Jul 28, 2014

Copied again!!

And so it happens again!
What is it with Lakme Fashion Week designers and my work inspiring them a tad too much? First it was The Kathakali face from the top of this trunk… now it is the Theyyam face of the top of this one!


Shagufta Quamar - Photos - Facebook 2014-07-24 22-17-22

It is interesting that the ‘lady’ in question posted her piece, at least on Facebook, on July 18th 2012 and I showcased the same in Nov 2010 at the PageTurners exhibition. It has since been published in many newspapers and magazines.

(This image is taken from Rang Decor – my friend Archana Srinivas’s blog)

Judge for your self. But I have to give this ‘lady’ some credit… at least she tried to change it up a little :-) I wonder though if she realized that there are specific brush strokes I did across this piece for a reason or the significance of the zebra stripes in black or even the twirls in the top band. Did she realize that the green little strokes on the bottom band are done with the side of a brush?

On a more serious note – inspiring someone to better their own skills and visual vocabulary is one thing, blatant copying quite another. It makes me feel connected to another soul that they were so moved by a piece of mine that they felt compelled to add their own interpretation to it. But using it as is… where is the artistic merit in that?

My advice – take an idea and weave your own emotions through it, put your thoughts and feelings in there, connect to that ‘inspiring’ piece and add your life experiences to it and then see what you come up with. That is what makes art worth pursuing.

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Jun 5, 2014

Creative Gaga – May/Jun 2014

Thank you Pragya Bharti for the product feature in the May-June 2014 issue of the Creative Gaga Magazine. I have long admired this magazine so it feels wonderful to be in featured in it. Though I am not totally convinced about the title to the page – ‘Spend Thrift’. But I understand it’s a regular section about the ‘it’ things to buy so I can’t complain :-)

creativeGaga_Cover  creativeGaga_Art_Pg1  creativeGaga_Art_Pg2

Please click on the image to read the text.
(Note- it opens a PDF document.)

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May 29, 2014

A table for Anna..

Anna wrote to me a few weeks ago asking if I saw potential to work on a few things she had in the house. Essentially a make-over for something old – they were a table, a small box cupboard and an old jewelery box. She came over for a chat and we settled on the table. The decision on what to paint got taken as soon as she saw the Lotus Trunk I had in my place. She wanted something similar but with a blue background. And she wanted the entire surface painted – including the legs.
Well here it is :-)

Though for some reason the blues did not photograph well – they are a lot richer and intense on the actual piece.


ArtByAarohi_AnnaTable_3  ArtByAarohi_AnnaTable_4  ArtByAarohi_AnnaTable_2  ArtByAarohi_AnnaTable_5

I collect kettles. The kettle in the pictures was a gift from a dear friend. She carried it all the way from Abu Dhabi :-)


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Apr 15, 2014

Main mast dihkri na?

I got a call from Rutika a few weeks ago asking if I could custom paint a small box for her sister. Now with school exams, shifting schools, the new school schedule, various formalities, the coming holidays AND other pending commissions, I was not really sure if I could. Though truth be told I had not yet got a sense of the box from the mail she had sent with information on her sister.

We talked again and I told her to tell me more and then some more… After reading her last mail – I knew what I would paint. The box was already done in my head. After that it was just a matter of painting it for real. As always every little detail means something to the lady in question. Rutika plans to fill it with goodies and give to her sister as an advance gift on her upcoming wedding in May. Congratulations Aarti, I hope you like it. :-)


The top has a portrait of Aarti thinking about things that make her happy/smile. She is shown in a ornate story book mirror with her words as the tag line on the ribbon banner.

The front panel shows her love for Boggle with words that she uses in her every day speech. The globe signifies her love for travel and her desire to visit historical places around the world.


mast-dikhri-trunk-side4     mast-dikhri-trunk-side3

The back panel shows her love of deserts and her need to eat every two hours, where the food must be brought to her room. The thought bubble tells you of what else is one of her favorite deserts as well as her oft spoken sentence.

