My name is Diana Tekleab. I am a Designer and a 4th Year Architecture student. Also, the founder and designer at inkDin Handmade. I specialize in pattern design and art pieces. The pattern design includes Mandalas and Zen tangles. Mandalas as I define them are shapes filled with patterns. They associate with meditation, balance, and harmony; of patterns, lines and shapes.
I started making them as a self-taught artist about 5 years ago. It started with geometric shapes but progressed into organic shapes. The main tool I use for making a mandala is ink and paper. The pieces are done on paper, which can later be used and shared by making stickers that people can have and collect. Recently, I branched into making mandalas on wood to make it more accessible to people. I also like to use black and white as my preferred color palette.
I get inspired by my surroundings. This guides me to produce contextual and relatable pieces. Also creating time centered projects such as holiday, cultural and custom artwork. I also use patterns, as they are a big part of our diverse cultures and how it is represented. This allows me to modernize the existing identities and elevate them into modern art.
Start small, then build from it. That’s how I work. Starting from a small point/area. As I build from it I start to have more control over the final outcome. Although, I can’t say that I have a clear vision of what to expect of the ending as I start my process. My process is quite simple and personal. I start coming up with the designs or patterns as I am doing the project which leads to a more organic and fresh design. My weapons of creation are as simple as they come. A pencil, a pen, a ruler, a compass and a protractor; these are the basic tools I use for every design.
Although it differs from crowd to crowd, the biggest challenge has to be how people perceive my art. A lot of people do not believe that it is handmade. Then there is the trouble of explaining and proving that it is completely yours, handmade and original.
The acceptance of new art forms is a growing improvement form how it was a while back. The need for more unique and new art is growing by the day, this benefits artists and designers like me to be better and present our works. Being a creator in Ethiopia means having to work twice as hard to make a memorable impression. The hustle is not an easy route, from people that belittle your works to clients not willing to invest in your creativity. The hardest part of being a creative in Ethiopia is not being discouraged as you try to and the acceptance and approval from the public.
Black & White
Black and white as a medium creates a deeper meaning to art. It simplifies things. Using too many colors can often times distract and diminish your mes- sage. Since I make intricate and detailed artworks; the addition of more colors will make the designs busy and crowded. Black and white have a defined character and adds a sense of mystery to your art. There are also illusions that are created. The shadows can give it a deeper perspective and overall feel.
Truth & Art
Art is not absolute; as people have their own identities. Art is the sum of an individual’s creativity. As we are different people, the creation of every person is unique. My art is personal and distinctive. To the person I am, the surrounding and to personal challenges and opportunities.