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CONFLUENTIA OF TALENT

Looking Beyond A Lens: The Life and Journey of Isa Khan

Actor, photographer and content creator, Isa Khan lays bare his approach to life and working for the things one wants.

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Isa Khan

There is a world of experience behind his voice and, yet, Isa Khan treads everything, that he approaches, in a cautious manner, one that is more aligned with an individual attempting something for the first time. Perhaps, it is an approach that is based on his own personal perspective, a desire to constantly learn on his own and do it in a manner that meets his own standards. It is, indeed, an extensive repertoire of skills that he has built, from photography to acting to content creation. This is a man who has carefully nurtured his own interests and passions, letting them feed into one another and made something truly beautiful out of that synergy. And, it is a sight well worth taking a closer look at.

Born in Shahabad, Uttar Pradesh, Khan spent his earliest days in a relative idyllic setting before moving to study in Syedna Tahir Saifuddin School, an educational institute under Aligarh Muslim University. A while later, following his parents’ move, he finished his education from Delhi, having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. 

Credits: Instagram (Isa Khan)

For Khan, it was an immediate drive and urgency to start working that drove him to pursue a career in the Corporate field. Alongside that, he began to teach economics at a coaching institute. A few years later, sensing his own interests lay somewhere else, he quit his corporate position to start his own coaching institute with a few partners. According to Khan, those four years that he ran and taught in the coaching institute were a period of time that he truly enjoyed. Eventually, however, he hit upon a time in his life that prompted him to travel and get out there to experience a new take on life itself. It was during his travels that he organically thought about photographing his travels. It was not any prior intention to engage in content creation that made him think about photographing his experiences and the places he visited. Rather, it was just his own desire to capture the things he found worthwhile in his own journey. Through his constant perseverance and his own desire to perfect his own skills, his work gained the recognition that it has today.

There is a certain sense of independence and self-reliance that Khan’s words exudes. Through his journey, having encountered numerous doubts and challenges, he has made it a point to just learn and get better. In point of fact, when he first began teaching, Khan was just 21 years old, a factor that made the parents of his students wary about entrusting the education of their children to an individual who had just graduated from college. However, the results he produced and the effort that he put cemented his position as a bonafide educator. 

Panwali Kantha - The Lesser Known Secret of Uttarakhand - Tripoto
Credits: Instagram (Isa Khan)

There is a natural progression in the way he pursued everything he did. Recognizing the responsibility that a teacher holds, Khan recalls how he would work around his schedule, as a teacher, to pursue his passion for travelling. Without being formally trained as an educator, Khan relied on a very intrinsic method of teaching, one that depended on being able to teach, to his students, the subject and also inculcate a greater understanding of things around them.

It is this respect and recognition of a higher ideal that he also brings in his travels. In all his travel, showcasing the beauty of the places he visits is not enough. There is a certain respect that Khan stresses on when travelling to another place. There are cultural differences and beliefs that must be respected when you are engaging with the people of the place you are travelling to. He recognizes the influence his own actions have and the message it can carry and, thus, he makes it a point that his audience realizes it as well. For Khan, it is constant effort to balance bringing value and, also, imparting a greater appreciation for cultural contrast, through his content, that he strives for.

ISA KHAN - TRAVELLER, LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER, TRAVEL BLOGGER, THEATRE ARTIST AND AN ECONOMICS TEACHER - GOGO Magazine
Credits: Instagram (Isa Khan)

“The idea is to create value. If someone comments that your video made me smile, I have done my job really well.”

Isa Khan

Indeed, there is, to the man, a way of thinking that evokes a sense of individual effort and perfection. When beginning to photograph his travels, Khan started out with an average phone. Those initial pictures he took were not, according to him, satisfactory. Intending to work on his photography skills, he researched extensively on the technical aspects of how a DSLR camera works before deciding to purchase one. 

It is important to stress how much he really pursues something according to his own standards. For others, things may look rosy on the outside. However, there is a lot of work that is put in behind the scenes. From staying up 8 hours to make a 30 second video to editing footage for his travel blogs, it is a constant process of working and evolving through that work. 

“For a very long period, I waited for someone to come and solve all my problems. Nobody came.”

