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Experiences of my first art exhibit on a professional scale - Praveena Parepalli

Very soon after moving to Mumbai I chanced upon the Indian Art Fair and went in with a preconceived notion that it was a space only for very well-established artists. I was gazing at each artwork like a kid and having goosebumps at most of the stalls. Then I went to the first floor and realised that some booths were by emerging artists and I started seeing myself at one of the booths. After some deep thought, I reached out to Radhika from Radartmedia who cleared some misconceptions and assured me of finding an artist to partner with. Until that day my artwork was a mix of various mediums and themes. It was a typical case of jack of all. After some deliberations with Radhika, I chose to go with Wildlife in charcoal and pastels. The process of preparing for the show was very enriching. I was totally unaware of the high I could get from playing with charcoal and pastels. The anxiety started kicking in 2 weeks before the D day, being the first time at a lot of things. Planning for framing, feeling the pinch from the costs of supplies, framing, printing and marketing was not easy at first but slowly with time I learnt to see it as an investment in myself and my Art Venture.

It was my first time, collaborating with another artist as well. Based on my past experiences I was apprehensive about it but dived in with a leap of faith. I came back to Mumbai just one day prior to the show already exhausted from festivities back home. With no time to rest I was not sure how I would handle it both physically and mentally. I never shied away from accepting that I have anxiety issues and that I am still working on myself. In fact, I am proud of myself that I have acknowledged it and chose to work on it. I kept telling myself “ it’s ok if you are not confident, you can definitely act confident” and that’s what I did all three days. There were some hiccups from some fellow artists especially while setting up the display and I am glad I did not let that affect my time during the rest. There were a number of artists spreading positive vibes as well. So it was a learning experience of how to and how not to conduct me on such platforms. I am very thankful to Namrata, the fellow artist with whom I collaborated for proving me wrong as I was always of the opinion that most artists in India are not open and cordial with one another. There were times when my anxiety and self-doubt were taking over but I am glad I partnered with someone who could understand.

The best part was professionally trained artists stopping by to observe how I handled the charcoal. I learnt that my handling of charcoal definitely has the ability to become my USP. Met a lot of emerging artists from different age groups.

Did I make a sale “NO” I would be lying if I said it did not affect me at all! I dived in with zero expectations, had a terrific experience, and learned what to do and what not to do. A sale would have definitely been an Icing on the cake, but I definitely had a very heart full bite. I am glad I took that first step though it was shaky. There will definitely be a next and am sure the balance of my foot will be firm. I want to end it with a big thank you to my Husband and kids for being super supportive and ignoring my self-centredness these last few months. To explore more about my art practices, visit www.artbypraveena.com



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