Life for artist and masseuse Inara Indigo, 24, has not always been easy. Her initial arrival to Hathian saw her arrive as a penniless, homeless immigrant. Her life changed for the better when she met her future employers and friends, the Khargs, who employed her at their Howling At The Moon fitness centre as a masseuse. With their support, Inara is now the proud owner of the Shen Gallery Of Fine Art. The gallery, which will exhibit her own artwork, is scheduled to open in May. The Hathian Observer sat down with Ms Shen to ask her about the gallery.
Hathian Observer: In a city known mostly for it’s violent nature, where did you get the idea to open a gallery?
Inara Shen: “I got the idea from my boyfriend. He mentioned it a couple of times before he convinced me that my work is good enough that people would appreciate it, and take something personal away with them. He’s not an artist but he appreciates art. Music and art.”
H.Observer: We’re glad he managed to convince you. What inspires your art and what are the general themes that appear in your work?
Inara S:”There’s a lot of different inspirations. My father taught me to find beauty in everything and to paint what you see. But you also need to paint what you feel, otherwise the art is just… silent. Sometimes I paint things I remember, or things I once wished for, or dream about. Other times, some of the more negative emotions find their way out of my head and onto the canvas. Some of the themes are personal. I could tell you what I was thinking of when I painted each of these, but I think the person looking at the painting should interpret it,if someone else sees some other truth to it – they’re not wrong. In a way, other people looking at them makes them mean more, which is why my boyfriend Taka encouraged me to dispaly them. Concepts that run through a lot of my work are water, being underwater, I mean. And blood.. and sex. Both good sensual intimacy, the longing for it, and the act itself. ”
H.Observer: What is the timeline of a typical painting from idea to completion ?
Inara S: “Well every painting is different. Sometimes I start and finish in a night. Other times I sketch on the canvas and don’t touch it for a week, just thinking about what I need to express and how best to convey it. I usually only work on one thing at a time, against my father’s advice. He always said that an artist gets depressed when one of their projects is complete, so you need to have one or two more to fall back on.But I usually only work on one thing at a time. Sometimes that let-down fuels the emotion of my next painting.”
H.Observer: What were the biggest challenges facing you in trying to open up a gallery?
Inara S: “The biggest hurdle was emotional. When I painted most of these, I wasn’t doing it with the thought that other people would be looking at it. They’re kind of private. I had to get over the ‘people are really going to see these’ shock. I’m still not entirely comfortable with it. Then there was the legal stuff, permits and insurance and the like.”
H.Observer: Finally, now that you’re the proud owner of the amazing Shen Gallery of Fine Art, what direction do you think your career will take?
Inara S: “Right now I’m not planning on giving up my job as a masseuse at the Khargs’ fitness center. They are like family to me, and it’s a family business, so I haven’t really considered leaving it. If the gallery starts to take up all of my time I might consider it. “I would miss connecting with people. I enjoy helping them relax, even if it’s just for a moment while they’re on my table. There’s not enough of that kind of peace in this world. If I can bring it, even for just a few minutes, whether it’s by massage or by looking at one of my paintings, I’d be happy.
In a city which sees the most gruesome and savage acts of violence and crime committed, Inara’s art work delivers a sense of peace and an experience of beauty that most citizen’s of Hathian have forgotten existed. The grand opening of the gallery will be eagerly anticipated and those who love art and creativity will experience an event unlike most others in Hathian.