Everyday is slowly getting set to a pace. I have always imagined hitting 30 to be a time when you yourself will find a rhythm that suits you. All concerns will magically arrange themselves onto shelves in your brain. Much like Dumbledore setting back a busted room in one of the Harry Potter movies. Yes, I’m sorry if you hate the whole JK Rowling body of work but I can tell you I have seen them more times than is normal. Anyway, not to digress -I am aiming for this epiphany by the time I hit 30. Not that you can plan such things – but all we can do is try.You know the whole work – fitness balance thing. God knows artists and designers like many other people are always in studios, working away; as yoga mats, sneakers, skipping ropes and weights gather dust. Its not so difficult in theory – a pace, a rhythm, a routine but sometimes work will bring down upon you THE problem that you will have to sit with for hours hopefully not days. You will stare at it, curse it, have a tea, curse it again, leave the studio, come back and maybe see a solution. Its these times that are detrimental to the balance that is so important for our minds to work well and our bodies to feel fit. Yah, everyday is slowly getting set to a pace, its getting there. Im not saying there’s a permanent solution but I think I might have some tricks to help me. Perhaps they should be listed categorically.

Here’s some of the work I did recently. An acrylic on canvass commissioned painting that I was talking about in my last post freshly finished. Untitled, 2×4 feet.

 

An album cover and the album art for Mumbai based funk/ nu disco duo Madboy/Mink’s  debut EP

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Madboy:Mink_back

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And a logo for Regendre, Quelle genre? Quelle gender? A London based blog exploring issues and successes in the LGBTQ community.

 

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I love art and I love design. Both have a lot in common & the knowledge of both adds a lot to each other.

I always imagine Marc Chagall’s thought could perhaps include design as well “Art must be an expression of love, or it is nothing.”

Until next time amigos, we don’t know what joys life will bring by then but see you soon.

Good things have been happening. I am now much more comfortable being a non office goer. I am happy to say that I did not die without routine. I thought i would wither into a corner of the world and quietly perish because I would be “all on my own”. I have been spending time equally on design projects, personal projects and commissioned illustration/art projects. Some scholarships are on the horizon, more about that soon! Oh but as always work is never-ending (in a good way) and everything is still difficult (in a good way).

I made the album art for Ramya Shankar Bhat’s The Indian Lullaby Project -1. These nap tunes are composed from Indian Karnatak Classical style music.

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Also, its been a while since I made posters as part of my personal work. Here’s oneto re-begin them.

Windsdown_SamiaSingh

Some process photos from a wall mural I recently made for Max hospitals.

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WallMural_SamiaSingh

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And snap shots of a commissioned painting in progress

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I love working on a couple of things at the same time. I feel the brain has to be a little overwhelmed, (like in a tennis match) in order to really churn out those creative juices. Cant say I’m always relaxed with this approach but it works 90 percent of the time!  See you with more work soon!

No artist can predict what kind of work they will be creating in the next year. They can predict some aspects – like skill, colour, tone, quality etc all should improve and generally one’s graph should rise but content is some other game. You will also know what elements you use in your work – they will slowly become your language. You never know what is going to hit you emotionally (or hit you in the face) enough to make you think about it, sketch it over and over again until you fix on the correct way to create a visual representation to that thought.

I just got back from a brief residency at Uttarayan foundation for the arts in Vadodara (Baroda), India and feel absolutely inspired and ready to attack the next work thing. Its a beautiful place with great people and a superb work environment. I managed to create two etchings with ten editions of each but for the next time I’d like to take longer and not get so exhausted. Also one can work more on the final touches when there is a longer timeline.

Special gifts attached are Naveen Kumar Chandea’s sculptures. Aren’t they just genial?

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore than drawing these days my head is full of information. Information on music, information about the future, information on how to break my head free of all the dull things like errands and life in general. But its good to see a new development. Seeing something exactly and drawing it millimeter by milimeter of precision is one thing. And to soak in something and draw it later is another. I have been leaning towards the latter these days and its a great way to memorise and abstract.

They’re up all night to get some. I’m up all night for good fun.. ok i’ll stop.

Since I have landed in Italy, a variety of things have been happening. We spend our days in the studio – printing and etching and looking at the clock hoping that the acid will not eat away too far into the plates.

In the evenings we walk or bicycle. Sitting in the piazzas/in the train to cities nearby – there are so many chains of thought. So many jokes. So many kinds of conversations. So many mysteries and so many revelations. Its hard to combine these various themes as one. I love to write in my notebook and draw but more and more I feel that each kind of genre requires a different feel.

