Chitra Merchant grew up in India and currently works as an artist in Bristol, U.K. After completing a B.A Degree in Psychology in Bangalore, she left India to work for a year in an artist’s studio in West Africa. She came to England in the early nineties and completed a B.A (Hons) Degree in Illustration from U.W.E Bristol (’98) where she was first introduced to printmaking. In 2001 she based herself at Spike Print Studio where she prints, exhibits and works to commission on a regular basis.
Much of Chitra’s work is strongly informed by her Indian upbringing. She uses ancient historical sites as starting points from which to develop imaginal structures that take on a life and logic of their own. In other bodies of work, Chitra is interested in examining the roles and expectations ascribed to women. Chitra is also inspired by the writings of Blake and the poetry of 12th and 13th century poet seers such as Rumi, Kabir, Mirabai and Hafiz. Chitra experiments with various print processes including screenprint, monoprint, hand drawn and digitally manipulated marks. Her love of drawing is integral to her work; it always forms the starting point of any work. These drawings may be made on site whether it is an ancient eastern ruin or an urban western city site. Alternatively, she frequently paints directly onto a screen to form a stencil. Her vibrant and dynamic use of colour draws on her Indian upbringing and acts as a metaphor to examine the relationships between people and landscape. Her printing portfolio is constantly evolving, in her own words, the ‘process involves turning all techniques on its head to see what treasure or disaster might be revealed.’