Inspiring Mompreneur : Harshitha Kuttuva
Welcome to yet another edition of the Times Of Amma Mompreneur series where we talk to mothers who have transformed their passions into money-making ventures. From online jewellery stores, to handmade craft collectibles to potential actualizing workshops and much more. We hope that their accounts of the highs and lows of their entrepreneurial journey will inspire other mothers to hold on to their dreams and follow them through. Today we speak to Harshitha Kuttuva, an Artist, Art Teacher and full-time Expat Mom. She works with mixed media, acrylic and watercolours and in styles like Madhubani, Gond, Warli and more. Harshitha also paints on commission even creating customized memory illustrations and thoughts. You can see some of her pieces at her store on Etsy and follow her on Instagram here.
Married at 19 and an expat life soon after. From a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature to becoming a full-fledged working and teaching artist with two online shops – Could you tell us a little bit about your journey?
An inspiring mother and happy sisters who were skilled in various forms laid a strong foundation for me to become an artist . I flew to Chicago with hopes and dreams after getting married. Sadly, my visa had limited scope and prohibited me from taking courses which made me wonder “what can I do from home? “. With internet as the only choice and the knowledge library as the only resource, I took my first ever art class on pastels and watercolours as an experimental medium and to develop my artistic skills .
Leaving my sojourn art life at chicago and settling down at chennai gave me an opportunity to teach kids . I taught them painting in relation to creative art journalling using mixed media devoting “art as a flow rather than a rule” which gave me hope for future endeavorment and laid a foundation.
Being a happy mother, I took up drawing to relax my soul and to deviate from the usual routine when I got my first ever order. The excitement of working few hours a day choosing Paint and Canvas, and drawing on a journal for practicing and going through the phase of whether or not my buyer might like it was love at first sight.
The womenfolk around me supported me with words of encouragement which led me to open a shop at Etsy and making a few sales on Facebook. I started my commercial journey as an Indian folk artist exploring the styles like Warli, Madhubani and Gond. The sales gave me hope that I can do something from home and did not necessarily have to earn a big sum. It is all about inner happiness and keeping myself mentally agile. Did moving affect your career decisions? It did affect it a bit when I had to leave behind what I built. Changing places gave me a break from the thought process on everything -from family to art. But it also gave me an immense chance and opportunity to explore and learn more. I was able to carry my supplies along since my business was online. The issues were setting up a work place with good lights. I had to leave behind my lovely desk at Sydney and move here. It was quite heartbreaking when I could not work at ease when I did not have stuff the way I wanted it. On the other hand, Melbourne is an artistic place and a perfect place for colours and fashion. I made amazing friends here. How do you balance the need to create art with your parenting? How tough is it to switch from the ethereal world of the muse to the very grounded realities of parenting It was hard in the beginning when my son was small and I had to wait for his nap time to do some quick sketching or painting until I found ways to manage time and schedule things. I prioritise family and take art as a serious hobby. I mark a time line and work on projects accordingly. As a creative artist, I personally can’t work under stress. I prefer focusing on one task at a time. My husband on the other hand, takes charge of my son when I work . We both balance accordingly. Things cant be made on time at times when either of us get sick. I spend a minimum of three days a week on focusing on art and when I don’t - I journal or doodle. To keep my Son occupied, we paint together in harmony. I take up online challenges and my son contributed some of his art during that period. He was well appreciated for his enthusiasm.He is four and half and has made around seven abstracts which were sold as prints on Redbubble.
What were the challenges you faced in becoming a professional working artist?
Managing time and the accumulated ideas in my brain.
Finding my niche was a tough task and I still find it challenging. My ideas and inspirations keeps changing and it deviates each time I try to do something. It took me a year to create an identity as an artist and it was one step at a time from then on. It was a learning process from creating an idea, executing it, making prints on the subject and pricing the art as an artist and a seller, packaging the item and delivering on time.
And lastly to deal with bargainers and copycats Who was your biggest support whilst you transformed your passion for art into a business?
My husband who pampers me with heaps of expensive art supplies and journals. He finds me inspiring, and appreciates supporting small independent sellers like me. He helps me in dealing with accounts, shipping products and invests in me.
What has been the happiest moment in your journey as an artist, thus far?
I would still say my first buyer and also my first art show with other independent artists in Melbourne hosted by Raw. I sold many of my art prints and was appreciated for my nursery art decor and abstract which I exclusively made for the show.
Most mothers are expert multitaskers. As an artist, online seller, teacher and mother, when is the most you have had to multi-task?
I used to multitask before. But I don’t anymore and I prefer focusing on one task at a time. Multitasking overcrowds my brain and distracts me. I schedule and organise and run things accordingly. What is the one piece of advice that you wish you had received as a young mom converting her passion into a business? Do what you love! Credit and value yourself for the simplest task you do. Let the doubt and fear ignite new hopes and beginnings. Create an identity for yourself. Each one of us is given a role and chance to play. It is about the perspective we see our life with. You can either choose to be 'the Sun - the bright star' or 'the tiny star as bright as the Sun' in your own galaxy. It is all about perspective and what you feel as a person is just your reflection.
Harshitha, thank you for sharing your art and your journey with us. We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing even more from you in the future. Editor's note : If you are an Inspiring Mompreneur or you know someone who fits the bill, get in touch with us here or on Facebook. For more conversations with inspiring Moms and a dekko at Team Times Of Amma behind the scenes, follow us on Instagram.