A serious story might need serious drawings and serious text and serious looking typography. A funny thing might need funny drawings, funny text and yes you get the drift.
So – solution is to have a set of very tiny books. Here is a sneak peek at book number one – Something Changed. Let me know if you’d like  one.

Something Changed _ Samia Singh

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Something Changed_Samia Singh

Come Find Me, Firenze was great fun. We knew nobody in this city – most of us are from outside of here spending between 5-9 months at our printmaking school. Florence is an ancient city – very inspiring and everything but a bit dead on young art. We wanted to step in and show some of our work and gather some exchange in conversations. Three houses were opened to the public over a weekend and it was very inspiring and energising to meet all these new people!

It also validated something most of us already feel. To go on doing what you love – with a bit of a skeptical eye. Don’t crush the creative process by being overtly controlling/demanding of yourself. Let your mind run around thinking of ideas. Do lots of sketches – come back and collect the valuable ones and do them with discipline. Edit well. Seek quality and humor. Replace this sense of doom with ironic humor – is the only way out and the only way in.

More about the exhibition here

Firenze by night, Aquaforte + aquatint

Firenze by night, Aquaforte + aquatint

thunder at cascine, monotype.

thunder at cascine, monotype.

sketch detail

sketch detail

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Bianca Tschaikner's work

Bianca Tschaikner’s work

Ovidiu Batista's work

Ovidiu Batista’s work

Paula Fraile's work

Paula Fraile’s work

Eri Mizutani's work

Eri Mizutani’s work

Paolo D Antonio's work

Paolo D Antonio’s work

Will add a few more photos in a few days.

Ciao!

 

 

 

Florence summer 2013

My group show in Florence! Come! Or keep in touch via our blog and Facebook page.

Come Find Me is an alternative way of exhibiting artworks. 9 artists from 7 different countries will open their current houses to the public. The show is over a weekend. Paintings, art stamps, comics, designs, illustrations and performances will help you Come Find Me!

Come Find Me e’ un modo diverso di mostra d’arte, nove artisti provenienti da sette paesi aprono le loro case al pubblico per un fine settimana per mostrare le proprie opere. ci saranno pitture, stampe d’arte, fumetti, disegni, illustrazioni, e performance!

One cannot predict what will happen when travelling. Especially travelling to a place that is culturally very different. But professions are a good thing. You meet so many people who are working in similar fields. Its encouraging to know that they are thinking similar thoughts and facing similar problems. I have never felt the need to show my work – as an everyday practice. I see a lot of my friends in Delhi who are musicians and artists as well. We are all quite comfortable doing our thing at home or in our studios or in our offices and having a show once a year or less. But here in Florence I see everyone is putting their work up. As stickers, as one night shows and sometimes on the streets – carrying their amps and just becoming part of the landscape. I am happy to see so many artists and designers and musicians shaping the city – the experience of it at least. And I feel ready to join them, you are what your creative output is. And somebody has got to see/listen to these months and years and hours and thoughts you have been working on!!! Get out there!

In the Piazza

while walking around

Graffiti in Firenze

T here’s a slow build up of pressure occurring everyday. A mild escalation day by day. What kind of an idiot borrows money to come study art during the recession???! Haha. Yes that’s one thought. Another is – Why have I come all the way here to Florence? All the way from India. Alone? Oh yes and here’s another: What do you hope to show these people? These ancient race of artists… handicraft is engraved here in every stone, every shoe that’s worn by the pedestrians, every woman who walks in her leather jacket. Italians are great lovers of the right process. Repetition of a process till the finish is impeccable. From cleaning a house to me polishing wood in my wood-cut class. Well, we’ll find out won’t we?

I came here to put myself far far away from my comfort zone. In order to produce something I could be proud of. Now that i’ve been lifted and dropped half way across the world, in the midst of many other cultures. I will begin to understand routine and techniques and soon will have something to show you. Fresh from Italy!

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something is slowly shifting. I am far far away from home – in Florence. I have come here to study etching. OK? Va bene? Now it’s tough tough scene to crack. Like any field is. You have to be not ordinary. You have to consistently improve. You have to consistently explode your own brain. I am very very excited to have put my brain in this new environment. Once I’m past the vast humungous mind boggling size of the supermarkets , the kind vehicle drivers who stop anywhere to let you walk pass, the strange plug points, the beautifully designed garbage bags, the double process of tram tickets and other many many similar geocultural differences – I will immerse into art. And push it to a stronger direction. Wish me luck!

