MUSEUM

OF

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EST. 2018

In Conversation with Manasi Eswarapu

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"Friends" by Manasi Eswarapu. Oil on canvas.

Below is discussion between Canvas Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Herko and artist Manasi Eswarapu

LINDSAY

 

What would you title this piece of art? Does the title ever change for you as you look at it over time?

 

MANASI

           

I would title this piece “Friends” right now, but it does change fairly often. When I first finished it, my focus was on the figure sitting up, so I named it after her. Later it switched to the other figure. Now I’m more drawn to the relationship between them, their friendship.

 

LINDSAY

When I look at the piece, I am drawn in by the relationship, and by the tactile realism of the figures and their touch. There seems to be an absence of light in the back of the space. Yet an intuitive day-dreaming makes me think by the light upon the figures, it may be a warmer season, and the viewer’s eye may be walking in on this private moment.  It's funny how the brain starts to match art with deeply intuitive narrative inventions. So, let me ask you: what would you ideally like the viewers of this work to see?  

 


MANASI

           

I’m interested by how the interruption of a private moment can be derived from this painting. That makes me happy as I hope people feel a connection between the figures. Whether it be an intimate or casual, I’d hope for people to see a genuine relationship and maybe be reminded of their own.

LINDSAY

 

Did you create this piece based on a concept or did the process of making art begin to show you a story?
 

 

MANASI

           

I based this painting off of an old photo of my mom and her friend. I changed the colors around a lot with the objective of making a dream-like image to encapsulate the age of that moment which now exists primarily in memory.

LINDSAY

 

What do you know about the figures in the art piece that your viewers would not?

 

 

MANASI

           

The figures were friends in college who have no method of contacting each other today more than thirty years later.

LINDSAY

 

What were the challenges creating this piece? It's filled with such beautiful nuance. Were their elements you wrestled with or any lessons you learned about yourself in the process?

 

MANASI

           

There were technical feats especially because figure painting/drawing is a place I struggle a lot. However, the hardest part was probably the faces. To make them look like the people in the photo wasn’t too difficult but making them express the same emotions was very challenging. Mainly because I couldn’t name the emotions on their faces! They’re pensive and solemn, but also happy. I’m still not sure. I really had to think about them away from the studio before approaching it.

LINDSAY

 

What other humans or artists have inspired you along the way?  

 

MANASI

           

My mom inspires me. She can be so true and expressive with her emotions and her stories, I really believe art needs that. It needs to be true to its creator, no matter the medium.

 

LINDSAY

 

At what point did you begin to recognize yourself as an artist?

 

 

MANASI

           

I honestly don’t recognize myself as an artist. I definitely did when I was younger but then I recognized a difference between artists and non-artists, creatives and non-creatives. Sometimes that divide can seem totally baseless. I think anyone could do what I do if they were given the opportunity. People do express themselves in creative ways everyday maybe they don’t have an audience, and maybe they don’t need one! Though it sounds idealistic and silly, everyone is in some way an artist.

My mom inspires me. She can be so true and expressive with her emotions and her stories, I really believe art needs that. It needs to be true to its creator, no matter the medium.

Manasi Eswarapu is a native to Central New Jersey. Her work uses colors found in her early childhood. Depicting family members, the garments they wore, the places they rested, or stories they told, she works towards a recollection of her specific past for anyone to relate to. In her paintings, Manasi creates dreamy atmospheres with color palettes reminiscent of candy. Her experimentation with colors is also present in the dyes of her textile work. The bed spreads, pajamas, pillows, and clothes observed when she was little ground the earthy subtle tones woven in her projects. The playful yet distant expression in her work evokes a hazy remembrance.