IN CONVERSATION WITH CHITRA MERCHANT FOR THE STORY IN ART EXHIBITION, MAY 2016
What’s your story?
I grew up in Southern India spending much of my childhood and later years drawing. Drawing was a solace and an escape from the rigours of formal education. I later completed a psychology degree, after which I took a year off to work in an artist’s studio in West Africa. This was the beginning of my journey to becoming an artist. I moved to the UK in the 1990s to study printmaking and illustration. Today I work at Spike Print Studio and thoroughly enjoy the sociable, unpretentious and support-ive nature of working in a shared space, where ideas and techniques are bounced around.
Where is the story in your art?
I follow the story of the roles and expectations that are ascribed to women. These are often domestic tales, under recognised, but as pertinent today as they were thousands of years ago.
How do you create the story?
I always start with drawings from which I create a stencil. These are then translated into a screenprint, where I enjoy layering colour, tone, line and text into each piece. I also like to turn techniques on their heads to see what treasure or disaster might be revealed.
What is the story of the pieces you are showing here?
My pieces are from The Bell Jar series. A look at the tales of women and the roles in which they are held. My work uses the bell jar as a metaphor to suggest a state of vacuum holding its contents in a perpetual stasis.
Who has shared your story?
My work has been seen in several galleries in the South West and last year my prints from the Bell Jar series were shown as part of the Royal Academy Summer exhibi-tion.
Where might the next story take you?
I intend to carry on this exploration of women’s identities, roles and stories through the medium of printmaking and drawing.