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South Asian Creatives you need to follow NOW: Manasi Arya

This HCUO series was created to promote diversity and to highlight individuals in the South Asian community whose journeys may seem unconventional compared to those usually recognized. It is hoped that fellow South Asians will be inspired to follow their creative ambitions and that readers will grow an overall appreciation for South Asian talent.

Today’s feature spotlights Manasi Arya. Manasi is an artist and business owner who sells products inspired by South Asian culture, POC, womxn, fashion and beauty.

HCUO: What made you want to become an artist and launch your platform?

“My mother is an artist and she put [me] in many art classes growing up. I had the opportunity to take all the traditional forms of art like pottery, charcoal, etc. [I]t was an amazing experience, but I never pursued art in college. I would...[create]...random pieces throughout college, so after I graduated, I finally decided to create a platform where I could post all the random art pieces I had created over time and hold myself accountable to create more art as well! I had my account for about a year before I committed to myself and posted/created more. I wanted to create a logo, [so] I started digital art and [since then] everything [has] changed for me!”

HCUO: Tell us more about the type of artwork you do and why.

“Digital art is by far the easiest and fastest type of art — since it is so easy to go back and fix your mistakes, but also because you don’t have to wait for the paint to dry. It’s also so much easier for me to execute my ideas when doing digital art because I can change little details if I want to. I do try to paint still because painting helps my mental health a lot. That will forever be my first love! I love painting on denim jackets because they are a staple piece in my wardrobe and it’s so fun to add art to my jackets! The type of art I create always surrounds the topics of South Asian culture, womxn, POC, fashion, and beauty. I love being able to share my voice while also amplifying others' voices!”

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HCUO: What made you decide to open your own business?

“To be honest, I didn’t know people were interested in purchasing my art! During the start of quarantine, I finally had the chance to create the art pieces I didn’t [previously] have time for. I also started to experiment with line drawings. That’s when people started to be interested in my art. So I created a logo, made an Etsy page, and finally opened up my shop! My shop started off with only paintings, custom digital art, and custom line drawings. Now I sell stickers, digital art, and denim jackets! It’s crazy that within a year I was able to switch my business plans and sell different items.”

HCUO: How has it felt to put yourself out there publicly online?

“It’s been a whole different experience that I never expected. When I first created my art, I had no intention of posting pictures of myself. My friend encouraged me to do so, and I wasn’t even comfortable with it until August of 2020. I started to post photos I had taken of myself with my best friend who is a photographer. I combined my love for photography and digital art and created doodles on my images. I [then] started to incorporate images of myself on my page because the photography we take is art too. It’s been scary to showcase my insecurities online, but it’s an amazing experience knowing that there are others out there just like me!”

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HCUO: Does being a Desi artist affect how you’re seen in the South Asian community?

“I definitely think I get more attention because I am Desi in the South Asian community. We are all seeking… representation and I think every person in the South Asian community has something unique to offer to the world. All my art showcases South Asian or women's stories and I am proud of that!”

HCUO: What advice do you have for those who want to launch their own platform?

“TO START! The hardest part is to start… If you have created a page, post! If you have an idea, DO IT! It is never too late to start something.”

“Also, never give up. Social media is HARD regardless of what you’re interested in posting… it’s so easy to be discouraged. People are mean [and] the algorithm can suck, but you cannot give up! As long as you love it, that’s all that matters!”

*Responses have been formatted for the purpose of this article.

Follow Manasi on Instagram and TikTok @artwithmanasi.

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Bashira Tahiya

U Ottawa '25

Bashira is a first year student studying marketing. She loves talking about beauty, social issues and wellness. It's only her first year on Her Campus, but she already loves it!
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