Behind the Sketchbook

Anarkali Check

Originally from from Paris and now living in London, In this interview Anarkali Check talks about the feeling of having commissioned work, the fear of not selling & what tools she has found useful when raising awareness of her work.

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About You

How did you get into art and making?

Art was part of my life for ever with my earliest childhood memory being drawing and painting with my brother. I did not pursue art after school due to parental pressure to study a conventional subject at university but after 20 years in the corporate world, I took the plunge and focussed on art, retraining at City & Guilds School of Art and Design in London. I now also have a teaching studio with 2 business partners in West London

Behind the Sketchbook

About Your Art

What art do you like to make?

Anything that is colourful with negative space

What materials do you use?

Oil on canvas, wood or paper. Pastels on paper

How would you describe yourself?

Artist, art teacher and art lover

Behind the Sketchbook

What or who inspires and influences your work?

Anything and anyone. I observe what is around me and that inspiration from that. Egon Schiele is and artist I admire enormously

How have you and your work changed over time?

I used to cover whole canvases with colour and detail. Over the last couple of years I have left a lot of negative space in my work, putting details only on the subject matter

What challenges have you faced along the way?

In the past, when I was working in the corporate world, it was definitely lack of time. Since I have focused on art full time, dependent on how many classes I teach at our studio, then again lack of time for my own practice. Sometimes there is a creative block or some self doubt or that I am not developing my work and that it is boring

Behind the Sketchbook

Your Achievements

What has been your biggest achievement/s so far? No matter how big or small?

Being commissioned to do a painting for private clients

How did it feel to experience this achievement?

It felt like I was justified in leaving a highly paid job and focus on something I absolutely adore and that my work is liked and appreciated by others enough that they will part with good money to have my art in their home

Behind the Sketchbook

What difficulties, doubts or fears did you face and how did you overcome them?

Whether I could actually make a living as an artist. As I have the studio business as well, I can earn a living but there is always the fear that there will not be enough clients who would want art classes and that I would never sell my work

What or who has helped you in your journey?

My family; My close circle of friends who have been my most loyal supporters of my new career and my art; My students at the studio

If someone could wave a magic wand and make amazing things happen for you, what would be your dream?

To be able to have a solo exhibition

What is your biggest piece of advice for other artists?

Believe in yourself, keep going because there will be someone out there who will love your art

Selling & Marketing

Lots of emphasis is placed on artists finding their own unique ‘style’ & having a refined portfolio, what are your thoughts on this and how have you found yours?

Each one of us has one or two subject matters that attracts us, eg landscape, still life, portraiture. It is a question of trying out different media and experimenting to develop and find a style that works for you and and inspires you. My work has a cross cultural narrative based on extensive travel and familial connections to India, its colour, culture and architecture and that is what I have focused and developed in the last few years

How do you find the business side of being an artist?

Hard. It is always stressful trying to work out how much to charge. You don’t want to undersell yourself but at the same time you don’t want to put people off buying your art.

Behind the Sketchbook

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your art and finding people to buy?

Social media is a great forum. Being part of a group of artists. Entering open competitions (but make sure you do your homework on the competitions and the judges to ensure your work will resonate). Creating a website (I have been contacted by galleries, competition organisers and clients that way)

Who or what helps with the business side?

I come from the corporate world so my experience there helps. Also I run a business so am aware of the finances involved in art

How did you make the transition to part/full time artist?

I was lucky in that I was financially secure and had the backing of my family to leave a highly paid job and start afresh in art. I could not have become a student again without the support of my family. I was also lucky enough to start teaching at a studio whilst being a student which enabled me to set up my own art teaching studio

What’s the biggest thing you have learnt from being an artist?

Patience, you can’t rush anything, be that completing a painting or negotiating to sell a painting

If you would like to see more of Anarkali’s work please follow these links:

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