Archives for category: art

Living Room ReadyWhat an absolute delight to make fun things for people when there are very few limitations! Priya got in touch with me after being recommended by one of my friends. She’s got a tiny daughter and has just moved to Gurgaon from Bangalore with her husband. She wanted to commission artworks on themes and poems and text that she has been thinking about and wanted the artworks to be based around these ideas. At first, I went ahead and did iterations for each idea and while some were approved – others took a while getting there as it soon became clear that while she was open to some ideas from my end, she had thought about some images herself and wanted to work those out. So here we are after couple of iterations and to and fros and some artworks are what I like and some are in the middle and some are what she wanted – but all in all they make a happy bunch!

Here’s my favourite from the bunch and some test colour sketches for it. I am happy making comissioned artworks from time to time as I like the dialogue – the encounter of two or more minds and how that changes what the output is. In a way it’s a good collaboration tool to keep the mind open besides the methods we already use for our work to grow. Next up is a website I just made and sketches from the amazing monsoon drenched GOA! Everyone loves a summer break – especially if it features some of the monsoon!

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animal-peopleHere’s my friend Jeebs, short for Ajibo (not really that short). Ajibo was the inspiration for The Animal People.  I wanted to make a tiny sculpture of her to sit in the house someplace on the dining table or on the work table.  It has become a larger project now but dear Jeebs is it’s President so I felt the need to let her know that her personality has been incredibly stimulating. Here’s a sticker for the sculpture series. They come packed with love and stickers.

walrus and gang. Photo by A&Y

 

Some pre orders and new creatures being preparedSo many kinds of days have passed. The new year/holiday season does something strange. You are shedding an old skin and yet it is essential that you remember what it looked like. Age old lessons of routine, productivity and good humour will be put to use again. Every year somehow you are getting more aligned to that vision of your work and yourself. That’s the only way forward right?

I’m glad to have met many many creative people over the last few years and re-connected with teachers & friends from way before as well.

It is heart warming and inspiring to see everybody push themselves in their own ways. Some people (my idols) wake between 6 and 7 in the morning and are fit as hell and cook food that is fit as hell and their work really somehow gains a power from that.

There are many things I have learnt and would like to include in my daily living besides the things we already knew. Number one on that is to have a good productive day everyday!

These dear animal people are part of that target as well as some new newmedia things that have been sprouting in the back on my mind. By the end of this year there should be a fair number of the animal people and one or two shows based around them. Wish me luck! I wish you the same!

Will update with finished pictures of the animal people along with some website designs I’m currently working on, Oh and a book cover that’s nearly published! Happy winter from Delhi! We here are enjoying the weather while it lasts, before we are in hell for 8 months ugh-ain.

Wait till you find out what they are for

Glazed and ready to be cooked!

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The Wallmural_samiasinghfinal bye_samiasinghI can’t explain enough what a great feeling it is to have finished a big piece of work. A part of me lies all the way in Carballo, A Coruña, Spain. I have hope that I will see it again sooner than later. A lot has been learnt painting in this ENORMOUS scale. It’s addictive too! I bring lots of learnings back with me along with a ton of beautiful memories and proof that many many many many wonderful brilliant genius hard working & kind people exist. Here’s a short interview and background about the mural. I’ve been busy sketching and writing songs and keeping up the fitness routine. Here’s some recent sketches I posted on my Instagram. Going to start on a small indoor mural now. Next update about that. October’s here! Winter is the season of my soul! Can’t wait.

Ajibo & Genius Ajibo asleep Flesh and paper

 

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I love storms. I love rain. I think a lot of people sweating it out in 48 degress centigrade in northern India share this love for rain, clouds and stormy weather with me. In my first sketch for the street art wall mural, I drew our dog Ajibo with me and Vaibhav flying out, away from the storm. For me this was an image to communicate how I was feeling with a new addition of this love-crazy puppy to our lives. That’s one layer of content: the personal. Then, this sketch was shown to the head of the city council of Carballo, Spain – who heads the street art project and is responsible for the funding, the production et all. Then the initial sketch was shown to the lady who owns the house whose wall I would be painting.

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The initial sketch, in my delighted escape from the Delhi summer was cloudy, windy and stormy. The mausam of my soul. But the lady found it dark and depressing.

I had other ideas about the mural but I had only mentioned them in text and who can imagine a painting from a few lines of text? I did the second draft using warm colours. I never use warm colours. I don’t know why. I love the mystery of blues and greens. For years these are the only two colours in my wardrobe. Its natural that they are the colours I always pick for the pallete too.sketch2_carballo_samiasingh

But this is not my sketchbook, it is someone’s house and someone’s money and together this wall will become an experience for someone else who walks past it. Here is where it comes in. ¿How can you use your work to make people smile? It’s a naïve question, yes. But it’s also a fundamental one.

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I always find myself between two points. I love realism but I also love surrealism. I love to see the sun break the sky into a hundred shades of orange red pink yellow and purple but I also value the hundred thoughts inside my head. What you see and what you think. Truth and humour. I don’t want to show you a beetle that I drew 20 times and have mastered. I want to show you all my memories. I want to show you all the things that touched me and I want to show you how I feel here. But that’s not it, I want to you feel something too. I want your thought that you carried in your mind to be forgotten when you see this wall. I want you to stop a moment and look a little closer. I want you to smile.

