Subhashini Chandramani has now come up with a ‘Garden Journal’, and hopes that elements of nature and art in it will inspire people and kindle creativity
Through her eyes, wilted bougainvillea flowers magically transform into a nose pin on a woman. Chakli and murukku become the long pagdis of Rajasthani men. Misshapen ginger morphs into hummingbirds and banana stems mutate into New York’s skyline.
Sustainable art, using wilted flowers and plants, leftover vegetables and fruits has become a passion for Bengaluru-based Subhashini Chandramani. This ‘Garden Art’ began randomly enough in 2015, when she picked up fallen blooms and leaves from her garden and incorporated them in her sketches.
Today, her unique form of 3D art has its own Instagram account under the name @neelavanam and is featured on her website neelavanam.in.
This year, Subhashini has decided to showcase her work in the form of a journal. “My parents are avid diary writers and always encouraged me to sort out my thoughts and log events. Journaling is basically the same thing,” Subhashini explains.
Mental health experts have often pointed out that journaling is one of the best forms of writing therapy, acknowledged as a psychotherapy tool to manage stress, anxiety and depression.
“I wanted to create a space where people can express themselves however they want, and organise their thoughts and activities, but not just a planner or diary. Art, flowers and greenery are known to uplift the mood. I wanted ‘Garden Art’ to do that. To inspire people and maybe even kindle creativity,” says Subhashini.
The journal has a dot grid bullet format with 37 of her Garden Art images interspersed between the 196 pages, divided into four sections. Her husband, Vinay, helped her design the book and select the type of paper to ensure that ink doesn’t bloat or spread – one of the prerequisites of a proper journal.
However, the toughest part for Subhashini is marketing the journal and ensuring that her art isn’t plagiarized.
“I believe all art is to be shared, but not stolen. The artist must be respected and given credit. That is the true way of appreciating art. Ensuring this, and protecting my copyright on social media – this was the difficult part for me,” says Subhashini .
The journal, she explains, is her way of sharing her art and trying to motivate people towards a happy life. She best encapsulates this in an Instagram post from July, the 100th post in her #100daysofhappiness series. Its caption reads:
“What you get from nature, What you get from a garden,
What you get from seeing plants and flowers,
What you get from art,
And what you get from spreading your smile to others.”