Expressing the unforseen: Inspirational journey to India



In July 2013, the Danish artist My Buemann travelled to Rajasthan in northern India to learn new techniques she could use in her art. In this interview, she talks about her first meeting with India and how it overwhelmed and inspired her.

Interview • By Sara Line Batson

“I became fascinated by the way the Indian cities are built. It seems a bit coincidental. And I find that India is a magically coincidental place. You can see that everything is built slowly and over time. It is not planned the same way we plan cities in the West, and that is so refreshing because I don’t think you can plan charm or personality. That would be a difficult task anyway. In India I found that a lot of colors are combined differently than I would do it – but I think it works in a beautiful, coincidental way. And that is something I really learned to appreciate,” said My Buemann after having arrived back in Denmark.

“On my journey I studied diverse color expressions, neat and decorative patterns and artistic coincidences. I have tried to bring small pieces of “my India” with me home, but it seems to fade a little bit, laying on the floor of my living room, thus I am saving the most beautiful images in my head, and hopefully I will be able to express them in my art one day”.

The young Dane loves to communicate in visual images, and she draws a lot. She studies Visual Communication at the Royal Danish Academy of Design, where her focus is on graphic design, illustration and art, but she also moves around between various fields of visual and communicative media. She works for DR, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, and she blogs for the artist community website IDOART.dk

“I often find that the simplest drawings are the ones that say most. I also write, and I always make journals and drawings when I travel. You tend to forget things to easily if you don’t document it, and I find that drawing is the best way to remember things.”

My Buemann made a lot of sketches and a travel-log, drawn and handwritten in a traditional, handmade Indian journal, which displays the things she found inspirational on her way.

 

Letting the guards down
My Buemann didn’t actually have a lot of thoughts about how India was going to be before she landed there. Her journey was a spontaneous idea between her and a friend.

“In some way I think it was a positive thing that I didn’t have these big expectations about what I was going to see and who I was going to meet. I just arrived in Mumbai with my guards down, ready to take it all in. And it became such a positive experience.

I started off in Mumbai and then travelled around Rajasthan. We saw everything from remote desert to hectic cities. From quiet to loud. There were a lot of contrasts. I rode horses in the mountains, slept in the desert and walked around Mumbai – all of it was so inspirational.”

My Buemann also spent time in Udaipur where traditional handicrafts are a very big thing. Almost every store there sells beautiful Indian craftworks.

“In India I found that many artists are masters of traditional techniques, for instance miniature drawing, which I studied and took classes in. It is made up of many small dots and a miniature painting takes a very long time to make. Longer time than most Danish artist would spend on doing just one piece of art.

Coincidence and precision
In Udaipur I coincidently met an Indian artist who worked together with an American photographer and coloured his photography. Their work was a beautiful meeting between the carefully decorative, Indian handicraft tradition and the Western art expression – very refreshing. (waswoxwaswo.net) I am definitely going to use this meeting as inspiration in my own art.

Four of Waswoxwaswo’s handcoulored photographs

I will also try to let coincidence find its way into my art. Experiment with using different colors, like in the Indian cities. I will try to be bolder and combine different expressions in new, unforeseen ways.

Two main things I have brought with me home as inspiration are: Coincidence and Precision. On the one hand the cities seem coincidental, and on the other hand the miniature paintings are so accurate and precise in their expression. Both of these approaches are highly inspirational to me.”

My Buemann is going to take a course at the Danish Design School about cities and urban planning, where she hopes to make use of her experiences from India and show how cities work better when they aren’t overly planned.

“And I am definitely going back to India,” she says: “It is now number one on my list of favorite destinations.”



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Sara Line Batson is a communications consultant at the Danish Cultural Institute and freelance art professional at The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen

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