She adorns a hat decorated with many feathers—an online fashionista, gallerist, social media influencer, speaker, digital painter, award-winning artist, traveller, and a lot more. With a keen interest in capturing almost anything and everything, Riya literally turned her passion into her profession. She said, “I realised that it brings me great amount of joy but I couldn’t see myself taking it up as a profession and so I took up engineering. However, soon after my undying love for art made me push the conventional ideas of getting into a secured job and I dropped out of college to pursue my urge to create something new every day.” A free-spirited lady who believed in doing what she loved and by changing the world with what mattered to her the most, decided to bring forward the brighter side of India through her artworks.
She pursued courses in Professional and Travel Photography from New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) through distance learning method. Having completed the two courses, she became the first person from Kalol, Gujarat to get a press card from NYIP, followed by the inauguration of her art gallery; she made her parents proud of her success without an engineering degree. “My visit to Brick Lane Gallery Exhibition in 2015 helped me learn more and boosted my confidence so much that upon returning I transformed the first floor of my house into Riya Art Gallery—the first and only gallery displaying artworks which I created using photographs and digital elements.”
Being fond of the internet and getting clicked for social media, she decided to turn this hobby into a business as well. Throwing light upon her journey, she said, “I started building my own brand on social media after I was appreciated for my photography. It all started with a brand contacting me for work association and my journey as a social media influencer began.” Starting with merely 50, she today has more than 3.5 lakh followers on Instagram, with new brands approaching her for collaboration or endorsement, nationally as well as internationally. Her Instagram handle boasts of over 82,000 unique views and earns between $ 2,800 and $ 5,000 a month via her involvement with the popular platform.
ONE FOR A GOOD CAUSE
“Nothing would delight me more than to have my work represent rural India in a more positive light. It was 2016’s artwork exhibition held in New York that helped bring considerable exposure to my style, fashion and work.” Having travelled extensively and seen the challenges that life throws at people across the globe she found Band-aid Foundation, an NGO, which emerged out of a pursuit to inspire and support communities. “In line with three essential tenets: good thoughts, good deeds, and good words, I always try to do good things to other people and do my best in my own life endeavours.” Her organisation is driven by progressive ideas, bold actions, and a strong foundation of support.
MAKING THE BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Displaying her artworks on platforms like Instagram gave her national and international recognition and also opportunities to collaborate with brands like Being Human, Daniel Wellington, Ritu Kumar, Myntra, Soch, All About You, Grand Hyatt Mumbai, Shein, Better Me, House of Marigold, Actofit, ZARA, Desi Music Factory, EverPret, The Kettlery, and Burberry.
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