Sukriti the ‘docofhappiness’
What does being an artist mean to you?
Art is a very mighty tool and it has the power to express what you feel. Most importantly It has the power to change people’s mindsets. So as they say “with great power comes great responsibility”. So while using this powerful tool, I have a responsibility to be very careful and mindful of this power that has been bestowed upon me.
Did you always want to be an artist?
I come from a background where my father is also an artist, so it was a natural choice for me to be an artist. So, firstly, it is in my blood and the second reason is that I am not really good at anything else! The only two good things I have in me are – that I am good at art and that I am good at encouraging people. So I wanted to excel in these two things.
What are the biggest challenges/mental blocks you have faced in your journey as an artist and how did you overcome them?
I think an artist’s biggest challenge is their own mindset. They are their own biggest critics. So like a lot of artists, I do face a lot of challenges. Many times when I am drawing something and till the time I post it, overthinking takes over. Like, whether this is the right thing to have made? Will it really encourage somebody or make a difference?
The other big challenge that I face is that I draw illustrations related to mental health and there is a lot of stigma attached to mental health especially in India. So, I feel sometimes I am not able to reach out to a large number of people because of the subject I draw about. May be, if I draw something funny or ironic, I may have more of a following. But because I work on something so profound and I work on something which intends to create a huge change in people’s minds, I think it’s a slow process and maybe that’s why my reach may be a little less. But I am still very passionate about what I draw.
What inspires you?
I draw on mental health and draw to motivate and encourage people. My own daily life is my biggest inspiration because I draw out of experiences of whatever I have faced for example the problems I have faced in relationships or friendships or any other areas of my life. So, first of all, I have to undergo that suffering myself, then find the solution and apply it in my own life and see the change in my own life. And, that encourages me to draw on the same topic. So daily life inspires me the most.
How was docofhappiness born?
So docofhappiness was never meant to be an Instagram page. It was meant to be a project. It was meant to be bigger than just a page on mental health, and I have big plans for docofhappiness. I continue to nurture these plans in my heart and whenever I will get the opportunity, I will definitely go ahead and make them possible.
The project, docofhappiness happened because a lot of ideas were rejected by a lot of people as I am not qualified in the field of psychology. I have never studied psychology professionally so a lot of people had doubts when I wanted to do workshops on motivation and psychology or based on mental health. I received so many rejections that at first I thought I should leave this idea because this is a far-fetched dream, or maybe that I should quit art and start studying psychology. Perhaps then people would start taking me seriously. But I did not give up and thought that one thing I am good at is art. So let me make art the basis of what I want to speak about mental health. And, that is how docofhappiness was born. The idea came to me in 2017 and I launched the page on 2nd Jan 2018.
Tell us about your experience in working with Bombay Begums (webseries on Netflix)?
Bombay Begum happened because of and through docofhappiness(my Insta page). Alankrita or her team saw my page and that is how they got in touch with me. For me, it was unbelievable! At first, I thought someone’s playing a prank on me. They said they are speaking from this production house and are making a web series and the director would like to meet me. And, at that time I did not know it was Alankrita and thought it was some kind of a joke. Because honestly till now also, I feel the number of followers that I have may not be as much as all the wonderful artists out there in India. And I really admire every artist’s work as unique, so there are better artists for sure than me. So, why would a production house choose me to draw illustrations for a web series? But it turned out to be an unbelievable experience because I got the greatest opportunity to work with such a wonderful team. And, it was really a unique experience.
First I read the script, understood the character and the dialogues, and at a point, I really had to learn the dialogues because I really had to understand the character, Shai’s (a 13 year old girl), mind and really work as a teenager. Like, how a teenager would think. Shai is not like a normal teenager. She is a very evolved human being and has very profound thoughts. So I had to really get that kind of mindset and draw the sketches from that perspective and then ideating different thoughts as every episode had a different theme. So, it was definitely a challenging job but it was my biggest and greatest fortune to work with a team like that. And, to see your work on a web series on Netflix and everybody watching it, everybody talking about it is so fulfilling as an artist.
What are you ultimate dreams and hopes?
My ultimate goal for docofhappiness is that I want to create a physical place for people’s mental health. Right now, I don’t know if it’s going to be a resort or spa but it’s definitely going to be a place where people can check-in to take care of their mental health. It will have all walks of art as a healing tool. We will have a psychiatrist or psychologist. They will have workshops. And, that’s my dream, and may be at some point I will be able to achieve it
If you can give a single piece of advice to fellow artists/young people through your learning journey, what would it be?
A single piece of advice I would like to give my fellow artists is that don’t ever give up! Please continue to have that big dream and continue to work towards it. And, the second thing I would like to say, no matter how talented you are, I think conduct is the key. People remember you not by your words, but by the way you make others feel. So I think no matter how wonderful you are at your skill, your behaviour is the biggest thing. It will get you respect and everything else will follow.
Sukriti is an illustrator on a mission. Her Instagram page @docofhappiness is dedicated to mental well-being. She illustrates to encourage people. Her belief is art has the power to change people’s mindsets. In 2020, she went a step beyond art and collaborated with people who were like minded and conducted 66 lives with dancers, chefs, writers, musicians, yogis and actors like Ayushmann Khurana, Raj Nayak, Neeti Mohan, Rochak Kohli, Nakkul Mehta, Maria Goretti etc. Her recent illustration in the web series Bombay Begums on Netflix have been highly appreciated.