Asher Jay on art and activism

New York-based Asher Jay is not just an artist; she is also a fashion designer with a conscience and a writer. Most of her works include strong social message and issues that are close to her heart. She is however, strongly against labelling herself as she states, “People constantly ask me whether I am a designer first or an artist first, but that's like asking the age old chicken and egg question.”

The artist, who is in the city for her first exhibition, states that she has a love-hate relationship with most of her paintings. She explains, “My collection has mixed media, ink, acrylics, fabrics, multi-media, collage. It's an eclectic and eccentric mix of work.” Art is not Asher's only love; she has travelled extensively in Africa, Asia and Europe in support of various social and environmental causes that are extensively reflected in her works.

Her affinity to nature comes across succinctly in most of her works and the use of bold colours highlights her style. “Colours are dynamic and hypnotic and most of my works evoke a visceral response. I incorporate the structure and cut from the western art form and the fluidity and drapes of the east,” she explains that art is inter interdisciplinary and inspiration can be drawn from anywhere be it fashion or astrophysics.

She has worked for the Masai tribe in Africa, fought against the ocean acidification and erosion of corals in the Lakshadweep Islands, BP oil spill which has found resonance in her paintings and designs. Most of her art campaigns exhibit a form of animation and humour which helps put forth her message subtly.

Her paintings have strong elements of contemporary pop art. She says, “I play with colours and shapes. Even in my collage work I have elements of fashion that I incorporated using various magazine cut outs.”

She also feels that fashion should be approached for art's sake and not commerce. “When you buy a piece of art or a clothing, there should be a personal connection rather than falling for a brand,” says Asher Jay.

Asher Jay's works are on display at Taj Deccan till April 30.

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