Shutterstock is made possible by our network of over 55,000 contributing artists around the globe. In an effort to celebrate the personal stories behind the images in our collection, we're proud to bring you this monthly contributor spotlight series.
Monalisa Dakshi (aka Vectomart) is a prolific contributor to Shutterstock, with more than 6,500 images — vectors, illustrations, and videos representing a variety of subjects — in her portfolio, and 40 to 50 hours spent each week on the creation of new images.
We caught up with the artist, who resides outside of Mumbai, India, to hear how her contributions have supported her family and spurred her daughter's own dreams of becoming an artist.
Shutterstock: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became a contributor?
Monalisa Dakshi: I did my schooling in a small town in Northern India. I've been interested in sketching and arts since my childhood. I also did a fine-arts course during my secondary-school days. After completion of my studies, I took up a small assignment in a graphic-design firm where I could put my interests to use. Due to family commitments, I preferred to work from home and design creations all by myself. It was then that I started developing concepts for ad firms and then took on contributing to Shutterstock. I read a lot of reviews for details before putting in a full effort as a contributor.
How does being a contributor benefit you?
Being a contributor has meant everything to who I am today. I'm extremely grateful to Shutterstock for having supported me in all forms of life. Professionally, It gives me the immense satisfaction of having done my work and contributing to Shutterstock, then being appreciated by its customers.
On a personal front, it's just because of this arrangement and consistent support that I'm able to meet my finances, support my family, and be close to my daughter for all these years.
Can you tell us more about your family?
We are a joint family with my father-in-law, who's 81 and retired from the Air Force. My husband works as a consultant for an automobile firm. My daughter is 11 and is attending secondary school. I reside in Western India, 70 miles away from Mumbai. I originally came from Northeast India. I'm Hindu by religion and speak Hindi and English.
We hear that your work has also inspired your daughter to pursue art?
My daughter has grown up seeing me developing my designs and creations, and now I see that she takes immense interest in colors, patterns, combinations, and presentations — besides playing online Barbie dress-up videos. In school essays, she often writes that she wants to be like mommy when she grows up. This is what Shutterstock means as a support to us both.
It seems as if you hit on a great market for your work. What's your strategy for making new illustrations?
I focus on themes that involve creativity, whether it's environment or social bonding or an educational theme. I take on concepts that I find are occurrences in various cultures.
Your work covers a broad range of genres. What are you most excited about?
I develop concepts based on current trends. I feel glad when I find my works are reflected in any media. This feeling drives me to go for more and better designs. I'm most satisfied with the works that involve multiple concepts.
Do you have other jobs or hobbies outside of your illustrations?
Taking care of my school-going daughter's curriculum, watching movies, scoring more on Candy Crush, and maintaining fitness keeps me busy.
How do you capture your culture through your work?
I focus on portraying the diverse ways of our living — based on ideas derived from my extensive travel during my younger days — to understand the social fabric, showcase it, and correlate it with various cultures and beliefs.
What kinds of art are you seeing in India currently? How are artists viewed in your culture?
In India, up and coming artists have a good grasp on traditional trends. They have a good sense of presentation in their artwork. Artists in India are recognized in many ad firms, media, institutes, and publications.
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