We had the good fortune of connecting with Nazish Chunara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nazish, why did you pursue a creative career?
I pursued a creative career because it was a familiar and comfortable act. I don’t recall exactly how, but the practice found its way to me. It is more than just making art and showing work in a gallery; it is soothing. This practice is about continuing what my uncle and grandfather did. It is about understanding the world around me. It is about weaponizing a tool I found solace in while living as a pre-teen with unattended trauma and grief, and the ever pre-teen problem of making friends. I feel the need to honor these happenings and continue my art practice. I honor my ancestors and my memories. I also honor the best friend I found in the form of a paintbrush. With the brilliant form of communication that is art, I’ve met and made incredible friends along the way, and they too should be honored by refusing to resign to the riskiness that is building a career in art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Relatively speaking, I keep my art a secret. I sort of hoard it. It takes a lot of effort and thought to release a piece online, or otherwise. I rarely push it. It’s a struggle between self-involvement and the act of self-reflection. My work has evolved from very colorful and abstract, to calculated abstract, with inspiration from sounds, words, familial history, and my current pursuit of becoming an aerodynamicist. Creating art is freeing, and I am able to harness it in such a way that it becomes tangible. I now have evidence of this experience and can preserve it. Learning to fly is similar. It’s freeing but it is also guided. I have tried to merge these two concepts without compromising the basis of my work – emotion. I’ve learned that art alone is not enough for me. I’ve learned that making work while going back to college as an adult is not simple. I’ve also learned that each of these practices reveals a new perspective for the other, giving way to a new painting, or a revamped sense of curiosity while studying aeronautical science.
Another aspect of my career involves journalism. I was an editor at Venison Magazine for a few years, and now I’m a Senior Editor of art at SAAG Anthology. These are integral activities to continue to build and communicate with artists and other creatives. These are volunteer positions and the passion behind these journals’ mission was and continues to be awe-inspiring.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would include in the itinerary a trip to the Getty Center, the galleries in the Culver City Arts District, a visit to Book Soup in West Hollywood, dinner at Misfit, a concert at the Greek Theatre, a hike at Vasquez Rocks, rollerblading on the boardwalk in Santa Monica, nosebleed seats at a Laker game at Staples, a flight out of KSMO into Mojave, a day trip up PCH leading to Barts’ Books in Ojai, and a couple of nights camping in Joshua Tree where we’d use my telescope to look into the activities of the night sky. I would include as many sunrises and sunsets as I possibly could across these activities.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
- The creatives at SAAG Anthology @saaganthology,
- Arthur Huang @lifeasaconsumer,
- Tameka Blackshir @tamekainfulleffect,
- Little Break Journal @littlebreakjournal