Meet the Maker: Riti Jain Dhar – Imarim
In conversation with the uber-talented artist, whose folk-inspired decor creations with a funky twist will leave you mesmerised.
Quirky, unique, and contemporary — Imarim’s creations epitomise these very characteristics. Be it home decor, accessories, art, or furniture, the brand aims to liven your space with its gorgeous, unconventional creations.
And thus, one could be forgiven for imagining the artist is a twenty-something millennial, brimming with all sorts of newfangled ideas. The pleasant truth, though, is that the articulate, exceptionally imaginative, and supremely talented artist is 51-year-old Riti Jain Dhar.
A graduate from the Delhi College of Art (Applied Art), Riti went on to do the most natural thing that came to her — work in Advertising. “I worked with several organisations like Clarion, Everest, Mudra and Ogilvy,” she says. “Advertising was always supposed to be short stint for me, but as it the case with life, I just went from one advertising agency to another. I guess I always knew that I had another calling but was still trying to figure out what.”
Well, thankfully for all of us, figure out she did — and her creations are truly a treat to the eyes. We sat down with her to learn more about her brand, her products, her deep love for art, and much more!
Tell us a little about your brand, Imarim.
In 2016, I went through a major personal crisis. It gave me time to think; to reflect and question what I want to do going ahead. I knew I wanted to create something by hand, I knew I wanted to be personally involved and responsible. I was egged on by my daughters and I started experimenting by transforming some things in my own home. One fine day, I simply decided to started painting over my daughter’s desk, and the more I painted, the more I discovered I enjoyed it. And eureka! That, literally, is how Imarim was born.
The next move was to start looking for junk. I began fixing things and giving them a new lease of life. Soon, I was rummaging through ‘kabari’ markets to find little gems that appealed to me. In the age of use and throw, it has given me immense satisfaction to repair and reuse.
And finally, as for the name, it is a very personal one. Imarim is a name that was suggested by my late mother and is a combination of the four names that constitute my family. The name somehow gave me strength and courage to do something that has turned out to be so fulfilling.
Being in love with your work is key when it’s a creative job. Would you say you love what you do?
Imarim would not exist if I did not love what I do. Each piece is hand-painted by me and I look forward to sitting down every day with my paints and palette. The process is almost therapeutic. Opposed to ‘I must create some more things’, it is ‘I really want create something new’ — which is why each Imarim product is different, as each object and each shape has its own appeal.
Furthermore, I have always been drawn to colour. Growing up I always had a tough time answering the question, ‘What is your favourite colour?’ and I don’t have an answer even today. That is probably because I love them all! Experimenting with various shades, tones and tints is an exhilarating experience for me.
What’s the biggest difference between a piece of decor or furniture made by Imarim, as opposed to the commercial ones available in the market?
Imarim is truly exclusive. Imarim is not into creating the same piece in bulk. Each piece is only one in number and unique. Once someone purchases that, they can be sure that no one else will have the same creation.
How difficult is it to keep up with the ever-evolving home decor trends?
My aesthetic is very Indian, and I may even call it folk with a funky twist. Vibrant and bright colours appeal to me. I think there will always be people who have a like-minded aesthetic, irrespective of trends. People will always love colour and Imarim promises to always give oodles of colour.
Where do you draw creative inspiration from?
My greatest inspiration is nature, as it offers the most diversified beauty. I love how each leaf is shaped differently, or how each flower, however big or small is unique. Nature is so wild, yet each thing is so perfectly crafted. A new idea can strike anywhere, while I’m taking a walk, while I’m watching the ripples in a pond or even while I’m weeding the garden!
What’s your bestselling or most popular creation yet? Also, which one is your favourite?
This is the toughest question, because I have had spurts of different things selling. Hand-painted animals and birds seem to be loved by all. A lot of serving trays, tables, kettles and thalis have sold too. Personally, am too attached to my pieces to name a favourite. It’s like asking me which colour is my favourite!
However, I do find myself coming back to certain designs. The poppies and the lotus would probably be my favourites, as I have used them on tables, wall thalis, kettles and serving trays. Another series that really excites me is the one with the kettles, or the flower theme. Some of the flowers I have covered so far are forget me not, dandelions, flame of the forest, poppies and asters, to name a few.
What’s the hardest bit about running a business like yours? What makes it worth the effort?
The hardest, yet the most satisfying thing is that each piece is painted by me. The problem with that is that I can’t churn out huge quantities, but I’m happy keeping it small for now.
What can we expect in the future from Imarim?
Something new — always! I’m constantly on the lookout for new ideas that might interest and inspire me. The aesthetic would remain the same but the possibilities are endless. The most recent additions are notebooks and coasters, which serve as printed versions of Imarim designs. With these Imarim enters a new phase which is beyond home decor and it caters to the audience who appreciate the work but are on a budget. This may prove to be the gateway to a lot of different dimensions — and I’m truly excited for the same!
Visit the Imarim Shop on Engrave.