How this CA with no formal education in Arts became a full time Painter and now made a name for herself

  • Hi! I am Shweta Ektare, a Chartered Accountant by qualification and an artist by passion and profession from Pune, India.
  • I was always interested in art but thought of it as just a hobby. However, while studying for my CA exams I got a paid assignment and that is when I realized the potential I have!
  • After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 2016, I took a leap of faith and decided to pursue arts as a full-time career.
  • Here’s my story of how I turned my passion into a full-time career.

While studying to be a CA I realized Fine Arts is my calling

I was a studious kid who was interested in extracurricular activities be it music, dance, poetry, or painting.

I used to participate in a lot of painting competitions and had won many awards which included a state-level award. However, I always thought of art as a hobby (like most Indian kids!) and was unaware of the potential it had. So, when it was time to decide on a career path, I explored other career options and CA seemed to be the right choice for me.

While studying to be a Chartered Accountant, I never stopped painting. It was something that kept me sane during tough times like CA exams and preparation.

During my CA Finals, I received a project from Baskin Robins to work on Wall Murals. This was my first big project and so I took it up! While working on this project I thought to myself that this is something I can do for a living.

Around the same time, I got an opportunity to be a part of 2-3 exhibitions and even won a prize. This again reinstated my faith in the fact that I was indeed moving in the right direction and the possibility of arts becoming a full-time career.

Becoming a full-time Artist 

I soon qualified as a Chartered Accountant and it was time to decide if I should go for a corporate job or pursue painting full time.

I was in two minds but luckily my brother sat me down and helped me brainstorm my future career. After this conversation, I knew Art was my calling and decided to take a leap of faith.

I had even considered part-time CA work but I soon realized that both careers demand equal attention and study.

So, after qualifying as a CA in 2016, I decided to completely immerse myself into this unpredictable yet fulfilling career and make a living out of it.

Establishing an independent business and overcoming obstacles

Now the Big Question was - How should I start my professional journey as an Artist? 

Unlike other artists, I had no qualification in Fine Arts as Painting is something that comes naturally to me.

I had to pave my own path. So I chalked down a simple two-step plan: Make better art and then move to the business side of it. 

I started creating artwork, compiling them, and then showcasing them on different platforms both online and offline. (Online on Instagram and offline - I was applying for different exhibitions and flea markets). Participating in exhibitions gave me great exposure. Here I connected with different people and this helped in building my network. 

It is a known fact that creative people like Painters and Artists do not achieve success quickly and it takes years for their work to be recognized. For me too, it took time.

Since I am CA without any former education in Art, I also had to work on establishing a mindset of an Artist. 

In the art field, art curators decide which paintings to be part of the exhibition and a lot of Galleries and curators are biased towards art degrees! For them, unless you have a degree in Fine arts, you are a hobby artist. So my biggest challenge was to establish myself as an artist in the fine art world. It took me a few years and a lot of work to show them the quality of my art.

Gradually, people started recognizing my passion and started approaching me for buying my works and for getting custom paintings done. I also started conducting workshops for corporates and a lot of paintings and projects are in pipeline!

Products and Offerings

I create all kinds of paintings, but my forte is abstracts; they can be subjective or objective abstracts. I always like my paintings to be bold and expressive, that’s why I don’t work much with photo-realistic work.

Since I love textures in the paintings, one would generally find heavy texture in my paintings. They can even see the palette knife stroke and feel the thick color of the painting. I also love to incorporate different themes and philosophies in my work.

The time taken for paintings varies a lot. For my original paintings, I do not consider any time limit; it can take a day or months, or years. For custom work, I work on fixed deadlines depending on the client's requirements and the timeline which is suitable to both client and me.

Generally, whenever a client approaches me with the requirement, I inquire them about the expected size, themes, and color palette required for the artwork. In case it is for their home office, I ask them to send a photograph/video of the space so that I can understand the vibe and color scheme of the place and the taste of the client.

When it comes to price range, there is no specific range for original work. Custom paintings start from INR15000 (approx USD 250)  and differ based on the size of the work, themes, and styles.

Timeline of my journey as an Artist: 2017- to date

2017

  • Became a part of the Kala Goshti Art Exhibition
  • Storyboard Artist for Ale Production house
  • Did Wall Art at Budhwar Peth and Tifa Art Space in collaboration with Aravani Art Project
  • Participated in an exhibition showcasing my artworks at Raja Ravi Verma Art Gallery, Pune 
  • Participated in an exhibition showcasing my artworks on Women’s Day at Tulika Art Gallery, Pune
  • Wall Art Project at Baskins and Robins outlet, Nigdi
  • Became a Set Designer and Actor in the play funded by the Ministry of Culture, organized by Tarkash Art Group

2018

  • Conducted over 25 regular art workshops in collaboration with studios namely, Inscape Cowork, Kala Kollective, Ekattha Studio
  • Participated in Unseen Exhibition organized by ‘Platform for artists’ showcasing my artworks at Monalisa Kalagram, Pune
  • Live painting at Zapalooza Event
  • Live painting performance in the IDance Pravega event organized by Heels Dance Academy
  • Participated in Unlearn- Experimental Art Show organized by the Platform for Artists
  • Part of Exhibition organized at They see Art Gallery, Pune

2019

  • Solo Exhibition - Lucid Dreams, Art Entrance Gallery Kala Ghoda Association
  • Curated the exhibition “Art Matters” in association with The Daftar Coworking Space to provide opportunities to the local art community
  • Created a series of artworks for the Poetry Community of Pune as Art Poetry Prompts for April- National Poetry Writing Month, the artworks were showcased for the month of May and June
  • Participated in ‘Pune SmArt Fair’ organized by Pune Municipal Corporation in collaboration with Art2Day Gallery
  • Participated in Annual Exhibition - Chitrsanthe organized by Chitrakala Parishath and the Government of Karnataka

2020-2021

  • Participated in Chitrasanthe 2020, Bangalore Annual Art Event
  • Created commission projects for various individuals and sold paintings
  • Created 2021 Art calendars for prestigious companies like For Zydus, Laundraument, and Kdesigns
  • Published my 2021 calendar “ Little Magic”
  • Conducted various online workshops, Portrait courses, Acrylic painting courses
  • Conducted Workshops for various companies -Tata Strive, WeWorks, Innovate
  • Started selling my work online, conducting workshops, courses for individuals and corporates

Closing Message...

People always ask me - Why I did CA if I wanted to be an Artist? 

I did CA because I really wanted to and I really loved my CA journey however once I wanted to become an artist and I decided to follow my passion. 

It's okay to change paths, I am not saying that it will be a smooth ride. And you don't need to be perfect or best on day one. But as a CA, we already know how to hustle, how to tackle deadlines. All you need to do is to decide, make a realistic plan and follow through. Things will fall into place with time :)

I truly hope that people become more aware of art as a career option and support more artists in their creative endeavors. 

(For inquiries, you can write to Shweta at shwetaektare.art@gmail.com)

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