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Sej Joshi

Take us to the beginning of your story as an artist. 

I believe the story begins with the compiled various moments as a child where I was gravitated by a few elements I saw, a particular lace for instance I came across which my grandmother was using while she was making a blouse, or doilies at someone’s place for tea, women tying up their hair a certain way, and or the play of light when it falls on things around us, later I had a name for this trail of interests which turned out to be my deep interest for English literature and poetry, the time of victorian era, followed by classical realism in arts. 

Tell us about the evolution of your practice over the years and your commitment to your style of work.

I always knew I was creative but my practice began when I dropped out of everything, and by that I even mean the cumulated ideology of how one should be in their early twenties, and what they ought to do, I thoroughly immersed myself in practicing painting somewhere around beginning of 2013 and I must say in hindsight that changed my life, I do remember I was very reluctant of painting in oils but the moment I switched – there was no going back! That itself led me to painting very prolifically through the years, diving deeper into academic portraits and classical realism and having a sufficient amount of practice, winning me an award at Florence academy of art as the winner of their scholarship where I for the very first time got a little formal introduction to art. That was magical to me, it was a sign!  And since then, I have continued to practice and be an avid learner in this realm of work.

What trends have you observed in the art world? How do you foresee it evolving? 

At present I believe the contemporary art scene is a breath of fresh air. I definitely see its expansive reach given the exposure through social media as well!

What do you do when you’re not in front of a canvas? What do you do to unwind yourself?

I actually go to the canvas to unwind myself ! To be present without a collateral dialogue. Another similar space is when I do yoga, that space is magical to me. I am also trying to get better at roller skating, I keep myself engaged with music, poetry, literature and cafes in the city ! 

Who/ what was the motivation behind becoming an artist?

I think back in 2012 I saw some works of artist David Gray which gave me that initial push. Of course later I studied alongside David and in fact now we are good friends as well, that for me is a gift.

Please share some fond memories of your art journey. 

The fondest for me was my trip to Florence, Italy. I spent months waking up to the beauty of that city and heading to the atelier painting till noon and then spending the whole afternoon learning about art in museums alongside a wonderful art historian.

The second fondest memory was when I was in National portrait gallery and saw the painting in flesh, a self portrait by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun  holding a palette, that was the first master copy I had done as an aspiring painter, it was a lovely surprise!

The recent one is knowing that almost a decade later one of my artworks is heading to noon among a few amazing painters ! 

How do you feel to transfer your emotions on the canvas?

As someone said ! I paint best when I am in love or having lost it. I feel personally I don’t even think about it, I let it happen subconsciously, transferring to me is being present and doing it, and the rest is poetry! 

Tell us more about the moon project?

Done in collaboration with my gallery 33 contemporary and being part of a show curated by Dr. Samuel Peralta back in 2020, was an exhibit in direct response to the global pandemic seeking works that evoked shelter, solace, safety.No terrestrial catalogue exists of shelter – it exists exclusively as pasty of a lunar edition nickel time capsule headed for the nova- c lander launching via spaceX in 2024.

Fittingly the lunar codex will also be the first time women’s art is going to the moon. Currently the only paintings inhabiting the lunar surface are artworks by six prominent artists. Delivered in 1969, the paintings, including one by Andy Warhol are etched on a ceramic wafer and represent abstract expressionism movement.

As the first commercial mission and the first women’s art to land on the moon, the lunar Codex and the larger Artemis program honor the past while transitioning space travel into an exciting new era, and I am humbled to be a part of it. All credits to Dr. Samuel Peralta.

What are your future plans?

Haven’t thought much of it at all to be honest, I take it one year at a time ! And fill it with mostly everything I want to do and explore ! As for now I am heading to the states for a good six months and taking workshops and painting alongside some painters I truly admire ! 

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