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No time. Not an hour a day to think. Not two. But sometimes an extensive dip into the soul is required. Life’s waters mostly take you along. Sometimes one has to steer, shift slight directions, or gather spirit and scream down waterfalls. All quite exciting really. Here’s some sketching from some time spent lately.

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Process sketches from a commissioned assignment  by Designhabit for the Virasat e Khalsa (Sikh history) museum at Anandpur Sahib . The architect is the brilliant Moshe Safdie. Brief: What would the forests have looked like in the Siwalik foothills in the 18th century. Pen and Ink. Work in progress.
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Sorry all for the long silence. These things happen sometimes. I’ve been very angry for a while now. And I took the past few weeks trying to get to the bottom of this anger.
Here’s a cycle.You are expected to deliver your best (always). You needn’t get paid the best. Oh now you needn’t give your best (there isn’t enough time). Just do something. Oh good you can be fast. Can you be better? You needn’t…(and no we don’t want to spend on printing.)
Here’s another. You. You are smart and fun and intelligent. Stay. You can be more smart, more fun, more intelligent. Work here. Live here. Please don’t have a life. Stay. Please don’t try and act smart and fun and intelligent. You want to be better? No please. Don’t use that brain. Just stay. Catch.
Oh the last: You are young, we won’t pay much. You getting better. Good. You want to be brilliant? Sorry. We don’t need brilliant.

Is a jobbing person’s work as soulful as a “captain of my soul”?
Can you be a part of the industry and not be a full timer?
Is money more important than work with soul?
I’m all interested in things like these all of a sudden. I guess it’s a mid- twenties thing. The gypsy comes calling. I’m taking time off thought and doing some simple studies these days.
Also in the exciting cards is the next exhibition and you will hear more about that soon.

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Ebru! Wow.

Our debut opening of A Return to Circles was received very well. Thankyou all for coming. Singer songwriter Pratap N Deb aka Dayglocrazie added a whole new dimension to the show and we are grateful for that. Nothing like some soul while navigating visual art.  We have a few more shows in Delhi while we figure out Bombay, Bangalore and Calcutta for venues and funding. Hope to see you all especially old friends from Srishti and Sanawar in the other big cities soon!

Here’s the poster and postcard I made for our upcoming illustration and photography group show “A Return to Circles”

My crazy single trap shooter friend Zoravar is getting married! Yay. He wanted a very quick thing done and emailed so people could block the dates. He wanted himself, his gun, and rainbow trout which he catches when he’s fishing. Then he wanted his wife and it looked too feudal, so we put in some flowers and then he wanted some crazy birds. Well cant say no to friends. And it IS his wedding so can’t not put what he wants. Here’s the two in progression. I don’t particularly feel proud of the lack of finish but it’ll do for now. The official invite will follow some elements from these in a more intricate fashion and foil printing will be used to its bestest advantage and maybe a photo.

Last weekend’s sketch in the car.size 20×60 cm pen and watercolour pencils 

listen here

 

 

Had fun making this. 

Nice song, you can hear it here

I went to Manali to meet the inspiring Indian Olympian Shiva Keshavan and his beautiful and equally inspiring wife and sports manager Namita two weeks ago. I spent five days with them, hanging around at an advertisement shoot and speaking to them and Rosalba (Keshavans mother) about Luge, the sports scene in India, winter sport here and what it takes to be focussed on such a dream. So here’s some of their story thats written and illustrated (for the first time) by me; published in this week’s Tehelka. Pick up a copy or read it here Big thankyou to my art director Sudeep Chaudhuri for letting me out of office for this.

Perhaps its time to consider castration as a punishment for rape in India. Thanks to Nishita for the discussion before her write up.

I have loved this song for 6 years now, enough time to dedicate a poster. You can hear it here

Who can deny feeling the unbreakable pull of existentialism? I like to keep it at a low flame. And as we all know, the final answer is 42. But we try. Here is my humourless ode to today’s work blues. Evenings can never nearly be as good as mornings, when it comes to keeping your chin up. On a positive note, absolutely loving early morning running and sweating it out.

If you lie awake late into the night, early morning. If you suffer from a mind full of questions. Every night. Remember. You must get out of that bed, as near as sunrise as you can and go outside and not come back into the house for at least 2 hours. Okay one and a half – because you are new. Get out and exercise. Run, cycle, swim, walk, dance, skate, row, yoga – even a gym. Just get out early and life will get much better. But you have to keep at it. Don’t stop. Ever. If you can manage that – you will be what you have always wanted to be. Promise.

