Today, we are publishing our twenty first interview in our new series, Hope in Adversity. One that’s based around art, artists and isolation during the midst of Covid-19. This interview is with award winning mobile photographer with Cintia Malhotra from New Jersey, United States. Malhotra is a visual artist and educator who has been involved in the arts community since childhood. Despite having visual impairment, she chose to focus on the visual arts. Much of her photography involves a combination of abstraction and personification to create a narrative for the viewer. In addition to this, she explains “I often like to explore social issues and reconnect with the human experience by capturing moments of daily life. Sometimes I prefer to draw or paint as a means of stepping away from technology. This respite is important for my vision to be refreshed and focus on a new project“. You will see as you read and view this interview, that Malhotra is currently embracing this sentiment in totality. Enjoy!
To read others in this series of interviews with Jill Lian, Vicki Cooper, Gerry Coe, Sarah Bichachi, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Phyllis Shenny, Alisa Smith Williams, Joy Barry, Fleur Schim, Fiona Christian, Peter Wilkin, Ile Mont, Lynette Sheppard, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Rob Pearson-Wright, Catherine Caddigan and Susan Latty, please follow this link
If you are social distancing or social isolating at this time, are you using any additional time you may have to create mobile digital art or photography?
I have been physically isolated for almost 5 weeks now and I’ve been working from home. The first few weeks were very stressful because I was dealing with an eye injury in my dominant eye, which limited my time on screen. It took about 3 weeks to fully recover. Since then I have been making it a point to take photos and/or videos focusing on what I see daily. Not just for myself but for others because I think art is great therapy in stressful times – whether it’s as a maker or observer.
If so, have you noticed the style of art that you’re creating changing from what you would normally create?
My initial reaction to this question was no — not in style per se — but the more I thought about it, I realized there was a change because of one important element – time, time, time. This has become extremely precious to me in the recent years. I guess one benefit of getting older is appreciating the time one has left ahead of them. I am an escapist by nature and the extra time allows me to get lost in a daydream or story that fills my head a while longer.
If yes, to the above, can you explain how your art has changed?
Since I am working from home for now, my daily routine is less structured. In the silence and (blissful) solitude I can delve deeper into my imagination. Since my eye has healed, I can concentrate more on creating on a daily basis. The style of my work has not changed much but the additional time has helped me give more attention to details and I have been more productive — the past week and a half, anyway. Ha! Also, am able to experiment/play with different apps and techniques – which I am really enjoying.
Have you found additional inspiration to create at this time?
I love reading about and watching documentaries about the lives of artists from the early to mid-20th Century. I am reacquainting myself with the books on my shelves and watching the YouTube videos I’ve only had the time to bookmark!
Is creating mobile digital art/photography, helping you at this time specially, how and why?
Definitely. I am primarily a photographer and digital art/enhancements are at times necessary for the work to fully express my feelings. The process of creating is very therapeutic. Though I am maker by nature, at this time the process has been essential in coping with the situation. I worry for my mother who lives in the town next to me and am frustrated by press conferences that offer little comfort — oh, my, did I say that? 😉
Do you feel that sharing mobile art/photography at this time is spreading a unity of peace?
Absolutely. I think most of us are appreciative, or have a new appreciation, for the different (creative) communities we take part in. Sharing our points of view or experiences in dealing with this pandemic has been unifying for sure. Sharing work with others outside the community pulls them into our frame and they don’t feel as alone in this. I find that is the case with the responses received about the videos I’ve posted. The content or meaning to me has not changed, but it’s meaning to others has. Maybe, right now, they need to escape for a while too.
‘One of Many Places’ ©Cintia Malhotra
‘I need to zoom in and out to see the light… sometimes it’s blurry’ ©Cintia Malhotra
Anything else you would personally like to add, please add it here.
I do believe society will change because of this experience – more than just dropping the handshake – and we will be standing at a multi-pronged fork in the road. There are opportunities to fix what was broken. My hope is that we chose to put the best interests of our families, communities, and the other beings we share this planet with at the foreground. Imagine what that might be like?
Also, thank you Joanne for all the work you do to advocate for and cultivate a supportive community for mobile artists and photographers.
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