The Met has an exclusive story for you! We are always happy to showcase up-and-coming artists, such as Nidhi Chanani. She is an Indian-American artist and designer who, like many of us, creates art because it makes her happy. Below you will find her story and her wonderful illustrations.
From humble beginnings, Chanani was born in Calcutta, India and raised in suburban California. With a passion to tell stories, she received a degree in literature. After college she held a variety office jobs and was looking for a creative outlet. “I started following the work of some illustrators and found illustration to be a beautiful combination of art and storytelling. I took a deep breath, quit the 9 to 5, and enrolled in art school,” says Chanani.
“India is in my skin,” she confidently declares. Her culture has helped shape her experience, and it is part of her visual reference. “Some mornings I miss India, the feel of Hindi on my tongue, or my family and that feeling comes through in my work. But as much as I am Indian, I am American – because I grew up in California. That hybrid existence has also afforded me a larger, richer experience to draw from,” she shares.
When she began art school, she would always say “I just want to make people happy.” So, this is what she does. She looks to create stories that elicit an emotion, making people dream or even, for a moment, envision themselves somewhere else. “As I've developed, I am also looking for connection,” she says. “For people to find themselves, their love or their longing in my work… to connect with the image that feels like coming home.”
When it comes to being an artist, the internet is your best friend. It can help spread your work and give you a career. When asked how the internet has helped her in her career, Chanani exclaims “I love the internet!” She shares her work across multiple platforms, finding the global distribution and access to be of the utmost importance.
“I feel that the internet is the great equalizer, with a computer and connection anyone can see my work – literally – anywhere. I recently received an email about my work from a woman who lives on a tiny island off the coast of Greece. In addition to sharing my work, I am also able to sell my work just as widely because of the ease of access. I'm really not sure what I would do without it!”
Thank you for sharing your story with us Nidhi. We wish you the best of luck!