Love to sing? Love to listen to music? Love to figure out songs on the guitar? Cant tune your guitar yet? Tried but didn’t quite get the tuning right? Love Bob Dylan? Fighting a deep sense of lull by singing? Like to do things away from the computer? Want to go for a run? Can’t find time this week? Did you find time last week? Do you want to find time? Are you saving any money? I hope you are not spending it all. Are you? Want to bake a cake? Or shall we roast some pork? Do you want to go to the mountains for the weekend? Wont it be too short? Cant you take some days off? Of you just had a holiday? How long?

Music breaks time into segments, memories. Went to listen to Lou Majaw on sunday. A tribute to Dylan. Very nice to hear some quiet some rough songs in a small gathering. He even asked me to join him for   some songs on the mike! What gates of  wonder music opens. The best thing to do in your free time. Or for a living. Or for pure joy.

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Something has got to shift in the general mental make up after seeing Robert Crumb’s work. From the line quality to the larger umbrella under which his work sits – mindnumbing stuff. Crumb said that the world needs more satire and less original artworks talking about comics in museums. He was impressed by World Comics India, and felt that there was a great scope for amateur comics. Issues can be brought up easily in the comic format, in comparision with other modes of conversation which fall short discussing taboos.Gary Groth introduces Crumb as a miserable hillarious existential slob.
Crumb says he enjoys lettering and layouts especially in covers.Crumb’s illustration mocking his relationship with women.

On being asked whether he was planning any work on whats going on financially in his country, Crumb said that heavy shit goes on. He is gathering evidence. He has many conspiracy theories. He has been avoiding doing political analysis doing more personal autobiographical stuff for the past few years. But he is gathering evidence. He looked at my sketchbook and even made a little advice sketch! What an inspiring weekend.

And may I add that Gary Groth was a superb host, I enjoyed their conversation immensely.

Todays trial and error has resulted in this. Vectors can be fun. I’m learning how.

Day two at Comic Con India. Gary Groth, editor in chief of The Comics Journal and co-founder of Fantagraphics books spoke at length today about his journey through comics and publishing.I loved being flooded with names and given an inkling of what all has been happening in the American comics scene. A brief mention of work worth living for versus shit that doesn’t matter was interesting. Lifetimes worth of social comment, satire  and humour today revealed exposure & inspiration. A precious saturday afternoon.

Robert Crumb looks on as Gary Groth talks about his work.

All the biggies are here. The lights are set. The table is laid. Settle those creases on your suits gentlemen, ladies avoid heels. Comic Con India kicked off yesterday with their 2012 Awards at India International Centre. Was interesting to see the makings of a strong high impact powerhouse. Presentation format, the hostess etc reflected something from a school annual day auditorium. You could feel the newness of the concept in India. As Aline K Crumb mentioned, she just came from an event in France where she was surrounded by twenty five thousand people to IIC here, modest but touching. RK Lakshman was presented the lifetime achievement award.

The Crumbs were especially amused by a notorious print of Need More Love, a graphic memoir that my colleague Shone bought the same day from Lajpat Nagar in order to own a signed copy. Apparently, and Shone did not notice, the size of the book along with the length of the stories has been cut. They have never seen that copy. They did not know it existed. Is it home made? We will find out.

The person you are looking at is Rakesh from Blaft Publications. What a surprise to see that hairdo at India International Centre. Fifty points to Blaft. Seated next to him is Yukichi Yamamatsu  from Japan who’s launching his book Stupid Guy Goes to India. He doesn’t speak English but will answer questions in Hindi if put across delicately.

And man to look out for, Author and illustrator of Satya Police who won the category for Best Unpublished Work and a grant and a publishing deal. Wow. And he’s got a good sense of humour  because he was the only one to point out that the music played before the announcements could have been responsible for him having a heart attack!

More from Comic Con India on this weekend. I’d like to thank my genius Art Director for sending me out of office. What a treat.

My age old housemate and friend Aashim Raj is the first of a series. I like to sketch people. I like to sketch them doing boring ordinary things. I’m trying to think of one line per person. What they are to me. Whats their signal quality or strongest character trait. So here we go. 

How much I’d love to take a look at this up close. Sudarshan Shetty has delightfully mad work. Love it. Next time in Bombay. Yummy pictures by MS Gopal, with a bit of information about the bus and more yummy pictures here. Wonder what all this bus could do if it were pushed to be “interactive” . Interactive is the new word for magic.Maybe?

