We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashwini Bharathula and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashwini, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
As Maria Montessori once said, ” The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” I believe this applies to grown-ups as well. I find myself truly happy when I’m in the zone, completely focused on creating something from scratch. Maybe it is a painting I’m working on or a song I’m practising. To me, it’s no different than meditation. Time flies when you’re concentrating and it’s exhilarating to see your work unravel in ways you didn’t expect.  

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

Growing up I loved art as much as I loved science and math and did not view them as being mutually exclusive. I used to draw and sketch a lot in my spare time. I went on to complete my formal education in the field of materials science and engineering. I got my bachelors degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. I moved to the US in 2005 and received my masters and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. While at Ohio State, I happened to audit a painting class one summer for fun and have been hooked ever since. After getting my PhD, I worked in the semiconductor industry for a few years. Even while working in the corporate world, I had this constant itch to paint. I finally took the plunge and quit my industry job to explore something at the intersection of art and science. I started a youtube channel where I created and shared science video lessons. I collaborated with TED-Ed (www.ed.ted.com) and helped create a few short movies with millions of views. I also started painting more seriously around this time and decided to pursue it full-time. Not having a formal art education meant that there was a whole lot I had to figure out on my own. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that mastering a craft needs years of dedicated effort and it sure is not easy. Now I feel I have a better idea of where I’m headed and how to get there.

 My painting style can be characterized as representational realism. In the past year, I have been working a lot on portraits. I find a lot of joy in depicting not only the likeness of a person but their emotion and personality. Apart from portraits, I like to paint scenes from my travels – mostly waterscapes and urbanscapes. I’m drawn to bold colors and evocative textures. I have used acrylics in the past but have now switched to oil as a medium.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

I love exploring the pedestrian-friendly Roosevelt Historic District near downtown Phoenix. The First Friday art walks are fun. Check out historic buildings like the Trinity Cathedral and The Great Arizona Puppet Theater.  Swing by the food court called The Churchill for a quick bite, or enjoy burgers and beers at Wilderness DTPHX. Walk down to Gallo Blanco in Garfield for excellent contemporary Mexican cuisine.  The Main Street galleries in Scottsdale like the Legacy are a huge personal favorite. I love the Scottsdale Artists’ School which offers workshops by some of the finest artists from all over the country. While in Scottsdale, if you are in the mood for coffee cake, check out the awesome Arcadia Farms cafe.
The area also offers some excellent hiking. Some of my favorite hikes are near Saguaro Lake, Cave Creek, White Tank mountains and Usery mountain. The Boyce Thompson arboretum is a gem. The sunset cruise from the Saguaro Lake Marina is a nice way to unwind after a busy day.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband – without his support and encouragement, it would have been impossible to take the leap and quit my corporate career and dive deep into my artistic endeavors. And the community of master artists that I follow on Instagram. I find a ton of inspiration in their work and learn a lot everyday.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ashwini_bharathula
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100050369865123

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