The early years

Born in the late 70’s in North Birmingham, U.K, to a Fiji-Indian mother and British father and raised between Birmingham and London. I felt the artistic call early on and took GCSE and A-level art but like many others was dissuaded from going further. I trained in social policy (BA. Social Policy, the University of Birmingham, 2002) and worked mostly in mental health and holistic health care until ill health stopped me (septicaemia due to a neglected infection which I eventually remedied via herbalism, having been over-prescribed antibiotics for decades). Ill health is very often a necessary catalyst for change and growth.

Becoming a symbolist

Life is both brutal and beautiful; it can be very dark at times for everyone. I was led down the path of symbolic sight early on, starting with Greek mythology, Christian, Judaic and Hindu religion and then Gnosticism (inner knowledge or knowing). My interior world became rich as a consequence of some severely dark times; my spiritual side provided me with direct experience of what can be described as ’the Divine’ and this gave me hope during the long decades of despair. Symbolism, the language of imagery, helped me purge some of what is beyond words. I’ve also been drawn to learn about the broad symbolism that ties humanity together and have, like many others, heard the call to paint mandalas and thus learn about another aspect of symbolic art.

 

Inspiration/technique

Artistic heroes or those who I learnt from include Leonardo da Vinci, Frida Kahlo, Marc Chagall, Van Gogh, Dali, Tamara de Lempicka, Jackson Pollock, Jenny Saville, Anish Kapoor, Greyson Perry, Banksy and David Hockney, to name but a few! But my inspiration comes from inner and life experience, mythology/religion and symbolism. Since 2008 when I 'upgraded' internally my work has taken on a very particular focus, based upon internal guidance. This is common with everyone, some of us are more attuned than others and thus can perceive guidance that comes from outside of ourselves where others may believe the inspiration is personal to them, but that is simply a matter of evolution. 

Symbols and colour can resonate with us at the deeper levels of the subconscious and help bring about positive change and deeper understanding as can music and sound. My technique involves regular short meditations to assist me to 'see' and 'hear' what I need to do next. I start in pencil with a basic outline of the subject roughly sketched on paper then this is transferred to canvas or board. Symbolic colours and images are then added to express the particular traits and/or message I need to transmit. My preferred medium is oil which I taught myself to use, having only studied art up until A-level in the late 90s.

© 2021 Chloe Shalini London, UK

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