Riya’s work is about awakening. Waking up to see the real truth – that we contain the universe within us; everything we are looking for in and from the outside world already exists inside us from the moment we come into the world. It is about evolution; finding the potential we have, and unlearning the teachings that suggest adhering to socially constructed ideals and expectations – wearing masks, disguising ourselves – will make us happy and find a sense of belonging. Once these are shed, we find we are connected with nature and the flow of the universe; we realize we are light and we are all made of the same light. We power the universe.
Riya’s art is east meets west, traditional meets modern, and spiritual meets material. Through graphic, intricately detailed imagery, Riya aims to break down social constructions and expectations that serve as barriers from being our true selves. There are hidden messages – symbols, shapes and words – embedded within her work, making the viewing experience interactive and thought provoking.
Riya is a practicing artist and designer based in Hong Kong. You may contact her for custom commissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What inspired you to create these designs?
As I work mostly on a custom-commission basis, I put a lot of thought into the individual symbols and words that are hidden within my designs to best reflect the unique identity of the client. However, my philosophy remains constant throughout, so there are certain symbols you will find in all my work that remain true to the intent for all my art, and some of these comprise the designs I have created for Bodinker.
My work is about recognising what is really important to our purpose on this planet and what makes us find our innate happiness. I try to infuse "soul" through my patterns into material objects or surfaces that we interact with in our daily lives both as a reminder to embrace and always act as our real, true selves; and to appreciate the important traits that exist both in ourselves and those around us, making us all unique, worthy and purposeful beings in our universe. Being able to extend this concept out to the material body directly is really fitting and a great next step for my work.
Which part of the body suits your tattoo design and why?
I have designed these tattoos so that they may be worn on any part of the body. I want the wearer to have fun and create their own meanings with them. The seven Chakras can be worn on the actual locations corresponding to each Chakra – spanning from the base of the spine to the top of the head. But of course, you could also choose to just wear the Chakra(s) with principles that correspond to what you would like to channel, wherever you like. And the Temple design can be worn as-is, or decorated with other designs underneath or around it. It is a reminder to treat your body with love and respect, as it is the vehicle enabling you to carry out your soul’s purpose.
Which artwork would you like to wear on your body?
This is a tough question! My favourite art is very detailed and colourful, like Mughal miniature paintings, Indian folk art, and ancient scripture illustrations. Yet, I think if I had any tattoos of my own, they would be monochromatic and very simple, maybe a line of text or an inelaborate but meaningful symbol.
Do you have any tattoos?
Nope (well, not yet). People always ask me why I don’t, given my style of work. I really appreciate tattoos when I see them on other people, particularly when I learn about the meanings the designs hold for them. I just haven't been able to commit to something marking my body forever – life is an ongoing process of learning with a constant influx of inspiration. Maybe I’ll get a permanent tattoo one day…but in the meantime, I’m very excited to wear these beautiful temporary ones!