The Purposeful Mayonnaise

July 30, 2021: Interview with  Karishma (Kara) Joshi

 Karishma (Kara) Joshi  

Kara Joshi is an artist living in Canada.

"Art is my purpose of existence and a journey inward. I am Intuitive, perceptive and a self-taught artist. My process is experimental by nature, many times I begin my work with found objects. My works are mostly acrylic paintings and digital illustrations. I am influenced by contradictions in today's society, gender ideologies and intergenerational trauma in women. Always exploring and evolving, my brush craves for depth and metaphors."

Website: Instagram: @karishmaajoshi

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am an artist by default. I was born in a city called Indore in India. It's right in the middle of the country. A few years later, my parents started moving around from one place to another due to work. Change became a regular part of my life.
I believe that knowing what we want is rare in this world. Often, I do not know what I want to do, but being an artist came naturally. Since childhood, I recall that there hasn't been a day when I didn't think that I'd be an artist when I grow up. The intensity of what I wanted and my ambition was so strong that many people who knew me as a kid and whom I lost touch with when we reconnected after years still remembered I wanted to be an artist.

Being born in a society with high expectations, art wasn't viewed as a professional career. Most often, while growing up, I regretted not being able to go to art school. Eventually, I moved to England to pursue my great passions of studying media and film. I moved to Canada over two years ago to study investigative journalism. It gave me insights into different ideologies, especially gender and identity, which always intrigued me. Coming from a family where I saw how little voice women had, I just had to roar. Hence, I studied documentary filmmaking, which also allowed me to combine my passion for art, sociology, and cinematography.

My earliest memory of creating art is when my mother enrolled in an art class. It was an elite thing for me to have been in that room, learning something outside of school.
To my earliest senses, I remember finding an abstract way to draw and colour grass. That year to my amusement, I drew a lot of grass, haha!

What themes or ideas do you pursue in your work?

I have a wandering mind. There are no set themes or ideas, but my works are influenced mainly by my perception of life and the world around me, both from a physical and psychological point of view.

Can you tell us a bit about your cinematography projects?

My cinematography projects are mostly related to mental health awareness. One documentary is about how PTSD affected Canadian war veterans. For my Masters, I also did another project about how the medium of hair influences women’s identity.

What made you choose this field?

It came as easy to me as breathing. Sailing through life, I have often found myself and my loved ones suffering through some kind of mental health condition. I realized how drastically it could affect our lives, but there is so much stigma attached to it. That was the catalyst behind my choice of this field.

[Still from Kara Joshi's film]

[Stills from Kara Joshi's films]

How do you choose the subject of your films?

Most often, it comes to me like an epiphany; maybe they are hidden somewhere in my subconscious. Sometimes, I also choose my subject from the issues that affect me. I try to find people who are going through or have gone through a similar journey as me, at least to a certain extent. Sometimes I do not have words, but just endless questions. I find people who have words and can tell the story. Then I mould it, structure it and make it into a film. 

[Kara Joshi - artist talk]

Can you tell us about your process and the equipment you use? What part of your process do you enjoy the most?

I am an experimental artist by nature. I work with found objects. I use Film cams, Super 8, Canon C300 MIII, iPhone camera, Rolleiflex 3.5F and a few more. I have a few vintage ones that do not work, but I find them very beautiful. So, I use their viewfinders to record things. That’s the part I enjoy the most. Making things work. There is a uniqueness in that. Then, I use Adobe Creative Suite like most artists to edit my work.

Can you tell us a bit about creating 2D art pieces and cinematography? Do they go hand in hand? Are they fueling each other?

They do coincide. I feel they have a symbiotic relationship. One feeds the other, and the roles constantly reverse.

[Paintings by Kara Joshi]

Do you actively search for inspiration or wait for inspiration to find you?

I feel like I am always inspired. I find inspiration all around me. Sometimes travelling gets me inspiration, and more often, I soak myself in solitude, waiting for it. Of late, the pandemic and the lockdown did not give me much choice either (smiles).

What is the most peculiar thing or situation that sparked your inspiration?

One strange connection I have since my childhood is with electric towers. I have an entire collection of photographs, just about that. It is somewhat metaphysical to me how the sight of an electric tower takes me back to a particular phase or a moment in the past or possible future. It gets me to connect dots that I thought never existed in the first place.

What artists do you admire?

Van Gogh immensely inspires me. I am obsessed with his works, his approach to telling poetry with colours. I often joke with my parents that I might be him in my past life. I also admire the works of Yves Klein, Frida Kahlo, Helen Frankenthaler, Vivian Maier, and Greta Gerwig.

How do you relax and recharge?

I paint or sketch, and sometimes I scroll through a gazillion pieces of art and just daydream. I love taking long solitary walks. It helps me relax.

What is your dream project?

My dream project is to showcase the story of my life through art and cinematography, maybe through a series of paintings or through a few movies about specific issues.

Tell us about the future: plans, dreams, anything you’d like to share with the world.

I’ll keep creating, painting and capturing the world in media. I have a video project that will be displayed in the Art Gallery of Regina this coming Fall. About my sorrow related to hair loss through the metaphor of being a tree. One of the things I am working on is establishing my entrepreneurial venture where I want to use art to fight for the causes that I care about. It would be my sincere outpouring to give back something to the world at large.

[Illustration by Kara Joshi]

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