It’s always art and design, but for me it all started with art or design. These two words, however synonymous they might sound, are sometimes not. So the question that came to my mind when I started my creative life going to school was, should life be designed? Or should it naturally flow like art? After a lot of thinking, I ended up in a design college. Post college I thought of becoming a full-fledged designer, but, became an artist. This art-design paradox has chased me for the last 15 years and I am still busy finding design in art and art in design.
The paradoxical phrase “art and design” is actually responsible for my career. It started with a friend requesting me for a small painting, and every request thereon kept growing in size till I decided to work directly on walls. Walls seemed to be a cool thing to work on, and soon I had a long list of people waiting to get their wall art done. This one man show got converted to Artlab Studios, creating site specific art for corporates. In a span of 15 years we have worked on close to 2,000 projects including companies like Google, IBM, Bank of America, Melon Bank, etc.
Art nowadays is getting more intellectual and less skilful. Lately, I hold my focus in conceptual art installations, documentation and prediction of cultural evolution through my creations. It is a way to let a wide audience appreciate and enjoy my work. Large scale art installations and public art is the area to be explored in the future. If a piece of art is installed in a public place then it has to be interactive as a visual and also intellectual, wherein the spectator has an opportunity to take away something every time he encounters the piece. Or else, it will be considered as a just another statue at a cross road.
I would like to share my favourite conceptual art installation designed by me. It was named Cellophania, and was a tribute to Van Gogh at the Institute of Social Science, Den Haag, Holland. Cellophania had a cellophane roll mounted on a Tripod. When looked into the cellophane roll the cross section of the cellophane film becomes a lens, giving rise to a swirly, Van Goghian image. This minimalistic installation involves the viewer, and gives him a sense of having explored a new quality of a cellophane roll.
Another art installation that I would like to share is the Sky Project. It was installed at an art gallery. Every morning I could see the sun rise from my first floor and one fine day a gigantic residential tower got built right in front of my house stealing away not only the sun rise, but also the visible sky.
This gave rise to the idea of a Sky Project – a sarcastic art installation. It’s a fantasy of bringing the sky down to earth. The gallery was filled with white smoke at the foot level on which a visitor walks and encounters pictures of the blue sky. At the end of the gallery there is a 70 foot long pipe that stares back at you. When you look into the pipe you see the sky that has come down from the terrace of the gallery through periscopic mirrors.
Another area of interest where I love to do art installations is on movable property – cars. Till date I have worked on a lot of art installations on cars.
My Polar Bear specimen was kept under a special temperature and it grew itself to survive. The Polar Bear was positioned as a biogenetic experiment and at the same time it drew parallel attention between the Ambassador Car and Polar Bear with regards to their extinction. This art installation was also an experiment to add a tactile value to the piece. It was enjoyed by a large crowd including kids, grown ups and even the intellectual variety.
Another car art installation was Ambey-Se-Darr. It’s a futuristic prediction where corporate giants turn their eyes to the lucrative business of temples. The MBA minds create mobile temples operating through call centres. For anyone who wants to worship, the temple comes to their doorstep. This idea further extends to a franchise going international. Even though this installation was sarcastic in flavour it was well received by atheists as well as by believers.
My latest art installation which was displayed at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival was the Brand Ambassador. This installation talks about the love-hate story between the artist and his art. It concludes with a question in every artist’s mind – should the art be more important or the artist (who created the art)? The car is covered with dome mirrors that reflect my face from the posters on the sides.