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Interview with Diana Majumdar

majumdar_IceHouse

We spoke with Diana Majumdar before her show opened at the Academy of Art University.

 

Could you tell us how you became involved in art making?

 

Since a very early age I have been exposed to art in many forms and shapes.  I grew up in Estonia in the last days of the Soviet Union.  I was first introduced to art through my father.  He took me to see museums in Estonia, Russia, and Armenia.  I loved watching my father draw.  He taught me the basics of watercolor, and gave me his large set of art books that were printed in Russia and Armenian.  So when the choice for a field of study presented itself and I had to ask myself what I would like to learn, the choice was easy.

Has there been any particular class or teacher that really opened your eyes while studying at the Academy?


Mixed Media taught by Ms. Lynne Margulies, was the class that changed the way I approach art.

Artistic freedom was the key take away from that class.  After taking countless classes with structure and order, I felt liberated at the end of this class.  It was pure joy.  Using the approaches she taught, art just seemed to flow out of me.  The approaches she taught were daring.  To do a charcoal drawing then run a wet brush over it, completely obliterating the charcoal image.  It wasn't destruction per se.  It was creating something throught the process of destruction.  Creating something unexpected.

I am not afraid to try unusual combinations of medium.  I am not looking for a final perfect vision but take it one step at a time.  It is a truly freeing experience and changed my whole approach to creating art.  It infused an aspect of creative fun in the process that was previously lacking.  Rather than seeing it as a stressful series of steps to follow in creating art, it became an enjoyable pastime.  

What subjects are you drawn to?

 

My work is mostly inspired by nature.  I find inspiration in drilling down and magnifying the mundane.  A house sparrow sitting on a branch or a single leaf blown by the wind and getting stuck on a concrete wall.  I am not into grand sweeping landscapes or breathtaking vistas.  Nor am I looking for the unusual or the exotic.  

Once I became interested in birds, I wanted to delve deeper into the subject and explore birds within the human environments.  It was like walking into a different world.  I wanted to capture the dynamic relationships between humans and birds in our environment.  The concrete and steel ecosystems of cities support a surprisingly large  number of birds.  I find beauty in the decaying end of nature.  I see beauty in a broken off branch of an oak tree.  I try to bring out the beauty of its leaves glowing intensely yellow in the sun.  There is a charm in capturing the intricate line design of a bunch of twigs gathered in a pile, or a crow sitting on telephone wires.  

 

I find the motif of birds in your work facinating.  Any reason that came to be?

 

I was initiated to bird watching by my younger son's natural interest in birds.  He had asked for binoculars and a book about birds on his 6th birthday.  Soon after that, he and I were going on hikes armed with bird watching equipment and a camera.  Appreciation of birds offers me the potential moments of beauty and inspiration.  Watching birds on our walks led me to doing sketches and taking photos.

I was already experimenting with different media in my art, such as collage, chine-colle, and encaustics.  Birds became an essential element of my work.  I am more interested in the bird that we see where we live, for example, in a tree in the parking lot, or someone's barn.  Estuaries, reservoirs and wetlands are places to look for birds, but we often take for granted the wealth of birdlife on our own doorsteps. 

To learn more about Diana check out her website.