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Isha Pimpalkhare

Isha Pimpalkhare

Meet Indian textile and mixed media artist, Isha Pimpalkhare.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a textile and mixed media designer/artist, and I am currently in the process of moving back from London to Pune, which is my hometown. I have been in London for the past two years and recently graduated in MA Textiles from the Royal College of Art(RCA), London. Prior to this, I was in India, where I did my Bachelors in Design from the National Institute of Design(NID), Ahmedabad, and then went on to working in Bangalore for two years. Having lived in all these different places over the past 9 years, I sometimes lose my sense of belonging, but I think my heart will always be in Pune where I’ve spent a large part of my childhood.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I have spent the past two years in London, and its been amazing to be living in the heart of some of the biggest art and design influences. I think having studied at RCA I have come to meet some incredibly diverse thinking minds from all over the world. Its not been an easy transition to move here from India, as it comes with its own set of vulnerabilities and insecurities. I find it very difficult to adjust to new spaces, may it be moving to Bangalore after my Bachelors, or moving to London – finding a new routine and rhythm to my day every time. But the past two years here have really helped me understand myself a lot better, thanks to the tough city that London is, and hopefully, I deal with moving cities better, moving forward.

 

I have spent the past two years in London, and its been amazing to be living in the heart of some of the biggest art and design influences.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

The best part about living in London would be the different kinds of opportunities that this city presents and just how experimental and individualistic one can be in the expression of their work – makes you believe that any and every kind of creative expression could have a place for itself. The worst thing would be that it is very easy to feel very overwhelmed and small in a place which is bustling with all kinds of creatives – with just the sheer number of creatives trying to make a place for themselves.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Diverse

Individualistic

Overwhelming, at times

 

How did you start your career in art?

I think I was always inclined towards art and making. Growing up I did quite a lot of origami and pottery. In NID, we had to choose our area of specialization at the end of the first year of foundation studies. Textiles happened to be a very organic and instinctive choice for me. I like to work with materials, and am very hands-on with my process of work. Hence textiles seemed to be a very natural decision for me to take.

 

Textiles happened to be a very organic and instinctive choice for me. I like to work with materials, and am very hands-on with my process of work.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

I have definitely been quite lucky to have parents who were completely supportive of my decision and desire to pursue design/art as a career. In spite of both my parents being doctors, there was never any kind of pressure to get into a particular profession. Though I did notice how other people at times would respond to me having picked a creative profession in a way which was slightly belittling, which would anger me quite a bit.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

My long term goal as of now is to have my own independent practice, with a studio space that I have already dreamt up in my mind. But as for now, I definitely want to continue exploring my area of interest in integrating electronics and textiles. In the coming years, I would want to work and collaborate with like-minded individuals and explore my own potentials in the field of textiles before I take the bigger jump of having my own studio.

 

In the coming years, I would want to work and collaborate with like-minded individuals and explore my own potentials in the field of textiles before I take the bigger jump of having my own studio.

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Li Edelkoort, Ivy Ross, Hella Jongerius are women creatives I really look up to, and it would definitely be a dream to work and collaborate with them.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Growing up, my mum has always had a big influence on my life. She has always been a very strong opinionated person with a bit of a rebellious spirit, and I think I’ve got a bit of that rebel in me too. As for all my women friends, they all are I would say very strong, honest, and all very ambitious.

 

Growing up, my mum has always had a big influence on my life.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

My aunt, Ketaki Pimpalkhare, who is a painter and an artist, had quite an influence on me before I started my formal training in design. I remember I would visit her studio very often and would hang around and paint with her in her workspace. She would be painting these large canvases and her studio was just always so inspiring to be in. It was always the highlight of my week.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

I think safety is a factor females have to now consider by default when it comes to working as a professional. Other than that, other challenges which are not necessarily gender specific, would be dips of self-doubt that any creative goes through every once in a while – especially when just starting out and struggling to find the right kind of work.

 

I would say, we should all be fearless and really go deeper into our work of interest, find our individuality within it, and most importantly have a story to tell.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

I think finding a voice and a sense of identity within your work has become something very important to me, and something that I am still working at. I would say, we should all be fearless and really go deeper into our work of interest, find our individuality within it, and most importantly have a story to tell.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Isha Pimpalkhare.

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