One side depicts her love for dance and the group dance competition she won in school for the song Ishq Tera Tadpave. The other side is a reference to her favorite book series as a child – Enid Blyton and ‘The Faraway Tree‘ …

mast-dikhri-trunk-side2     mast-dikhri-trunk-side1



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Apr 10, 2014

Sadhu #5

This man does not exist. He is purely a figment of my imagination…

I have spent the last year painting large faces in saturated colour partly inspired by Theyyam and Kathakali.
It was time to get back to painting some semblance of flesh tones. I hoped to breathe life into an image that had been resting restlessly in my head for a while. It was something that I just wanted to feel my way around in order to experiment and expand my own boundaries/horizons and skill as an artist. I went in with no pre-set notions and knew that things will change as I go along.

I have many people wanting to see me paint. I literally get hundreds of emails from people who want to intern or learn from me. “Do you teach?”  This ‘man’ started as a painting demo on my Facebook page where I decided to put this album up and share the progress. As most of you know I am a self taught artist as I did not go to an art school. My learning has come from books/ videos and by just observing people work. I am hoping that those interested will be able to find this helpful in some way.

This canvas is roughly 5′ x 3.5′ and is done in acrylics.
You can see the first few images of this movie as stand alone pictures on the Facebook album here.

This is what became of him …

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Apr 10, 2014

The Sunday Standard Magazine – Mar 2014

This article was published a while back in March 2014 in ‘The Sunday Standard Magazine‘ but between school exams and year ending madness, I forgot to post it. Actually, I never got around to reading it. Now with school holidays, I have some time to breathe…
Thank you Pallavi Rebbapragada for the wonderful write up. I am certainly in very august and accomplished company when my work makes it to the cover story on product designers with these designers!

What a way to start the day :-)

SundayStandard-Mar2014_1   SundayStandard-Mar2014_2

To read more, please click the images.

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Mar 28, 2014

On Yahoo – Beautiful Homes – Mar 2014

You finally get to see a glimpse of the eyes/men I have been painting. I am excited!!

My home has been in magazines before though this was the first of its kind. On the 19th of Feb I had a video production team of nine in my house from 9.30 am to 6pm!!  They were over to shoot a video of my home as it looks today in it’s ‘white’ avataar. You can see the ‘all colour’ version here, here and here.

This video is part of a series on the Yahoo portals ‘Beautiful Homes’ section. This is also the first time that you get to see some of the large canvases I have been working on. My favorite right now is the man on the studio wall right behind me in this video. Don’t forget to look. Oh! and that guy does not exist. He is purely a figment of my imagination with no photo reference whatsoever. So now you know why I am the happiest in my studio :-)

Thank you Yahoo, Asian Paints and Foxy Moron – great job. I was amazed to see courtesy and professionalism wrapped up in a fun and joyful atmosphere. It took me all of five minutes to get my house back in order after the crew left- including my kitchen AFTER ten people had eaten lunch in there.
Thank you for a wonderful shoot. One of the most professional crews I have worked with.

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Feb 11, 2014

Update – The Goa Project 2014

My flight landed at the Goa Airport to sweltering heat. I was a little nervous, not really sure of what the next three days were going to be about. And then I saw a military jet do a near vertical take off and I was home. It brought back memories of living in airbases growing up. There is a calm in nostalgia and memory. Comfort. Having shifted as many houses and schools as I have growing up, this was going to be par for the course and I decided I was going to enjoy it. Decision made, I went in with no expectations and came away with so much inspiration.

AarohiSingh-ArtByAarohi1  AarohiSingh-ArtByAarohi2

(That is me speaking on The Poonchh Collection – A for-profit approach to guilt free fundraising. As you can see it was a very comfortable and laid back kind of talk!)

My takeaways from #tgp2014 were meeting people who extended themselves for no other purpose then to connect. I have always said that my work is about connections. And in Goa I connected with diverse people from multiple backgrounds. I met some who awed me, some surprised me and some felt like I had known them forever. I had this feeling of having met most of these people at some time or some place. Everyone was kind of familiar.

Arjun Vajpai, the youngest man to climb Mt. Everest at 16 (Yes, man.) showed me where I could do better with parenting my son and daughter. To see so much self worth, self respect, will power and determination in one so young is rare. To see it on a very balanced set of shoulders – near unbelievable.