Isa Khan

Indeed, through his own journey, Khan has hit upon a singular philosophy, one that, perhaps, drives his own life. Recognizing one’s own strengths and shortcomings is something that he puts an emphasis on. Khan believes in developing a skill through persistent work and effort. It is not a latent sense of being good at something that one should rely on. Consequently, for those starting out in the fields that are passionate about, Khan has a single piece of advice. Do the things you want to do, you only have one life. There is no one else who can get you the things you want except for your own self.

From acting in a web series to starting his own educational institute to becoming an established content creator, Isa Khan has definitely managed to do the things he wanted, based on his own strength and ability. And, that is something, try as you might, you cannot take away from anyone.

Credits: Instagram (Isa Khan)
Credits: YouTube Isa Khan

POETRY

Some ‘Sher o Shayari’ for the Tender and Emotional

For the readers of Shayaris, we bring to you some young poets on Instagram worth checking out to set afire your love for Urdu poetry.

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Hindi Poetry

Urdu has charmed people with its beauty for ages. Even the non-speakers of the language have been familiar with the enchanting magic of its words and expressions– from Ghalib to Gulzar, everyone has read and sung their beautiful nazms and lyrics.

Reading poetry is both a shared and unique experience. They are words that enunciate feelings and are rooted in life and everything else that makes it. When you read a poem, you find your own truth in it, but also a calm comfort that tells you that you are not alone, that other people too are finding their own realities in it just as you are. And Shayaris remains an immensely popular form, for both the readers and writers of Urdu poetry, for this very reason. Its inspiration is drawn from life, love and hurt, beauty and romance, success and failures. Experiences that are universal to all, and yet unique to whoever experiences them.

So, we bring for the lovers of Shayaris, and for those who want to begin immersing themselves in it, some emerging writers to check out and follow. 

Sameer Oberoi translates the complexities that burden everyday life. He writes of ‘Shor shraabe ki zindagi’, full of convoluted connections, emotions, and communications. He drops truth dipped in the lyricism that is inherent to Urdu words, words like ‘jazbaat’. Where he distills the value of words, of the heavy meaning that hides behind everything that is said or unsaid. His unsaid direction in it being– to carefully say the things you do, to carefully listen to the things you hear. 

Credits: Instagram (Sameer Oberoi)
Credits: Instagram (Sameer Oberoi)

Tushar Mehrotra @doalfaaz pens down the often spoken, often felt, side of loving and losing someone. Of living with the space that is hollowed out by the lost, and with the realisation that it is never returning back. Of heartbreaks that leave a longing behind, to be loved in the way that you love another. Reminds one of Gulzar when he said, “kabhi to chaunk ke dekhe koi hamara taraf, kisi ki aankh men ham ko bhi intizar dikhe” (I wish to see someone look at me in surprise, with a longing in their eyes.)

Credits: Instagram (Tushar Mehrotra)
Credits: Instagram (Tushar Mehrotra)

Raghav Bhutani too writes of love, separation, and betrayal. His words flow to a beloved, and from lessons that life and love have brought upon. And he too writes in clarity the truths that sum up living. In just a few words he writes how some emotions get trapped in translations. How sometimes they don’t find the right expression and sometimes the right understanding. His words and emotions, however, do both for his audience. 

Credits: Instagram (Raghav Bhutani)
Credits: Instagram (Raghav Bhutani)

Another page, @rahat.ki.yadein, dedicated to the famous lyricist Rahat Indori, captures the essence of life’s stories, in a way, explaining that they are all ultimately the influences of what the heart feels, wants, and sees. Because life is full of feelings, and these feelings don’t require a declaration in big words but are found in the little things hidden in simple actions and simple words. 

Credits: Instagram (Rahat Ki Yadein)
Credits: Instagram (Rahat Ki Yadein)

The words of these poets lend voice to what a lot of people may feel but can never find the right expressions for it. Maybe that is why they have a lot of following because, at the end of the day, everybody is trying to find themselves, their experiences, and feelings in art. And that ultimately, is the purpose of any such work– amateur or not, high-brow or not– which is to make people feel things. And the popularity of these writers is proof enough that their work is serving that purpose to their audiences.

