Today’s Entrepreneurs Talk interview is with Shefali Ranthe, an independent artist.
Shefali was born in Bangladesh and adopted as a child by Danish parents. She moved to Dubai in 2008 and is a mom of 2.
Entrepreneurs Talk Interview with Shefali Ranthe, Artist and Mompreneur
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Bangladesh and later adopted to Denmark as an infant. My parents were divorced 10 months after my adoption and I grew up with my father.
Growing up without a mother/female adviser/guidelines on how to become a woman affected me personally.
Because I looked different, I felt that I should be better in several areas where I wasn’t. In school, I wasn’t very skillful and my father couldn’t help me academically.
Later on, a teacher saw my creative skills. At secondary school, I always daydreamed and drew a lot when the lessons became too difficult or too boring.
I studied graphic design and worked as a commercial art director for 10 years in Denmark before I became a full-time artist in 2004.
In 2003, I began studies on how aesthetics can contribute to children’s competence and development at VIA, University College in Denmark. At the same time, I was studying at The Art School in Denmark.
Singing and dancing have been a big part of my life. The serious painting came later on. Even my art teacher in year 5 told me that I would become a big artist someday.
At that time, I had no idea what he was talking about. I am a Rotarian member and do a lot of volunteer work. Dancing is still a big part of my life.
How did you start out on the path to becoming an artist?
In 2000, the big IT crisis in Europe happened and I lost my job. I saw it as a sign to change fields and explore something new. I began to paint a little while I started my studies at University College.
What was your mission statement from the beginning?
I had no idea that art would become an important part of me. In the beginning, I painted just for fun and as a hobby.
Painting made me relax and made me disappear into a great colorful world, a world that I longed for without knowing it.
People I associated with inspired me and the experiences I had through singing, dancing, and from my daily life.
The more focused my art got, the more curious I was to delve deeper into the artist world, learn more about art and improve my skills by taking many different courses in different countries.
What challenges have you faced so far on the way to making your dreams come true?
My style is called “Joy of Life” My main inspiration comes from my own life as well as children’s unspoiled way of looking at the world.
This inspiration gives me a more impulsive and unconventional way of painting as I am less defined by outer definitions and expectations of shapes and figures.
I love working with something recognizable but it need not be necessarily what we know from the real world with symmetry. I love working with shapes that provides recognizable human faces.
I realize my style “joy of life” is more for Europe and the US, therefore the challenges have been to find a gallery to represent me in Dubai.
A French Gallery, Carré d’artistes represents me in Amsterdam, New York and now in Marseilles, South France. I sell a lot at this gallery but my dream and goal are to find a gallery in Dubai because I live here. Most people in the art scene know who I am. I am always in some kind of project with other artists.
What is your favorite part of being an artist?
The best thing about being an artist is I think that I am in my colorful universe, which makes me happy. I love playing with colours, building up my art layer by layers.
Make my story on the canvas. While I paint, I develop new techniques and get, at the same time, inspiration and ideas for the next one. Also, the good thing about being an artist is that I can paint whenever I want compared to if I had another job or a boss.
Do you dislike anything about being an artist?
The France Gallery Carré d’artistes is not the optimal gallery. It is a concept gallery and they take only small sizes and many pieces at a time.
The gallery must have a minimum number of my work all the time. This makes me like a robot and not an artist. But they are helping me build up my brand and name, which will mean a lot later in the future.
What do you think is the distinction between those who work for themselves and those who work for others?
I believe that working for myself gives me the feeling of freedom to create what is important to me and what I like.
If I was working for others, there will be someone else over me telling me what to do or not to do. I definitely prefer my freedom to be my own boss.
Were you able to fund your dreams yourself or you required additional financing?
I have been so lucky to finance myself. My art sells well in Dubai to some art collectors but mostly to ex-pats.
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What would you say is your greatest achievement?
I have worked very hard until now and it’s not over yet. I am always ready and know I have to work even harder to achieve my goal of becoming a well-known artist.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a solo entrepreneur?
Follow your heart, believe it, and do it. Be your captain in your ship. It is so much more fun to create your own product and work for yourself than to work for another
Are you living your imagination? Or do you feel you’re still working your way towards them?
I feel that I am on my way to my dreams, but there is definitely still a long way. Becoming a well-known artist can happen anytime.
The right person buying one of my works can make me become a very successful artist.
Shefali & her family
Shefali is a graphic designer and spent most of her career in advertising agencies before she became a full-time artist. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Childcare from the University of Aarhus, Denmark.
Her work has been represented in numerous exhibitions in Denmark and Dubai.
She has also been represented by the International Gallery Carré d’artistes in New York, Amsterdam, and is currently exhibiting in Marseilles, France.
She is a member of the Rotary Club and is active in the local community in Dubai.
She will appear in the Secret Exhibition at the ShowCase Gallery in Al Shakal Avenue in January 2016.
She also has a solo exhibition in Sofitel Hotel Palm, March 2016 and in Marseilles, South France in April 2016. You can find out more about her art at www.shefali.dk.
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