How I Lean Out:
IMAGINE

June 18, 2023

7/12 2:20:24 UTC
NightDay

If you’ve ever spent a day browsing bookstores in Cambridge and walked across the Mass Ave bridge to Boston afterwards, then you’ve likely been spellbound along the way by the sunset lighting up a giant wall piece by IMAGINE. Ever since that happened to us, we’ve wanted to learn more and collaborate.

Tell us about you!

I live in Kathmandu, Nepal and in Boston. I paint larger than life murals and paintings with my native letters.

How did you get into street art?  It’s not something one normally associates with Nepal — or even with Boston for that matter.

That’s so true! I definitely didn’t grow up with street art so when I was introduced to it by my mentor and big brother Rob Problak Gibbs, this new form of artwork fascinated me. Creating something larger than myself felt surreal and gave me a platform to express myself and my culture to a wide audience. This helped me feel seen and it’s the most powerful feeling.

We wanted to do this as part of AAPI Heritage month, which has taken on increased resonance along with the escalation in racism over the last several years. Do you feel like people are becoming more aware of the AAPI experience in the U.S. and how it needs to change?

Asian people aren’t a monolith and the more opportunities we get to tell our stories, the more support we receive to take over spaces, our stories become more and more humanized. I think we have ways to go…

Tell us about your badge.

The Imagine Beginnings tab features the first letter of the Nepali alphabet “क”. This letter signifies the beauty in beginning new adventures in life while taking your cultural identity with you.

Obviously these paintings require quite a lot of time spent outdoors — and they also seem quite physically demanding to execute. Is that your main outdoor activity or are you into others? 

I do spend a lot of outdoor time painting and I really treat it like a sport because you need to have stamina, need to stay fit to be able to move around so much and also need to be equipped with the right gear based on the weather- super cold Boston days, monsoon rain in Kathmandu, muggy heat in Miami, changing foggy days in Monterey Bay Area! Need to be ready for all of it haha! I enjoy running and I love biking around the city when I’m in Boston! Growing up in Nepal I was really into mountain biking too.

Tell us about your gear - what do you tend to bring/wear? What are some of your favourite tools, gear, or apparel for leaning out?

Paint shoes: Nike Airmax 2090

Rain jacket: Early Majority Shell jacket 

Early Majority Anorak 👌🏽 

What is one of your most memorable adventures or favourite places to lean out?

Favorite places to lean out include the Chitwan National Park in Chitwan, Nepal. I enjoy being completely surrounded by greenery with not a tall building in site- it’s just the blue sky and leafy green trees ✨

I have loved trekking through Ghandruk in Nepal too…you feel like you could just TOUCH the Annapurna mountain range from there and I AM a Himalayan baby so mountains are close to my heart ❤️ 

When I’m in Boston, I love sitting beside Spy pond after my early morning runs or during summer sunsets

What do you do to stay safe so you can really relax in nature?

Sunblock! When I’m outdoors, I’m putting on sunblock! Whether I’m in nature or painting in a city!

I stay hydrated as well. If I’m really going off trail in Nepali jungles, then I use tiger balm around my ankles to prevent leeches and other creepy crawlies from getting into my shoes 

Who inspires you in the outdoors? We would love to include them in a future ‘How I Lean Out’!

My best friend Nistha Shrestha has inspired me to enjoy the jungle ever since we were little. Seeing her so happy and comfortable in nature is such a joy for me. She’s also an avid bird watcher during our jungle hikes and always points them out to me.

You can pre-order Sneha's badge at the link below...

...or buy the original artwork that inspired the badge