During a summer break in Kathmandu this week, Shrestha admitted that she never intended to become an artist, but she grew up loving art. Her mother, an educator, used to convert English children’s books into Nepali, and also illustrate them. Shrestha used to watch her mother enjoy that process of creation, and actively started sketching herself.
When she went to college in Gettysburg University, she studied humanities, but also took art classes and by the time she graduated she had taken enough art classes to be a double major. She then joined the non-profit Artists for Humanity, and did photography. Her principal subject was the work of her colleague and graffiti artist Rob Gibbs.
Shrestha saw Gibbs’ work, and started experimenting with Devnagari calligraphy. “I liked that you don’t have to pay to see graffiti. It’s a public form of art which is available to anyone who wants to see it, unlike exclusive galleries. I realised that calligraphy in Nepali could be beautiful, and I started painting a Devanagari style which is completely my own.”