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Meet Jaya Tulasi Devi Dasi of Gopi Henna in The Art’s District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jaya Tulasi Devi Dasi.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jaya Tulasi. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My Henna journey began, I would say, when I got married. I had a traditional vedic ceremony at the temple I met my husband and a major part of getting ready for the ceremony is getting your henna (mehndi) done. It was my very first experience with henna and I absolutely loved it!

A few months after getting married, my husband and I traveled to India and that is where I got my first henna cone to experiment with. Using the henna cone is like piping designs on a cake and in fact, that was what my previous occupation was: a cake decorator!

The family in India my husband and I stayed with noticed I had henna on my hands and the daughters were especially happy and brought me up to their room to show me their designs. We very much connected through the art of henna and I feel that is the primary reason I’ve been drawn to it ever since. The medium of henna for thousands of years has brought people together and still does today! I feel this is one of my main motivations for pursuing this art form, which has brought me to where I am today: the lead henna artist of Gopi Henna.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would say being the owner of your own business is never easy and involves many risks. When starting out working different festivals and street fairs you can never be too sure of the results. Fortunately, most that I have done have turned out well, but preparing for different events can always be a little stressful and with heavy loads of booth equipment to carry it can be physically taxing as well.

Some of the struggles are the long, long hours during the summer months, especially. For example I do one event for the 4th of July which is about a 16 hour day, 12 hours of which is non-stop henna, with barely enough time to go to the bathroom! The summer I sacrifice a lot of time I would have spent with family, friends and my spouse. But as many henna artists know, the summer time is when you tend to make most of your income of the year as the fall and winter tend to slow down a lot.

Which brings me to my most recent risk: moving from San Diego to Los Angeles. I have spent 4 years developing a client base down in San Diego and now I am starting fresh up here in DTLA. Luckily through social media, things are going well and I see the potential of LA developing me more as an artist than San Diego would have, though I still travel back there once or twice a month. The opportunities in LA are amazing as well as the people and I am happy I took the risk and moved up here!

Please tell us about Gopi Henna.
I am a henna artist and I love mixing different styles together to create custom works of art for different clients. I am known for more of fusion design style, though if a clients wants more of a traditional style I can creating something for their needs as well. I think what sets me apart is that I don’t try to limit myself to one particular style, but I like mixing and trying new things whenever possible!

My favorite moment of my henna career thus far was when I was flown out to Las Vegas to do henna on models featured during one of Paul Mitchell’s biggest annual Hair Shows. It was an amazing experience to do henna along side the most talented Hair Stylists and educators in the country. At one point I was brought up on stage as well for a live henna demonstration–which turned out very well! And more recently I was privileged enough to do bridal henna for a lovely artist who designed art work used by Prince! It’s always an amazing experience to work on other artists.

I also make my own henna kits for those interested in learning henna themselves, as well as supply fresh, organic henna powder and homemade cones. I’m currently in the works of creating a syllabus for henna workshops in the future!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
When I was a child I was obsessed with horses! All I wanted when I was young was a horse–unfortunately that never became a reality but at least for awhile my mother allowed me to take horse back riding lessons. I remember just being around the horses and stables was an amazing feeling! I loved art as a child as well and as no surprise I drew my fair share of unicorns and horses. And even today I love when little girls request to get unicorn hennas!

Pricing:

  • Design prices vary according to size and style. Private appointments range anywhere from $25-$100
  • For parties, I charge an hourly rate of $85 an hour
  • Bridal is typically $100 an hour and takes generally 2-4 hours to complete, some negotiation is possible here is bridal party is included as well.

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