This of course will continue, the communication. Slowly the aesthetic will evolve, maybe it will get more cartoony, maybe it will get more realistic, maybe it will continue to sit right here in the middle.

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The more I work the more I think. The more I find myself realising reasons and systems within work, and the more I want to write – to make sense of all these mini AHA moments ( as they would say in Srishti, my design school.) Today, for instance – I was drawing grass blowing in the wind. I was thinking how some years ago I would have been very nervous. I would have put more detail and wanted every grass blade to be perfect and in that obsession missed out on the fun. I would have stressed about how the style or treatment of the image was too childish and cartoon- like.

But, today I felt so free, just letting my hand do some shit and following it with my mind – as opposed to the other way round. Another point was decisions. Small things like how many shades of green to use and how many types of grass to include into the drawing. Researching photographs, trying to copy photographs in an exact manner – all this is good of course but one misses out all the fun while stressing on details. Sometimes ending up in an over detailed thing at the end.

Sketching frees you from seeking reference and continuously cross-checking your drawings. Of course this doesn’t mean I think I draw very well or that I know everything about light and shade, line, colour or perspective. It only means that when it’s time to create you have some sort of a bank of information in your head which you can draw from, (pun intended) uninterrrupted.

A liberating thought was a quote I read somewhere which had the gist of “to paint is to look at the world with the inside of the eye.” I know it sounds floozy but to me could be a meditation almost. Styles within painting are many and from medium to medium they vary within a single person as well – but the tone, the voice is what now interests me. What are you trying to say? Doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, as people back home keep repeating – everyone goes through the same things, you end up at the end of life in the same place, it’s just about time and the sequence of events! So I feel like my mind is growing more painting cells and that can’t be a bad thing!

It’s so good to be in a different country on an assignment – so far i’ve worked with the best of work environments – the idea of a design or art brief in Europe is how it should be. Much to my liking, you are left alone after you have convinced the client that you are capable of delivering. You don’t have stage-wise approval of every detail, your knowledge base is respected and most importantly commisioning a design/an artwork does not mean the client directing it!

Freedom goes a long way and so does fair pay – one can truly push one’s limits when you know quality is all that matters. Blissful work conditions, except the wind!

Hieronymus_Bosch_003Wat was it? What hit you? The light? The angels? The painstaking effort gone into making the perspective right? The fact that unicorns were mistakenly included in art inspired by the Bible because someone mistranslated a kind of a bull as a unicorn? That unicorns were being so fussy on Noah’s Arc that he chucked them out letting them drown instead – and that’s why they are extinct now? So many stories and reasons for happenings. I think it’s all cooked up anyway (no offense to believers) but one comes across many valuable life-lessons in art and in religious writing, which can be as informative and enjoyable as poetry and literature. Interesting metaphors and imagery articulate the goings on within our insides. Hieronymus Bosch’s work can pull out the rug from beneath your feet. If there was a rug at all or if you were standing in flesh next to a painting , it will probably make a bit of a difference (but not much). Netherlands in the 1500’s were under the Spanish crown – an answer I found after being surprised by the number of artists from the Netherlands in the national museum of Spain. Strange creatures, futuristic and contemporary images drawn at the same time Guru Nanak in Punjab, India was coming up with Sikhism! What a world of differences and what a variety of ways to address similar concerns! Between heaven and hell, good and evil lies in all of us and art has the electric magnetic power to arrest you and educate you, your soul – in a moment you can be transported to the depths of an emotion. El Bosco does that repeatedly all on the same canvas as hundreds of images form a whole. I can only sigh and smile and sleep dreaming sweet crazy dreams.

Museo Del Prado ticketThe brain can only take in so much. After some of the previous summer spent soaking in the Louvre and the Musée D’Orsay in Paris & the Uffizi gallery in Firenze it takes courage to step into a museum again. There is endless beauty; the light, the perspective, details , ideas, symbols and stories all demand intense attention. It’s interesting for me to observe my lack of knowledge about Western art growing up in the Indian art curriculum. We had a little book with about 30 tiny images of art from prominent Indian artists that we had to know about along with the styles and content of Indian miniature schools. But we never went to the museum as part of the course. If we wanted to find out more, we’d have to go on our own accord. Like all things good, information that is important for you will find you at the right time. Chiaroscuro was a word I heard in 11th standard in Kodaikanal from Mr. Adam Kahn our German art teacher at Sholai School who we shared with kids from Kodaikanal International School. I remember him showing us Lust for Life, Vincent Van Gogh’s story. I also remember an elderly Indian couple who visited our school and as a parting gift gave me a beautiful 1940’s booklet in French about exercises to practise light in drawing. I spent days making sketches of trees at night in the moonlight, in the misty mornings and in the sunny/cloudy afternoons. I was lucky to have all that time in a forest at the age of 16/17 because ten years later it’s hard to find time that stretches across the mountains till the horizon. One doesn’t really come across that feeling so often now, that time is as infinite as a single moment and you can stretch it as you wish. That’s the sort of mental state one needs to be in at a museum to truly benefit. Your life can be changed so you must open all the windows and dust that old brain as you doddle into the museum. Hieronymus Bosch was this visit’s discovery and I am pretty sure he’s started to change my brain cells themselves. I think I will write about him and a few more things next time around.

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.

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

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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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