I love seeing other people”s sketchbooks. And its even better when they write about their process and mediums used. Rishabh, my colleague at Tehelka brought this wonderful book he picked up from Italy. Here’s some things for you to look at.

S ketching wasn’t always a part of me. I started doodling behind pages of my math book in school because I hated math and scribbling random things was a great way to drown out my math anxiety. Then the next thing I remember enjoying drawing was diagrams in biology. I rendered them when I couldn’t remember answers in my exams. I started keeping a journal in Kodaikanal when I went there to study in class eleven. I wrote everything- lyrics of nice songs ,birds on the school campus, lists of things to do, habits to grow into, recipes, angst ridden notes, sorted advice to me straight from my heart, versions of my future, drawings. At Srishti, (College of Art & Design) we were encouraged to keep a logbook. Assignments, more angst, autobiographical delvings, romantic anguish followed. So did the discovery of many kinds of books. Nice ones to buy, hand made ones using only select paper for all mediums. Various sizes. All these books have different personalities. It’s interesting to find how I have changed and remained the same. My views of the world. Its a special place a sketchbook is. I think very differently when i”m working on a book than a computer. So it’s a good place for ideas to begin and sometimes get carried into my work. I’m never proud of any sketchbook. One always begins with a very  high goal and its a quiet ceremony beginning a book. Sometimes pages can dissapoint and even after trying they do not rise up to the level one wanted. But here is my latest one, almost near its end. Thought I’d share it with you.

 

Ever feel like all your nerve endings have begun to fray? I tend to forget to take that occasional walk you are supposed to take away from the computer when at work. And if you have had one of those days when you begin to see two pencils where there is one. ( Nothing to do with beer.) Your eyes cannot come to terms with the computer stare. Thats when you go for a run or go and eat a bun or just put off your computer and make space for some fun.

and meeting courage instead.

For all the things one wishes to do there are double the number of things that don’t allow that (or pretend they have the power). Here’s something i’d like to remember.

 

Somebody had the brain to leave a spot of nature in the middle of this cement landscape. Open. Completely transforming the thoughts in my mind. Why am I pacing it? Why stick to a safer speed. A downhill slope and your legs go faster than your mind would permit. In this rigid lined defined lifestyle – im not complaining i just miss the outdoors. You’d never feel this way in a gym. I imagine all the places i’ve run at – would like to run at. Mountains, lakes, beaches, small villages, urban compounds where you go round and round, fake gardens, real forests, fake forests. Plugging in. Its priceless. Makes me want to make a film about running. Nothing can take away what you get from it. It adds to all you do otherwise. Beautiful sunday. If you haven’t got it in you, you cant hope to find it when you need it. Photo: Nike Running

I present Tehelka’s new year special fiction issue dedicated to Romance. Fog has delayed many trains in the country. While I wait for my train to move, I find the best thing on the bookstore’s stands. My first ever issue design. My art director asked me to design it as a whole package to get a feel of things. Doing a few inputs here and there vs looking after the whole issue has made me quite confident and curious about techniques, time, finish and quality. Short fictions written by AMITAVA KUMAR • SOURABH RATNU • KALKI KOECHLIN • MUSHARRAF ALI FAROOQI • NABARUN BHATTACHARYA • SUNITI NAMJOSHI • SR FARUQI • RAHUL SONI • JUGAL MODY • KR MEERA • SIDDHARTH CHOWDHURY • PRASHANT MIRANDA • AKSHAT VERMA • SNEHA RAJARAM Featuring illustrations by Anand Naorem, Pia Alize Hazarika, Somesh Kumar, Ashish Naorem, Aastha Mittal (work featured on cover), Prashant Miranda, Smruthi Gargi Eshwar, Devashish Guruji and me.

My special thankyou to Rishabh Arora for the magnificient menu he has designed for the issue and most of all to Sudeep Chaudhuri, my art director – who’s work and spirit are inspiring.

Thoughts float around in your head all the time. Some need to be said, some thought of. Some things need to crystallise. Behavior. Reactions. One’s own actions. Writing something down/ drawing about it always clarifies things for me. Especially unpleasant things.

 

 

Separating Gold from Dust

Unsettle to settle
*
Things intertwine
Slowly, to untwine
*
The constant letting go
The necessary holding on to
*
All who smile
With shifty feet
It’s always here on this road we meet
Sometimes greet, sometimes eat
Sometimes merely bleat
Don’t stop every step you walk
This road is forever
Abrasion is not
**

a constant question for most, in her true style.

 

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