Rupy C. Tut - Art by Rupy
A mutual love for Punjab - our ancestral homeland - it's history and art is what 'drew' us to our featured artist for this month.
Punjab born and California raised - Rupy C Tut is a Punjabi Sikh artist specialising in Indian Miniatures and Calligraphy. Rupy draws her artistic influences largely from her Punjabi Sikh heritage, with some of her more recent work having focused on the imagery in Sikh Scriptures (Gurbani), the identity of the diaspora, and exploring Punjabi literary narratives. As you can imagine, all this is right up our street!
We get up close and personal with the master behind the masterpieces, who manages to make us feel closer to Punjab...one painting at time.
Tell us about Rupy C Tut, aka Art by Rupy
Ah! I have been a lifelong creative but also someone really passionate about the sciences. The idea of impacting communities through any type of individual effort has always motivated me. Previously, with my Master’s in public health, I worked to make an impact on global communities through my involvement. However, after switching to a professional career in visual arts, I find that there is also much impact to be made through creative work. Besides being crazy about my work, I am pretty easy going. I adore all the people who make up the core of my life and support system. I find joy in interacting with the world about urgent and significant topics. Basically, an honest, punjabi speaking, goofy badass at heart.
What challenges do you face in your day-to-day work?
Art is not just about creating work. It is about networking, marketing, products, sales, planning and strategy. Striking a balance between the different hats I have to wear while pursuing a career in the arts is a challenge every day.
How do you stay motivated?
I’m motivated by a hunger to learn and to make sure that I get better every day.
What makes you feel good?
A hot cup of tea, meaningful conversation, green surroundings, yoga and a yummy snack make me feel good.
What’s been your greatest struggle, and how do you generally overcome negative emotions?
I think the greatest struggle for me has been balancing being a strong person overall with being vulnerable at the same time. Creativity cannot take place without vulnerability. I overcome most struggles by being conscious of the “who, what, why” about all my work.
Where do you draw inspiration from, in life and your field of work?
Without a doubt, Gurbani has been my biggest source of inspiration. I am also inspired by stories about displacement during the 1947 partition of India as well as the immigrant experience.
How have your family and friends encouraged you to pursue what you are doing?
They have been my audience since day one and continue to be supportive. I have been lucky to be around great female and male role models since an early age. My husband has been a core driving force in my career as an artist. Specifically, I have adopted one of his mantras from the tech world into my own creative work. “Fail early and often.”
You are having a dinner party – which three people would you invite, and why?
That’s easy - three Artists; Amrita Sher-gil. Arpana Caur. Monet.
What’s your motto – or, another way we like to ask this question...what would you get tattooed on your forehead, and why?!
Haha, I hope “this person is approachable” is tattooed on my forehead already. I think life is about striving to achieve excellence in what we do and the roles we play. Without a desire to be better, I feel any work any one of us does is meaningless.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to pursue a career in the field of art?
Ah, so much!!! My advice to anyone who wants to pursue a creative career would be to self-reflect as often as possible. If you know yourself well, you’ll be true to your craft. I believe a creative career requires devotion as well as practice towards your craft. And, it is possible to have financial security while being an artist even if it means taking on art-oriented jobs such as teaching. I would also strongly recommend artists to not work for free. I think, as an artist, you provide a service as much as any other professional in this world.
Tell us an interesting fact you would like to share!
Hmm, I love singing...like the two of you. More interesting than that….I try to learn one new Punjabi word every single day. Today’s word is “sangreh” (sNgRih), which means 'a collection'.
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More from Rupy: