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My name is Prea Bhandari and I'm from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. From a young age I knew I was going to pursue some type of creative career. Whether it be in art, music, or fashion,  I was determined to do something where I could express myself creatively.

 

I was obsessed with drawing from the time I was first able to hold a pencil, taking inspiration from my favorite cartoons as a child and drawing my own comics and characters well into my pre teens. The subject matter of my art changed when I fell in love with music, specifically rock music. I took up several instruments such as piano, guitar, bass, and ukulele, exploring the various genres of rock from death metal to alternative rock to classic rock and more. The fashion, makeup, and angst of rock and roll was irresistible to me in my teen years. It influenced me to express myself through any creative means necessary and discover who I was as a person and artist outside of the boundaries of what was considered socially acceptable. I dyed my hair, got piercings, and started dressing darker. My teenage years became a difficult time in my life because these avenues of self expression were not socially acceptable on my small, conservative island. I was ostracized and bullied for being different which caused the direction of my art to shift towards a more gothic and dark subject matter.

 

After graduating high school from Antilles School in 2015, I attended Tufts University and School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Massachusetts, studying in their joint dual-degree program with a focus in Business and Fine Art to obtain two BA degrees in 5 years. During this time, I tirelessly expanded on my portrait painting skills and began to incorporate abstract fluid art elements into my women centered portraits. However, as many creatives can attest, studying your true passion can unfortunately kill your love for it. In order to preserve my adoration for painting, I decided to make a career change and move abroad to Europe to pursue another interest of mine, fashion. 

 

I lived in Paris, Milan, and London, studying Fashion Design, Marketing, and Business. I earned my degree in Fashion Design and Marketing from Istituto Marangoni, London, graduating top of my class during the pandemic in 2020. My graduate collection featured sustainable avant-garde fashion inspired by the draping of upcycled, broken umbrellas found on the streets of London. The collection was created with a strict emphasis on circularity, certified organic/biodegradable textiles. and zero waste practices. 

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I returned to the U.S. Virgin Islands after graduating amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With the world at a stand still and unemployment in the fashion industry at an all time high, I began to paint again.  As soon as my brush hit the canvas, I realized there was no conceivable way I would want to do anything else in this lifetime. I launched my official art business in January of 2021, creating monthly color-themed collections filled with exciting new experimental techniques and subjects. ​After learning the devastating impact that the fashion industry has on the environment during my college studies, I felt a palpable responsibility to create a business founded on strict eco-conscious operations and principles. 

 

Some of my eco-friendly practices include using recycled cups and containers from local bars and personal produce to mix paint in, use as pallets, and various other applications. I also keep all plastic wrapping from new art materials and use them in a variety of ways in order to give them a second life. All of my packaging materials are 100% recycled from personal orders, including boxes, bubble wrap, and tissue paper. Since dried acrylic paint is basically plastic, I even collect every  paint chip/drip off from my fluid art pours to use in jewelry and recycled abstract paintings. 

 

In December of 2021, I had my debut solo exhibition titled "Euphoria" at 81C in historic downtown Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. My art varies from purely abstract fluid art paintings to realistic oil portraits of women. I am heavily inspired by vibrant colors and feminine energy, and I use these elements as tools to convey the emotions and concepts behind my pieces, taking viewers on a psychedelic journey through each painting. The inspiration and color choices behind my paintings vary due to my physical surroundings, emotional state, and even the music I am listening to. I am rather spontaneous with my paintings and will whip up a collection or piece on a whim, allowing the moment to organically guide me rather than agonizing over concepts or themes. I am fascinated with the subjectivity of color, as it can create associations with certain memories, places, and experiences that are unique to each person. I tend to focus my portraits on women because as a woman, I love celebrating the strength, sexuality and beauty of the feminine form. I often paint my subjects in a state of pleasure, contentment, and peace because with all the hardships we go through as women, I think it's important to celebrate positive moments and a state of consciousness.   ​

 

The message behind my art is one of positivity and sustainability. With all the negativity that floods our everyday life from social media, news, and the struggles of everyday life, I aspire to create art that provides a positive distraction and allows the viewers to get lost in the details of my paintings. I create art simply because it makes me happy, and I aspire to have this aura of joy and wander to transfer onto my audience and the homes or galleries my paintings reside in. 

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BEHIND THE ART

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Empower
Growth