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ART & CRAFT

The Master-Mind Behind Quirk Box Design Studio: Jayesh Sachdev

Artist, designer and entrepreneur, Jayesh Sachdev talks to us about Quirk Box Design Studio, his experiences and much more!

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jayesh sachdev

Popularly recognized as the Founder/Creative Director of Quirk Box, Jayesh Sachdev is a National Award-winning artist. His work has been showcased around the world – galleries from New York to Singapore. In fact, he holds the national record for painting India’s largest concept artwork. Truly, an artist by nature, Jayesh has dedicated more than 15 years in his pursuit of art.

Art is easy to fall in love with. Once you do, it’s hard not to stay.

Jayesh sachdev

Quirk Box birthed out of the idea of democratizing art. Now an independent art-based design studio, Quirk Box offers well-crafted solutions for the design needs of their clients. This includes branding, graphics, fashion and much more! In fact, Jayesh’s fashion brand Quirk Box has been awarded the prestigious Vogue India Fashion Runner-up Fund and Grazia India Young Fashion Award.

A Little More On Jayesh Sachdev

Punekar by birth, Jayesh Sachdev has a Degree in Visual Communication at Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore. Admittedly, he reveals that quitting his advertising job in Singapore was probably the most courageous thing he’s done. Not only was the pay good, but he also left it all to pursue professional art in India.

Jayesh Sachdev reveals that his journey hasn’t been easy by any means. It has been filled with a fair share of struggles, failures and learnings. The process is constant. Perseverance is key, he says. And art, in many ways is therapeutic to him. Yet his belief in his work, with the immense support of his wife, Priyanka Sachdev – Chief Illustrator at Quirk Box – has helped him reach where he is today.

As a final message to young dreams like him, he reminds us that the journey is long, hard and slow. It is important to acknowledge that everything comes with its fair challenges; giving up ought not to be an option.

Credits: Instagram (quirkboxdesign)
Credits: Instagram (quirkboxdesign)
Credits: Instagram (quirkboxdesign)
Credits: Instagram (quirkboxdesign)
Credits: Instagram (quirkboxdesign)
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STANDUP

She Tells Tales, But Only Beautifully: Rachana Patil

Rachana Patil, an incredibly gifted storyteller and the winner of Steller, 2021, talks about her love for stories and the art of drama.

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Rachana Patil

There is a sense of ease as we begin the conversation. It is not, by any means, because of the questions I pose to her. It is only because Rachana Patil has mastered the art of speaking. There is, in her words, a cadence that exudes charm and a certain sense of happiness, making it impossible for you to not get engrossed in what she is saying. And while that may, sometimes, be difficult to prove in a tangible manner, the only thing I need to substantiate my claim is to point you to her winning Steller, 2021, the nationwide storytelling competition held by Tape A Tale. Storytelling is something that she is wonderful at. And, what better story is there to listen to than her own?

Born and raised in Mumbai, Patil prescribes a lot of significance to her childhood. There is almost a sense of reverence to the way she describes her earliest memories, cherishing them, for all they are worth, for what they have given her. In our conversation, she recalls how the act of speaking and performing held a special place in her formative years, with her being engaged in multiple co-curricular activities. In point of fact, she asserts that she truly enjoyed sharing stories ever since she was a child. It was only later, when she was growing up, that she realized that the act of sharing stories is something that is not only enjoyable but also something that holds immense value and is a craft, in itself.

That same realization bore fruit earlier this year, when Patil went on to win the Steller of the Year award, in the national level competition held by Tape A Tale. What a lot of people don’t actually know is the fact that she was actually part of the same competition the year before, in 2020. As a matter of fact, she made it past all the initial stages then, beating out the other competitors in Mumbai before going on to compete with the finalists from the other States. She made it till the final leg of the competition, only missing out in the last stage. 

Narrowly missing out on something stings. However, it stings a lot more when others try to make you feel better about your loss. Sometimes, that loss is worth a little too much to just let go of. Admitting the same, Patil pushed herself to improve, working diligently and striving to perfect her craft. When the competition came around this year, she didn’t waste time hesitating or wallowing in self-doubt. Signing up for it, she geared herself up for the coming selection phases. 

