OS Conversations: Karishma
1. Describe the path that you are currently working on
2018 has been the year of self-realization and reﬂection for me. Having produced such a vast and visually diverse amount of work within the last two years, I decided to step back and take some time to really think about what I want as an artist and which direction I want my work to go towards. As a creative in any ﬁeld, I feel that it’s really important to make time to experiment with your vision and the mediums in which you can convey them. I think in today’s world of constant production and promotion we forget the importance of the creative process. Oftentimes we are so focused on producing a large quantity of work to release regularly that we can lose sight of creating quality work that is authentic to ourselves and not “mass-produced”.
2. Who is Karishma?
I’m a visual creative from Toronto who specializes in art direction and image-making.
3. How did you first get involved in this photography scene? And what do you love about working in this scene?
I got my ﬁrst point-and-shoot 35mm camera when I was 9 and I haven’t stopped taking photos since. I think my interest in photography deﬁnitely stemmed from my father. Although it was never his profession, he’s always been an avid collector of cameras as well as a very talented photographer himself. I think being around that energy and constantly seeing him capture moments inspired me to do the same. I’m also extremely thankful that both my parents have a deep appreciation for the arts as well as their own artistic outlets. This really gave me the courage to pursue a career in the creative industry, which is usually a struggle in most Asian families.
4. How does living in London impact your creativity and the things you do?
The last six years in London have been a really unique and inspiring experience. I think the most impactful part of my time there was the people I met and the friendships I made. The relationships and experiences I had in London really fostered my creativity and provided me with a purpose as an artist. I really feel as though I found the members of my tribe there.
5. Can you describe your personal style for us?
I think my style is quite lucid and depends on what mood I’m in or where I am in the world. I can be quite feminine and soft, be head to toe in menswear, or a mixture of both. I travel a lot and when I’m in Asia or anywhere more tropical I’ll deﬁnitely opt for something more ethnic. I feel very fortunate to have such a rich heritage when it comes to traditional clothing so I love playing with diﬀerent Asian textiles and fabrics to highlight that part of me.
6. Out of all the project you have done, which one is close to your heart. Why?
The photo-series about my grandparents I created over the summer is very close to me. The photographs are part of a larger ongoing series exploring representation, identity, cultural experience, and the visual language of social identity. This series, in particular, examines generational immigrant life in the West, and it captures intimate moments of daily life as nonworking South Asian seniors.
Shooting this really had me thinking about my grandparents’ journey of immigrating to Canada from Fiji and the life they built for themselves and their family. It has given me a profoundly deeper understanding of what “home” truly is for people and communities who have been displaced multiple times throughout their lives.
7. 3 self-care rituals you live by:
The only practice that comes to mind for me is self-love. I truly believe it’s the most important element you can incorporate into your life, especially in an artistic or professional sense. I’ve learned that it’s so important to respect your journey and be patient with your creative maturation. I often have to remind myself that it’s not about how fast you establish yourself, it’s about building something meaningful which has a lasting impact.
8. Is there anything you’re interested in doing or exploring in the next coming 4 - 6 years.
Right now I’m looking at ways in which I can specify my voice in order to elevate my overall artistry. I often remind myself that there are levels to this – which is what I believe distinguishes a good artist from a great one. And with the current state of social media, it can be easy to lose yourself in content that is often surface-level and purely aesthetically pleasing.
As of right now, I’ve made the conscious decision to block out the noise, and instead strive to create works which tell authentic stories and truths that meet my own aesthetic expectations. It’s taken me some time, but I think my greatest fear is creating motifs of things that already exist. It’s so critical to use your inspirations as tools to ﬁnding your own means of personal expression, rather than just biting or regurgitating them.
9. Where do you find inspirations?
I deﬁnitely ﬁnd a lot of my inspiration from ﬁlms – particularly older and more experimental ones. But I tend to use all and any forms of moving image work as points of reference for my narrative concepts and photographs.
10. What is your personal opinion on your hometown fashion scene?
I think we have an eclectic mix of styles in Toronto. It all depends on where you go and who you’re hanging out with. Coming from London I deﬁnitely feel as though there aren’t as many options when it comes to shopping, which is why I – and most people I know in the city, often wear a lot of second-hand clothes. Thrifting is the best, and its a pretty large percentage of my wardrobe.
11. Favorite city to travel to?
It’s diﬃcult to pick just one city, so I would say my favorite country to travel to would be India. I’ve been visiting India pretty regularly since I was four but I’ve deﬁnitely only scratched the surface. It’s such a vast and rich country culturally so every city or region you visit there is something unique and new to experience.
12. What does a typical day look like to you?
At the moment I’m freelancing full time so my daily schedule has deﬁnitely changed since I left London. I like to start my day relatively early; I’m up by 7:30am and will usually work out for about an hour before breakfast. Then the rest of my day varies based on the number of projects I’m working on. It may include meetings, working at a cafe or on location. If I’m not so busy I’ll make time to catch up on reading, painting, personal projects, or watching new ﬁlms.
Photos courtesy of Karishma Instagram: @karrishma