We sat down with model and artist India at The Light Body Movement
It was a tense New York City evening in June. Voices of scattered priorities, fumbled conversations of after work politics, basketball predictions, and more filled the hectic city streets. However, despite the hustle and bustle, there was one place of tranquility that could ease the mind. Located near Times Square at 13 W 38th St.,The Light Body’s Health Movement – a pop up event fusing two art expressions: painting and yoga, celebrated an enterprising model’s life and vision.
Passed the glass doors of Bene Rialto and up two flights of stairs came music from DJ Quiana Parks; DJ, cancer survivor, and creator of DJ For A Cure, an organization bringing together the art of DJ’ing in order to raise proceeds for finding a cure for cancer patients- a portion of the nights proceeds would be donated. Two more flights of stairs, and the artist herself awaited her honorary guests.
India is an interesting person. She is a model, an artist, and the epitome of the New York City dream – a child with big ideas journeying to unfamiliar territory; reinventing herself in the process while never losing her childlike curiosity. India – the culmination of Grace Jones and Betsey Johnson – knows exactly what she wants. Minutes before show time, she conducts a symphony of art curators, headed by Mini People, New York City socialite and former manager of MMG’s, Stalley. Her stylist, Farruchii, hangs behind in Prada ensuring her outfit remains intact.
India, painting under the moniker, Eyeoccupy, created a series reflecting her personality: bright, bold, and straight forward. Using different mediums, such as: oil, crayons, magazine pictures, and graphic design, made the climate of the room feel fresh, innovative, and clean, just like the sponsors of the event: Boxed Water and Reebok.
At 8:30, the crowd was instructed onto the second floor where music by Quiana Parks was now replaced by Celeste and Newesha, two Yoga instructors part of the collective PopUpYogaNYC. After an introduction, the room was instructed to sit on the ground where, surprisingly, the room deflated down to the ground like a tumbling avalanche of energy. The room was instructed to close their eyes and so they did; when it was over, the room was hazy, and light; beautiful and serene; dizzy but conscious; just like the overall night.
All in all Light Bodies was organized, well received, and inviting. It was a transcending experience in a health driven environment, using the arts and yoga to tell one woman’s story.
1) The Source: Where are you from? At what age did you come to NYC?India: I was born upstate. Lived in my grandparent’s farm for a bit then moved to the DMV. I’ve been in NYC for a while now, since I was 19.2) The Source: How did you get into the modeling industry?India: The modeling industry… came to me. When my mom would push me to model… I rejected it… many people… would tell me the same thing, so I left basketball and started to walk runway and take pictures. Then I started getting paid for it.3) The Source: How does modeling and the art world correlate, and how do they differ?Fashion and art go hand in hand. Fashion is art. Art is fashion. They live together. They are best friends. But fashion is that friend that sometimes gets on your nerves and talks too much.4) The Source: How did you come to choose Bene Rialto as the location for your event?India: Bene Rialto is a community of up and coming artists and they always have open arms to talent. I am very thankful for the space.5) The Source: You mentioned you sometimes can be a prophet – what is one prophecy you saw come true?India: Well, often I dream about the end times… things just getting out of control in this world. One reason why I’m vegan and meditate is to stay conscious. Often I just see manipulation through media and brain washing through food and water… simple pleasures turning ordeal. I want to be the change, I want to see in the world… facts.6) The Source: As a model, is art a source of letting others see your soul opposed to just aesthetic?India: Yes. Often I am judged or misrepresented because of my looks. But I’m not only a hanger, I am a light body. A model without chains or limitations. I want the world to see my soul, but it’s cool that I have a face people can get comfortable with to let me in… the real organic me.
7) The Source: Your outfit for the night was pretty legendary, who were your designers?
My outfit was from a wonderful designer from Paris (@letsgetflash) … Styled by the amazing Farruchii (@eatwatyoukill)
8) The Source: What I got from Light Body’s was – this was a world you created as a reflection of your lifestyle – how much of this is so – whats a day in the life of India like?My life can be pretty hectic. My days are never the same, except keeping the goal the same: get higher… and higher and higher – and not on drugs, but on life. With all the hustle and bustle in NYC, one must mediate and I do so through yoga (vinyasa/ hot yoga) and self reflection. Without this, I would be very unfocused and uncentered.
9) The Source: How has art actualized the India we see today?Art is recording my life. Press play!10) The Source: In your down time, how do you pass time?I love to play with my kitten. Yoga of course. Friends and food is fav. Traveling. Loving. Helping others. Did I say eating already?11) The Source: What did you learn about yourself when completing this series of art pieces? How much time do you dedicate to your art work?I’ve learned that you should expect the unexpected. At first I was going to gear my art more towards the wellness and yogi aspect, drawing gurus in praying stance and lotus flowers, but I wanted to also capture what you need meditation from and depict a darker center as well. Light is nothing without darkness. Not saying my pieces are dark, but they aren’t landscapes.12) The Source: What’s a piece of advice you would give others wanting to enter this sphere?Confidence is key. Do you boo! *flicks wrist*13) The Source: What were the names of those involved with meditation/yoga practice?India: PopUpYogaNYC, Newesha (@rockinyogi), Celeste (@thenaughtyyogini)14) The Source: What can we expect in the future? What are your future goals?India: Dropping more t shirts on the website… European/British tour this August with graffiti and pop up shop… Also SXSW this Feb. Keep watch!
photo credit: Vicky Good
India’s stylist: Farruchii & Miranda