Spotlight Interview with Iti Das discussing her portrait work practicers as well as selling her work through Artwork Portal

Where did it all begin for you?
I was artistic at school, but pursued a career in sales for various blue chip companies after my O levels in 1984, only returning to creating art from 2014 when I decided to leave behind the corporate world to develop my art practice full time.

Where or from who do you draw inspiration for your work?
I was always a fan of surrealism in the early days, which developed into enjoying abstract expressionism later in life. From Jackson Pollock to Franz Kline, to today’s contemporary figurative artists like Andrew Salgado and Henrik Aa. Uldalen, my appreciation of art and artists has expanded widely.

You seem to work in a few different mediums and materials – do you like to experiment with what you use to create art and how would you describe your artistic style?
I do enjoy experimenting, because I am still early in my development so I feel it’s essential to, learning on the job as such. My key starting point is colour and what value range will I work within, and whether it is a pure abstract or a figurative piece. For my semi portraiture, I tend to use black and white reference images only, enabling me a free license over the skin tone and colours used, building layers of oil paint into a figurative framework (like the face) or a landscape composition (such as a cityscape) that is neither too exacting in proportion, nor accurate in its realism versus the reference.

Why are your designs so different to other artists within the industry?
I believe that no matter how much one may admire or attempt to copy other artists’ works that inspire, a natural default style will emerge, which over time, becomes recognisable as your own signature style, looking nothing like your original muse or starting point. Realising this early thankfully, enabled me to be more confident on focusing solely on my own art, even if still experimental due to limited experience. I tend to work on large canvas, enabling me to be more relaxed and expressive with both colour palette and stroke types, where perhaps other artists are more muted and exacting in their portraiture.

How do you stay relevant and current in a world full of creatives?
Art trends will always remain fluid; therefore to worry about creating work that’s in fashion is not only stressful as an artist, but also creatively inhibiting. There are so many different profile buyers in the market; it’s actually easier to stay true to what you personally love and enjoy creating, than try to conform to a current trend or artwork genre that is seemingly popular. If the feedback on what you do create is strong within your current channels to market, you’re doing something right, and right now, my focus is solely on producing original artwork.

How has social media impacted on you as judging by your online presence you seem to embrace this?
I think many artists wish they were more proactive on social media, me included! However it has low cost of entry marketing for emerging artists like myself which you can ramp up, subject to where you are at with your practice, what budget you have available etc. to reach your prospective target audience. There are many creatives on-line, so for me, the key to is to maintain a quality and consistency in what I post, so it shows the journey of my practice from the start; and that I am here to stay!

How has your brand grown to be where it is now? What has contributed to your success?
There is always more that can be done, but in the first instance, creating a strong brand identity, even if it’s been just my name, has helped, alongside a solid website to optimise in search. Alongside using the relevant hash-tags, promoting via as many channels as your budget will allow, will widen reach and build brand recognition over time. Coming from a business background, I have worked hard to mitigate the type of risks associated with buying artwork (given its higher ticket value), ensuring accessibility for individual and commercial buyers alike. By registering as a VAT accredited business that accepts all payment types, consumer confidence and purchase protection is covered.

Have you worked with any galleries or brands or completed any important commissions you can share with us?
To date I have remained independent, focusing on direct sales opportunities generated through local open house art trail exhibitions (Ealing BEAT) and promoting in public exhibition stand venues such as Parallax. I have contributed several pro bono pieces to charitable events supporting local fund-raising initiatives, and most recently a piece for 2 local GP doctors, supporting the Portraits for NHS heroes, founded by Tom Croft.

Which projects are you really excited about for 2021 and are there any future plans you can share with us?
I have really missed seeing people. One of the most humbling aspects of being an artist, is how interested people are in you and your story, and why you create what you do. Such a simple business model and life compared to my old one, yet it remains very exciting to see how it may develop, I remain optimistic and will keep creating!

See a selection of work from Iti Das HERE

Tickets to Sussex Art Fairs, 2nd – 4th July are available HERE and also on EVENTBRITE

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