Mosaic artist Aashika Cunha has worked as a museum curator and graphic designer in the arts space, and has been conducting art workshops for children for over 12 years upon graduating from Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore with a BA in Fine Arts. Read more about her passion for art and kids (now even more so with a daughter in tow) below!
1. Her Grandmother Was Her Very First Art Teacher
Our grandmother (Anne de Braganca Cunha) was always making mosaics out of anything she could lay her hands on – shells, old ceramic tiles, beads and scraps of glass way back in the ‘60s. As kids, we would assist her in her artistic endeavours, and I guess that’s as far as our formal training went in the initial stages.
2. Her First Project Was Commissioned to the Second Largest Retail Real Estate Owner in the United States
We had gone for a holiday to Barcelona and saw the (Antoni) Gaudi mosaic art in Spain and decided that we should create one on our terrace. My sister started creating one, and I would pitch in after dinner because I was working all day. It was so destressing.
Our overenthusiastic parents posted this on their Facebook wall, much to our embarrassment. It was so awkward. Their friend is the director of GGP, the second largest retail real estate owner in the United States. His wife saw the picture on Facebook. It so happened that the couple was visiting Bombay at that time and that’s how they contacted us. They told us that they wanted us to create something for them. We got a call on a Monday evening and flew out to Honolulu that very night for a week.
We had to make the panels here and ship them there, and had to go back for installation within three weeks. The challenges were completing the piece in 32 parts and shipping them all the way to Hawaii; so the continuity had to be perfect.
3. Being a Mosaic Artist is No Easy Feat
Sorting, designing and cutting each tile individually take more than seven hours in one sitting. Portraits are definitely the hardest. Getting the characteristics of the person down is difficult. People can be quite fussy – wanting to look slimmer or fairer. And you can’t just change it with a stroke of paint like in paintings. You have to remove the tiles from the board with a knife (and a lot of energy), smoothen the board again and re-stick the tiles. The glass colours available are limited, unlike paints which you can mix and create more shades; so sometimes it causes a constraint especially in skin tones.
4. Practising Mosaic Art Has Enriched Her Motherhood
When we moved to Singapore, I found out I was pregnant. This period of time where I was pregnant and unemployed gave me time to focus more on my passion – mosaic. And it was the last thing I did before I went into labour! After giving birth, I felt that the mosaic was therapeutic for me, and at the same time, since I do it from home, the timing is flexible and I don’t miss out on my daughter’s childhood at all! Currently, I can’t resist making her do all things messy and arty and am happy to do it for anyone else who is up for it.
A big thank you to Aashika for her captivating story as a mother mosaic artist, find out more about her here!
Always wondered if you had an inner artist in you? Check out our blog article on Connected Women for six signs to help you discover your hidden art talent!
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