One of the Inspiring Bhutanese Artists to Watch This Summer- Pema Gyeltshen
Pema is a rising artists producing paintings with diverse theme including region, tradition, culture, everday life, abstracts and self expressions. Most of his work are done with acrylic and watercolors.
Born on the eastern region of the country , Pema Gyeltshen grew up in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. In 1998, he joined Voluntary Artists Studio Thimphu (VAST) where he learned the basic elements of art/paintings. He gained knowledge which aided him immensely in continuing and pursuing his career as a fully dedicated artists. He discovered his love for art at a very young age and even in school during serious academic sessions.
He recalls how he would often end up drawing/sketching or scribbling on the back of his notebooks instead of focusing on the class being held at that moment.
Here is Q&A with the artist himself.
Q. What does art mean to you ?
Pema; Contemporary art in Bhutan is still young and budding, art basically means expressing yourself through different mediums of art, and of course being a full-time artist involves selling your works and making a living. Art can be a strong medium of expression and viewing the world through an artistic eye.
Q.How enterprising is the business for you ?
Pema; Since I started becoming as full-time artist in 2012 it has been a tough journey but every business has to go through a similar phase like this, slowly I have picked up and built my audience and clients on and offline, now I am able to make a living through what I like to do most in life. The best career in life is doing what you're passionate about in life. I have been able to sell my artworks to tourists here in Bhutan and shipped my works in different parts of the world as well and also to some local buyers here.
Q.What’s your biggest accomplishment as an artist ?
Pema; My biggest achievement of being an artist is being able to express myself through art and also being able to make a living out of it, being able to connect with people from all walks of life, and my biggest achievement would be being able to get rid of bad habits like drug and alcohol, art has paved a better way for me in life and suppressed my bad habits for a long time now, I am clean for more twelve years now and has worked as full-time artist since 2012.
Q. What’s your advice to youths interested in Art ?
Pema; I don't know if I have the wisdom to give advice to youths interested in art but through my experience as long as you have the passion and dedication to art I feel you can make a living through art here in Bhutan.
But you really need to be learning and working smart and also being consistent and dedicated in what you're doing. Keep practicing and definitely you will achieve yours dream or goal to become an artist.
Q.How is covid impacting you as an artists ?
Pema; This pandemic has affected all of us around the world and even taken many lives and affected livelihood elsewhere, we are fortunate to be here in Bhutan since there's no internal transmission of the virus here, of course things do not work out as usual but I feel I am still able to sell my works to few people and still go on. And I just hope and pray that things become better and back to normal soon. On the other side it is good that people have more time to create and discover their hidden talents.
To learn more about Pemas Work
Find him on Facebook and Instagram!