“This year, when the competition came around again, I went for it. I didn’t think twice.”

Rachana Patil

In the conversation, she reveals details about how the initial stages of the competition work. And before we go into that, it is crucial to stress how demanding the competition actually is. Leaving aside the sheer skill that goes into the art of telling a story, there is also the necessity for a dash of mental fortitude. Patil touches on the first stage of the selection process where she and a classmate made it through, after going up against contestants from her college. The second round was a six hour long session where participants, from all over the country, came together to perform their own bits. Interestingly, Patil states that part of the competition was, in fact, her favourite phase, with her being able to witness the stories that others had to tell. 

As she went on to Delhi for the third and final round of the competition, Patil found herself satiating a lifelong curiosity, one which entailed her, as a Mumbaiker, experiencing all that Delhi had to offer for the first time. And, that whole leg of her journey was everything she had hoped it would be. From the night of the event to the other participants sharing their own experiences with each other, everything went the way she had envisioned it. When she goes on to talk about being declared the winner at the end of it all, Patil explores what that experience was truly like. Indeed, as she held the trophy in her hands, she realized that this singular moment was everything falling in place as it should. There were no second guesses about what could have been or how it would have felt to win the previous year. 

“I would not choose to give myself the trophy in 2020. The journey, from 2020 to 2021, has taught me a lot.”

Rachana Patil

When we really explore storytelling, there is so much more to it than just choosing an engaging subject matter. Patil asserts that, when creating the tales she tells, she tries her best to add humour to it. Whether the tales, themselves, are fictional or based on her real life experiences, her stories come from the idea of attributing meaning to the little slices of life. Structure and plot cohesion comes only after the story itself takes a life of its own. Once that happens, everything falls in place naturally. 

As she talks about how she broaches the creation of a story, Patil talks about how storytelling and drama flow into one another. In fact, she doesn’t differentiate between the two. There is this idea of often keeping one separate from the other and, indeed, she has been asked by some why she adds theatrics to her own style of storytelling. She, however, refuses to restrict herself to one. You see, the art of telling a story is not an isolated art. It is, as Patil implies, an art that is infused into every creative effort that we engage in.

I am glad she brought up dramatics in the conversation because it is something that Patil harbours an immense amount of passion for. She touches on how it has always been a dream for her to study acting and drama at the National School of Drama, Delhi. Ever since she was a child, the institute has held a certain allure for her, with it representing, in a manner of speaking, a place where her dreams become reality. 

“Something about NSD has always pulled me. I want to learn, I want to go there. The day I do that, I’ll feel like I have done something good.”

Rachana Patil

And, the manner in which she wants to go about doing this is, like everything she does, untethered and seamless. There is a world of opportunity out there and Patil plans on experiencing everything that it has to offer. The idea of working on creative pieces from her own home fascinates her as much as the idea of going to study dramatics in a more structured manner. Through her words, you sense an individual that wishes, with everything she has, to embrace each and every experience for what it’s worth.

The person she has grown into today didn’t just happen instantaneously. Patil, in fact, attributes it all to her working past her own self-imposed limits. Recalling how she made it a point to go perform at every gig that she was aware of, she adds that the experience of just going for what she wanted and being rewarded for it, be it in the form of a clap or the tiniest smile, has helped her come out of her own shell. 

It takes a lot of self-belief to stand where she stands. The journey hasn’t been easy, of course, even if Patil’s enthusiasm and zeal makes it seem so. And, it is this very thought that she would want you to take from her story. There is this idea of leaving too much at the hands of others, one she says is crucial to shed. Only then, will you truly be able to chase something that you want. And if you take a closer look, Rachana Patil is inches away from getting all that she really wants.

Credit: YouTube (Tape A Tale)
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MUSIC

Shifting Careers to Follow Your Dreams: The Euphonious Journey of Arunansh Bhatt

Arunansh Bhatt gives us a glimpse into his creative process of making music, his experiences in Bollywood and his journey so far!

