Creative Director at her eponymous design studio, Sharon Nayak picked up the camera to bridge the gap between her creative vision and its photographic execution
What role has a formal art education played in your career?
SN: Right after completing the 10th standard at Sophia High School in Bangalore, I joined Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, College of Fine Arts, where I specialized in applied art. While the five-year course was not as progressive and in-depth as it is now, it taught me patience and helped to improve my skills as an artist. It’s very important to take the time to not only see what your strengths and weaknesses are but to be exposed to other great talent around you. It teaches you to be humble as well as ambitious. I don’t believe in short cuts.
What drew you to fashion and lifestyle?
SN: I think I loved fashion and lifestyle from the very start. As a child, I was drawn to both the beautiful and the grotesque and for me there was a fine line between both. In my younger years (between 4 and 10) I watched a lot of television and became obsessed with it. I also read comics and fairy tale and nursery rhyme books. I grew up in Bahrain and almost all our stationery was from Japan. I was exposed to and influenced at an early age by art by Takahashi Macoto and other Shouju artists and their Lolita fashions. At the time I had no idea who they were - I just adored their art and fashion. I also played with and collected a variety of fashion dolls, their clothes and accessories. In fact I’ve been doing that till today.
You went on to work with leading advertising agencies in India for over two decades. What did this experience teach you?
SN: It taught me everything I needed to start on my own. Each agency was a different learning ground, with different schools of thought and an array of talent. I learnt how to use my art in campaigns and in all kinds of mediums; how to ideate with clients; and how to explain and sell my work. But most of all I learned that change is inevitable, and if you don’t stay current and keep up with this change, not only will you become redundant but you will never be excited and happy with yourself.
What’s the story behind Sharon Nayak Design?
SN: I was very apprehensive about starting my own creative shop although the idea kept running around in my mind for years. The final decision came when I started shooting on my own. I never really liked photography because it felt so complicated and I hate
the technical part of anything. In college we were taught so rigidly about aperture and focal length and light readings - it seemed like the last thing I would want to do! Then after working with different photographers I realized that wasn’t it at all…it is so much more than being technical. And the mistakes that were made were really the images that I loved even though the photographers saw it as an error. This made me want to pick up the camera myself, and create my own vision for the campaigns I was creating along with what the client envisioned. It was the perfect situation and timing to start on my own. My partner and I started Sharon Nayak Design in Bangalore in 2009 as an advertising, photography, art and design studio.
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