. Interestingly, Hema currently works fulltime as a scientific research assistant in vaccine development where her budding artistry provides a complementary escape: “I feel free painting,” the young artist commented. “It’s where I am able to exercise entirely another part of my brain – I don’t need to solve an equation or manage volatile chemicals. It’s relaxing and provides a break from what is an otherwise intense job.” In fact, Hema’s art demonstrates a merging of two worlds where precise observation is exploded within the imagination. There exists an almost analytical attention to detail applied to the wonder of the everyday, ultimately colourfully celebrating it.
“There is definitely a relationship between my work in the lab and the images I create – I enjoy nature, both animals and people, and this is at the heart of my work.” In short, the artist emphatically focuses on the vitality of life. “My formative works would include sketches of cells and a painting I have completed of Hydrangea flowers is actually hanging up in the common room at my workplace!” Hema’s regularly commissioned pieces are often of personal nostalgic moments which are requested by clients e.g., a couple laughing on their wedding day, individual and group portraits and babies and pets. These, too, contain the artist’s signature flourish where ordinary but significant moments are dreamily embellished. For example: there’s trendy soulfulness in her depiction of modern romance and big-eyed joy radiates from the charismatic illustration of a young child.
Hema also creates landscapes, experimenting with representative and abstract art: two red phone booths brightly beckon you into the moody backdrop of London, for example, and flamingos don’t just walk, but seem to dance together in the water in another. “Van Gogh is one of my favourite inspirations,” Hema concluded, “and his work ’Sunflowers’ is beautiful. I love the hidden depth to his work.” Indeed, in that one simple piece, the legendary artist encapsulates the grand paradox that is both life and death. Finally, not only does Hema epitomise the allure of strong engaging art, but also illuminates its enigmatic secret for us: to not simply appear striking, but further intellectually compel.
Is your artwork primarily showcased on Instagram, or will we find it hanging in other places too?
Yes, but I do have works in coffee shops and would love to get work into physical galleries at some point.
Would you like to become a painter fulltime?
I have only just started my career in science and am enjoying it so perhaps not in the near future. However, I would love to see where the commissioned works take me. I am still enjoying exploring within the discipline too e.g. I recently got into digital art and have painted a few works, playing around. It is not exactly the same experience as traditional paints but very interesting.
Do you use a diverse range of mediums usually?
Yes! I have been using acrylics, charcoal, oils, inks and watercolours. I enjoy inks in particular. I’ve also just put down the implements and used my fingers and pieces of raw material such as cardboard to capture an idea. I love the experimental hands-on element. I think this general approach allows me to best produce a particular piece.
What has been a highlight moment?
When one of my paintings was hung at the coffee shop where I worked. That was wonderful. I also enjoy hearing the feedback from customers who’ve enquired after the pieces and even asked me to do more pieces for them.
What makes a strong visual artist?
Of course, the attention to detail. Also, patience is crucial. Often you are building up layers as you paint. You also have to be creative and think about your pieces properly – the little things can be enough to inspire you.
Finally, what is your advice to other up-and-coming artists?
Start by exploring every style and medium and try to identify what works for you. Take pictures - that can be very good for inspiring unique pieces of interesting art. Also, don’t overthink it and take breaks! Sometimes looking at the same piece for hours can be counterproductive. It is important to keep perspective!