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Arunansh bhatt

Shifting career paths once you start working in the corporate world isn’t easy. Yet, Arunansh Bhatt made this difficult decision because he knew he had more to give to the world. Music oozed from within him. Hence, he went on his pursuit of happiness by following his dreams. Though he faced a few obstructions through this journey, things played out well. And today, he stands amidst his accomplishments as he shares his story with us!

When It All Started

Born and raised in Lucknow, Arunansh Bhatt comes from a family of musicians and artists. Whilst his father is a Tabla player, his mother is an incredible Kathak dancer. So, evidently, he was surrounded by classical music from a very young age.

However, the art of the creation of music posed as much more intriguing to him than performing. He shares how random tunes would flow through his head. However, he admits that he didn’t have the technical skills to give them physical structure. Therefore, he wouldn’t pay any heed to them.

Arunansh Bhatt mastered the tabla from his dad. And later, in school, drums enraptured his mind. Eventually, this skill came to be of great value when he formed a band in college. In fact, soon after this, he also learned the guitar. All this knowledge of instruments helped him give the random tunes in his mind a proper form. And now these tunes were brought to with chords and strings.

When Engineering Just Didn’t Feel Right

Arunansh Bhatt graduated from Vellore Institute of Technology with an Engineering Degree. Post which he worked in an IT company for about a year. However, quite soon, it dawned upon him that he wanted more. The corporate 9-5 job routine was simply not meant for him. He admits that music was the only thing that kept him out of a depression that year.

He started doing background scores for independent films to sustain his sanity. Within a few months – April 2017 – he released his first independent single ‘Mitwa’. Finally, after a year of trying to stay sane, he took a leap of faith and quit his job in June 2017.

Credits – YouTube (Arunansh Bhatt)

Retrospectively, Arunansh Bhatt confesses that this is the most courageous thing he has done. Whilst the corporate job did have its own set of pros, they were all short-term. Materialism wasn’t something that ever excited him, he says. And that is all that the job was providing him – Money, with no meaning.

Further, he expresses immense gratitude to his parents, who were highly supportive of his decision. Soon after quitting his job, he joined A. R. Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory in Chennai for a music composition course. This stemmed out from his admiration for the well-renowned musician – his talent and hard work.  

When He Began Pursuing His Dreams

As luck would have it, on the last day of his course, Arunansh Bhatt received a call from one of his friends from the LV Prasad Film Academy in Chennai. He wanted music for the end credits of his film. One thing led to another, and Arunansh ended up being a part of 5 diploma films.

Soon after, he shifted to Mumbai with big dreamy eyes and a determined mind. However, within a short time, he realized he was on his own. He knew he wanted to assist someone. Since that would be the best way to learn and experience the real world of the music industry. Admittedly he contacted several music composers, scored a few meetings. But all was in vain.

“We might not see the reason at first but, if there’s a failure, that’s because there’s an even better success route waiting for you.”

Arunansh Bhatt

That was until he met Alokananda Dasgupta and worked as an assistant music composer with her. Arunansh’s first project with her was the popular Netflix show – Sacred Games. This was back in 2018, he says, when no one knew about this show. In fact, none of them expected it to become as popular as it did! He reminisces the surreal feeling of seeing multiple hoardings of Sacred Games on his way back home.

When Things Started Playing Out Quite Well

In hindsight, everything does happen for a reason. All the rejections he endured when he first arrived in Mumbai are all worth it. Because besides assisting Alokananda, he also resumed making music for various short films, most of which received immense praise in global film festivals.

He also gained the opportunity to work in yet another Netflix show titled Leila. This was also the first time he visited Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai. His journey continued; in 2019, he signed his first feature film as the music director! It was a Marathi film – Vrutti. In 2020, he worked alongside Alokananda in another popular film, Ak vs Ak starring Anil Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap among others.

In the independent space, Arunansh Bhatt released his second single – Kahaan Hoon Mai, in December 2019. His song was inspired by a video of Varun Grover reciting the poem, ‘Hum Kaagaz Nahi Dikhayenge’. Post release, he received vast applause from people in the industry and commoners alike. In fact, he also got a response from Varun Grover himself, saying that it was beautifully written and composed. In fact, just last year, it got licensed for a major OTT show, so keep your eyes and ears wide open!