Kalyan Verma, a wildlife photographer, showed me the virtue in patience and always keeping my eyes open and my mind still. Why nothing is bigger than me and ultimately everything is way larger than I could ever know. I am but a very small part.

Pawan Kumar of Lucia fame – the first entirely crowd funded Kannada movie – showed me that if you want it bad enough there is always a way. You just have to be willing to put yourself out there. He takes believe in your dream to a whole new level.

Kranti with their brood of young ladies showed me humility but also joy and playfulness. For the first time I understand what rising from the ashes means. I made a vow that day and god willing I will fulfill it this coming year.

Indicus reaffirmed my faith in music. It really does bring people together. I felt like painting as they played…To see a set of people jam together with passion is a truly magical thing. Karan Sajnani with his didgeridoo, Sirish on the clarinet, Karan Chitra Deshmukh on the tabla and Anuraag with his vocals – mind blowing.

Every presenter in the design track gave me hope for me as an artist – for where I am and where I can go. Ayas Basrai from Busride and Gresham showed me yet again how a little bit can go a long way with both The Bandra Project and The gypsy Kitschen. Kaushik Narayan Ramanathan connects one back to what is important – sustainability – recycle, reuse and rethink. Shyam Narayan of Dig Design Studio pointed out the contradictory nature of forces/ talents/ skills that make a good designer and why they are indeed needed. Meenakshi Thirukode of the Project For Empty Space initiative that brings art into abandoned and unusual urban spaces with a focus on community building and art education. And of course Vidhya Mohankumar of Urban Design Collective and Mahesh Radhakrishnan of MOAD- The Madras Office for Architects & Designers for bringing us all together.

AarohiSingh-ArtByAarohi3  AarohiSingh-ArtByAarohi4(That is Mahesh Radhakrishnan and Vidhya Mohankumar in the first picture and Meenakshi Thirukode in the second one wearing the black shirt.)

A big thank you to all the organizers, volunteers, participants and speakers for making this such a great joy. I have to say here that I loved the general vibe of the place and people. Very IMPORTANT- I FELT SAFE. It is indeed a miracle that in spite of drinking and music and all that – ‘dance like no one is watching’ was actually a possibility and I did. This was the best money and time I have spent in a long while :-)

I can’t write about 300 people here but I can tell you – if you get the chance- GO. Go to The Goa Project. As a speaker, a participant or a volunteer.

It will change your life. It changed mine.


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Feb 3, 2014

The Goa Project 2014

I am off to Goa for a few days to participate in The Goa Project.

TGP Facebook Cover2

‘The Goa Project is an ‘unconference’ of sorts, a melting pot that harnesses the collective creativity of people from different walks of life. Game changers from tech, music, science, philosophy, arts, humanities and other backgrounds come together to exchange ideas, expand their horizons, and make friends for life. There are six tracks spread over two days – Entrepreneurship, Society, Performing Arts & Music, Film, Visual Arts & Design and Fringe. This is the second edition of TGP after a successful first edition last year in March.’
The Goa Project 2014 : Feb 7-8th, 2014

I am one of seven speakers under the Visual Arts & Design track and I will be speaking on a topic very close to my heart -
A for-profit approach to guilt free fundraising – The Poonchh Collection.

You can read about the other speakers in the Visual Arts & Design track here. I am certainly in august company. With over a 100 speakers across diverse subjects and over 400 people attending the event, it promises to be a cracker of an event. Excited :-)

I leave you with a few lines on what design stands for in the words of the curator of the Visual Arts & Design track – Vidhya Mohankumar
Design is all around us yet it’s hard to pin it down with a single definition. It makes ideas tangible, it takes abstract thoughts and inspirations and makes something useful out of it. Design is what drew you to that product, graphic, service, process, building or city. It’s also what made you buy that thing you probably couldn’t afford in the first place. That’s why its hard to unravel the mysterious force that design is. And then again, a lot of design is invisible too!
The Design track is where we’re going to concur on why design is a little bit of art, science, storytelling, advocacy, values and attitude. It’s also where we’ll be discussing why all that matters is design.”

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