Meet Anoop- Caur Virk, a Toronto-based Artist, Painter and Sculptor.
She was introduced to us online, through a mutual friend. Although we haven’t met Anoop in person (yet!), we regard her as our sister and we have so much respect and admiration for her work. We are always blown away by her creativity and the unique way in which she expresses her identity.
We invited Anoop to join us for a CONVERSATION - check out her awesome responses!
What/who inspires you?
I have a whole a whole list of artists that I love from Dali to Frida Kahlo and Arpana Caur to The Singh Twins however, my biggest inspiration has always been, Ma. She’s been my biggest critic but also my strongest supporter.
I’ve also been teaching art, to kids between the ages of 4-13, for almost 2 years now and I can honestly say, it’s been a life altering experience. Being able to work with such inspiring, young, crazy little humans has been a major factor in my motivation and work ethic as well.
How did your journey in the world of art begin?
As a child, I always visualised things in my head and entertained myself with books, crayons, Lego or playdoh. I think most of my teachers knew I was artistically inclined by the time I was about 9 or 10 because I always put in twice the effort into decorating my binders and notebooks than I did into homework or assignments.
Then fast forward to high school, I had the privilege of having an amazing teacher for grades 11 and 12 who pushed my creativity and challenged me to work in different mediums and gave me cool contemporary artists to look up etc. That’s when I knew I wanted to pursue the arts, however my parents weren’t too thrilled with the idea of me becoming an artist so I moved out of the house to study psychology in Ottawa …and hated it.
During my final year in Ottawa, I worked day in and day out to prepare a portfolio for art school and came right back to Toronto where I am now, studying my new-found passion for sculpture.
What has been your greatest achievement(s)so far?
I haven’t achieved much, other than experience. I also think achievements are overrated. Don’t get me wrong, you should take pride in being able to accomplish your goals but I owe Maharaj (God) for it all. I must remember that a higher order is the cause and influence of all my ups and downs, always.
Instead of achievements, I suppose I have some goals – I would like to teach art in the future, share my work with the world and ultimately inspire young people to pursue their passion and create change in the world instead of just chasing after the dolla dolla bills.
What has been your greatest obstacle(s)?
As a young woman I think my greatest obstacle has been, being a woman. As ridiculous as it may seem in 2014, it is still very difficult to be a woman and have goals, aspirations and the freedom to be who you want to be without being ostracized, judged, or stripped of your dignity.
Furthermore, being a rather young, Sikh, female artist has proved to be even more difficult. Art isn’t a valued career choice in the South Asian community so it’s been a bumpy road and there’s many more obstacles I’m looking forward to, but there isn’t an obstacle great enough that’s going to stop me as long as I have faith and the love and support of my family and friends.
What does ART mean to you?
Art is love. Art is the expression of the unseen, inexplicable, and the Divine. It comes in different forms, even for me. Whether it’s through drawing, painting, sculpture, music, photography, writing or dance, I am able to express my raw thoughts and emotions through these different mediums.
Everyone expresses themselves in some form or another, it’s absolutely crucial to do so. We are works of art ourselves.
Why do you think, in comparison to other professions/ fields of work, so few brown folk venture into art?
The South Asian culture is immensely rich in the arts. Everything from places of worship in the Motherland to holy scriptures and language, music, homes, pinda diya galleeyan (village alleyways), rickshaws and trucks, everything is adorned with some form of art. Even with such a rich arts culture and history, unfortunately, I think the value for the arts was lost at some point during immigration to the West.
My beautiful mother is a prime example. Growing up, she sewed her own clothes, embroidered, and painted until she got married and immigrated to Canada where she had to work two jobs with my dad to build a home, raise a family and pay the bills. As a result of that financial struggle, most immigrants fear the future of their children. They want their children to be financially secure.
For so long, doctors, lawyers and engineers have been predestined careers for children even before they come out of the womb, but I’m seeing changes now. More and more South Asian artists, poets, and musicians are coming out and inspiring others. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this growing movement at this point in time.
What would you say to anyone wanting to pursue art at college/uni or in their career?
“Just do it.”
There are so many lies told to instill fear in people wanting to pursue the arts, but why? Because artists can’t be successful? Because you can’t make money in art? Bullsh*t. That goes for the pursuit of any dream. If you suppress your inner voice, you’ll never be truly free.
I always say, “go with the flow, it’s the only way you’ll let go of your doubts and fears.” Even if you fail miserably, go back and do it again. You will grow as an individual with every failure and eventually it’ll lead to success. It’s a slow process for some. Trust me.
What makes you smile/feel good?
The little things in life – making babies laugh, handwritten letters, drinking water out of the garden hose, laying in the grass, coconut oil scalp massages, turning on the TV right when your favourite movie is starting, hugs, oversized sweaters, bubble wrap galore! Legit, I’m easily entertained and I love simple stuff. I’m not a high maintenance kinda gal.
You’re hosting a dinner party which three people, dead or alive, would you invite?
Although I look up to many role models, I’m not a mega fan of any celebrities. I’ve grown up having dinner with my 4 family members my whole life and there’s nobody else I’d rather have dinner with. It’s just one of those things that you’re so used to it’s hard to change.
Connect with Anoop on Instagram to see more of her empowering art.