Phaoniu Shio: Memorialising The ‘big Day’ Through Live Painting - Eastern Mirror
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Phaoniu Shio: Memorialising the ‘big day’ through live painting

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By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Apr 23, 2024 11:36 pm
Phaoniu Shio
Artist Phaoniu Shio with some of her artwork.

DIMAPUR — In Nagaland, weddings transcend the traditional union of two souls; it has evolved into vibrant spectacles of creativity and one-upmanship. Each new wedding strives to outdo the last, introducing novel elements and pushing the boundaries of celebration.

Apart from the usual hiring of musicians, event decorators, photographers and videographers, a recent trend has taken root in these extravagant affairs: live wedding painting.

Fueled by social media, this artistic addition captures the essence of the event in real-time on a canvas, adding a unique and personalised touch to the festivities.

This plein air (French phrase meaning in the open air) style of art, where artists capture the scene in the open air, has gained popularity for immortalising the special moments of a wedding ceremony or reception.

Among the artists contributing to this trend is Phaoniu Shio, who has been creating unique, on-site artworks since 2022. Her live paintings serve as cherished mementos, encapsulating the essence of a couple’s ‘big day’ in a way that photos and videos simply cannot replicate.

Shio was conferred the Myki Fest Award 2020-21 by the Department of Women Resource Development on International Women’s Day in 2021 for her painting and sketching skills.

She also sold her first artwork at Myki Fest 2020.

From looking up to old masters like Harold C Harvey, Van Gogh and Monet, the contemporary artists Shio admires are Aeppol and Heikala, who, according to her, are “amazing illustrative artists”.

Shio told Eastern Mirror that live painting of wedding events take up a lot of space in her mind, knowing that she has to capture one of the most important moments of a couple’s life together through her work.

“Because I’m aware that it’s a day that happens once in a lifetime for the couple, I can’t just take it lightly depending on my skills alone; I want to be able to feel how precious the day is along with them. I tell myself on this day that it’s not about my paintings, it’s about the love that brought them here,” she said.

Phaoniu Shio
Phaoniu Shio creating a live painting at a wedding in Nagaland.

Life painting: How it all began

As someone who cherishes her childhood and is grateful for how she lived it, Shio’s earliest memories of art dated back to her high school days when she took the Art and Craft subject very seriously.

“I remember being very keen on drawing girls and princesses and all things related to fashion until I grew out of it in later years,” she recalled.

Although she started drawing at a very early age, it wasn’t until her third year of college that she began to take art very seriously, realising that she could make something out of it.

“So far, I have loved every bit of living life as an artist while still studying. The only obstacle I would say I face is just within me – whether to shy away from opportunities or welcome them,” she confided.

How she started live painting at weddings is very special to her, and in her own words, she cannot take credit for it.

“It all started in 2021 when I was approached by a friend of my sister who had always been so supportive of my art. She told me that she would love to have me as her live wedding painter. She mentioned this a year in advance, so I had enough time to think and decide about her offer,” she said.

“Initially I was terrified of the idea and shrugged it off without a thought. But she was so kind to encourage me to give myself a chance and as time approached for her wedding around November in 2022, I started braving myself a little to take that challenge and finally did it. I have all to thank God and that lovely sister for trusting me. And that’s how it all began,” she added.

On her journey as an artist, she recalled that it was during her time in boarding school that she developed a love for art and refined her skills through creative subjects.

Trajectory as an artist

For Shio, ending up in an unconventional profession was not by chance but a deliberate choice driven by her unwavering passion for art.

Stating that she is proud to call herself an artist, she said it just takes a flip through her old sketches to realise how much she has learned and improved as an artist.

“Back then my artistic world revolved around drawing just celebrities’ faces or just sketches without much meaning. Now, I love to paint everything that has life and convey the joy of it, it’s a beautiful growth I should say,” she said.

She went on to say that each wedding she paints is special to her as each experience is totally different and equally wonderful. “I don’t have a favourite but the special would always be the first wedding I live painted,” she acknowledged.

For Shio, live painting of a wedding has always been nerve-racking and she makes sure to practice beforehand, ensuring all materials are ready. She also discusses with the couple, their preferences for the painting, including the chosen scene and desired style. “I trust God to do the rest even as I do my part,” she added.

Currently, she does just one style of wedding painting, but would love to explore more and paint different styles and give her clients more options.

An artist’s struggles

According to Shio, it takes a lot of courage and sacrifices to be an artist, especially if one were to become a full-time artist.

Most artists struggle to earn a living, while the cost of upgrading art materials and battling the lack of inspiration are some of the inner struggles, she shared.

“But on a brighter note, I think those who can, they are doing quite well. I feel inspired by such artists and it motivates me to break the stereotypical perception that society have of artists,” she asserted.

She also opined that the most challenging part of being an artist is to be consistent, at least in her case.

“When I’m faced with ‘art block’ (a painter’s version of writer’s block), it’s then that I find it most difficult to continue and create though I know I have to,” she shared.

However, the best part of being an artist is when people tell her that her art calms them and helps them see life differently, though she does not intend her works to evoke such emotions specifically, she said.

“I find my purpose in painting anything that speaks life too,” she added. 

A perfect day off for Shio is to be at home painting, walking to nearby forest or just anywhere around nature.

Other than live painting weddings, she has plans to paint and create more art works. “Since I’m occupied with art commission most days, this summer I’ll paint more of what I like and prepare more for bigger plans,” she shared.

6107
By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Apr 23, 2024 11:36:44 pm
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