Credits – YouTube (Arunansh Bhatt)
A Small Message

He accepts that it is tough to pursue music irrespective of whether you want to be in Bollywood or not. Technical skills and financial planning are almost as important as mastering music itself. Undeniably, one has to learn about the business of music to monetize their talent.

Yet, if it brings you satisfaction and joy, you should take the fall. I stopped ‘working’ in the true sense the day I quit my corporate job, he says. Music comes to him naturally, like it’s inbuilt within his blood. So he left everything else, pursued something he knew would be tough. Yet his determination and hard work brought him to where he stands today.

His message for aspirants pursuing such unconventional career paths is quite simple. ‘Be true to yourself, he says. It is essential to learn the craft you want to pursue else your passion might eventually die out. You see, passion and skill are co-dependent. And most importantly, it won’t be easy. You will have your low days, but it will still be better than your best days in the wrong career.

And as you reflect on this wealthy wisdom Arunansh Bhatt shares, you can listen to his latest original ‘Tanha’ dedicated to his late grandmother.

Credits – YouTube (Arunansh Bhatt)
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ART & CRAFT

In Pursuit of Passion: Naysha Satyarthi’s Journey of Making Art

In an exchange with The Talented Indian, Naysha Satyarthi shares her story of finding her purpose in her passion for art.

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Naysha

With more than 100k following and a feed full of colours, @artsysushiroll on Instagram a.k.a Naysha Satyarthi is a young creator based in Mumbai. Like any teenager, she is figuring out the path of her career as she goes, and from the looks of her talents, definitely doing well at it. Naysha, whose introduction to painting colours happened as a two-year-old, has now a well-established social media presence as an artist. She attributes the support of her parents and her own leap of faith in choosing art-over-conventions as the grounds of her growth. 

In an exchange with The Talented Indian, she shares the story of how her art account came into being. She traces it back to attending an art course in 2019, where after seeing everyone there with an online presence to share their art, she too decided to give it a try. She saw it as a fun place to store her creations and keep a track of them. But soon it grew a massive following, requiring her to keep up with regular postings and audience interactions. In coming to terms with the usual downside of social media hate, she said, “It was a struggle and took some time to get used to it but now I have learnt how to focus on what is best for me and my happiness is my number one priority.” 

Credits: Instagram (artsysushiroll)

Speaking of her art and the process of creation, she realistically reveals that painting has a balanced purpose for her. It is relaxing and quite a spiritual process for her. But sometimes she makes art simply because she has to. Putting in perspective the annoyance of a creative block, she says “beating myself about finding motivation only makes it worse” and prefers to take some time off to refresh before getting back to it.

She finds the work of Claude Monet inspirational in making her want to experiment with the colour combinations of her paintings. An artist in the making, she is still figuring certain aspects of her work. But she is certain of what she wants her art to serve her audience. “I want my art to make people feel like they want to be a part of it.”, she says. And trust us, the colours of her landscapes are alluring enough to make you want to picture yourself in them. 

As an artist, she has a nuanced understanding of hard work. She sees interest as natural, while talent is that interest polished by efforts. Her own journey of establishing herself as an artist this young at age has been an outcome of efforts and the courage of doing the unconventional. In order to focus on her art, she decided to take a year off of school, a decision that she herself was initially skeptical of but eventually took that leap of faith for the better.

Credits: Instagram (artsysushiroll)

In a society obsessed with academics, she tells us, people did find her choice unusual. But she got through it with her parents backing her throughout. This is why she understands the hurdles that society’s rules pose in the pursuit of passion. She advises anyone who is struggling, to never give up what they love doing. “Keep taking a little time out to continue doing it, don’t lose the habit”, she says.

Naysha, however, is just another teenager, who loves binging TV shows and hanging out with her friends. But her call to step outside the box to give herself the room to explore her passion offers a sweet inspiration.

Check out her amazing art @artsysushiroll and shower her with some love!

Credits: Instagram (artsysushiroll)
Credits: Instagram (artsysushiroll)
Credits: Instagram (artsysushiroll)
Credits: Instagram (artsysushiroll)
Credits: Instagram (artsysushiroll)
Credits: Instagram (artsysushiroll)
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