Category Archives: Acrylics

The Fusion Projects – With Royal Enfield

The next in the series of The Fusion Projects is with motorcycle company – Royal Enfield. Although the project came to me many months ago I started work on it only in August end. But as they say everything happens for a reason. By the time the tank was finished it was time for The Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2016 – an annual community driven event in Goa each November. And I had the joy of taking the tank to Goa. To see first hand reactions of bikers across India to my vision of a hand painted tank has been gratifying to say the least. I got to be a fly on the wall and just watch people react to the tank artwork.

The endeavour has been not just to paint a motorcycle tank but to view the entire exercise in a new way. The tank needed to look different from anything out there and still have my stamp on it. I was not looking to make just  decorative artwork that would sit in someone’s office or a showroom. I want to see how this painted tank fares on an actual motorcycle. How the paint will react to sun, moisture, dew. Will the paintwork stand up to general wear and tear and fuel spills.

Therein lies the purpose of this joint exercise. I learn. Learn about material and it’s usage. I get to try and think out of the box from established norms of what constitutes successful artwork for bikes. The next step is to go to the Enfield factory and see how the paint is applied. To try an incorporate my artistic style while using industry standards. As a start I decided to paint with a brush and not an airbrush. Used Acrylics. And used a theme- Theyyam – which is not seen on bikes but has been central to my work for a few years now.

As a theme, Theyyam lends itself well to artistic interpretations. By it’s very nature, it brings forth goodwill to those in its presence and promises to ward off evil. What better way to kick start a new series. My friend Sachin Chavan – the Head, Rides and Communities, Royal Enfield – who was instrumental in getting me on board for this project has been a friend for almost 20 years. He rides (obviously!!) and my parting shot to him has always been to ‘Ride Safe‘. It has been similar to my father and brother who are both retired fighter pilots from the Indian Air Force. For them it was and is – ‘Fly safe, Blue skies and Happy Landings‘!

I hope the good will always carries through…

Theyyam is an artistic dance form where metaphysical thoughts and expressions of immortal souls are impersonated by a believer through a mortal body. Theyyam originated from “Kaliyattam” once practiced by the tribal community of north Kerala. Theyyam has grown to the present form through many transformations since it’s origin. Landlords and chieftains of those days are the main forces behind many of such transformations. The community and its body began to use this art to propagate the major theme of social enforcement. The artists are also encouraged by the authorities to introduce new themes into its traditional layers and classified different acts and expressions to match specific needs for their desire. The character representations were very broad. They range from mild to wild in representations.
Theyyam is a sect in which old heroes are sanctified and worshiped as the guardians of villages and homes. Yet, it includes a complex universe centered on the belief that a man can—after suitable mental, physical and spiritual preliminaries—don the costume of a particular deity and then become that deity. In this elevated state he assumes superhuman and divine powers—speaking, moving, blessing and even healing as a god or goddess. What is crucial is that the person is not possessed by the spirit of the deity. It’s important to understand that Theyyam has a larger purpose that goes beyond the territories of performance – to all those in attendance, it assures assistance and security during times of crisis, promising to resolve all their conflicts.

You can read about Theyyam here- http://theyyamat.blogspot.in/

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More Jhola Bags – Dec 2016

Your response to the Jhola bags has been so heart warming. To have every piece sold out in a matter of hours or at best a couple of days makes all the hard work I put in so worth while! You can see the styled images for the last two collections here and here.

A few of you requested that I make some for Diwali.  Diwali deadline was a little tough to catch but I have been working away at my sewing machine, burning the midnight oil as it were. I shifted the goalpost and we are ready in time for Christmas 🙂

Please note – There are 18 new Jhola bags up for grabs on the shop. And as always each is one-of-a-kind! There are no two alike.
After this lot I really do need a break from sewing so I can get back to painting full time for a bit. The next lot of jhola bags after this will only be out next year – in 2017.

Happy shopping!

Happy shopping!

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Fempowerment Women Achievers Award 2016

I won! And the best part – I had no clue that I was even in the running!

Some one from YourStory wrote to tell me that they had nominated my name for an award and that someone from the awards organization would get in touch with me. I thanked the said person and promptly forgot all about it.  Imagine my surprise – I learned that I had won the award in the category of Fine Arts – Painting and sculpture 🙂
Thank you YourStory!!

Sadly due to unforeseen scheduling problems and prior commitments I was unable to make it to Mumbai for the Award show on the 17th of July 2016. Swanky affair it was from what I understand. I looked up the past recipients for 2014-15 and 2013-14 of the awards and this year’s winners in the 16 categories – I am in exalted company and I love it.

It would not have been right to post about it without actually having the physical award in my hands. I just got my hands on the trophy a few days ago. So now I am sharing it with all of you.

    

It’s been a joy to receive the Fempowerment Women Achievers award 2016 for Fine Arts. Recognition of any kind for work one loves is always wonderful. The jury was daunting to say the least and the illustrious lot of achievers before me is both empowering and humbling. Thank you so much for giving me yet another push in following my dreams.

You can read about the award here

And this is an excerpt from their letter to me –

“…proud to inform you that you have been selected as the Fempowerment Winner in the category of Painting and Sculpting Artist, your selection has been done unanimously at our Jury Meet on 7th July’16 at St. Regis, MumbaiFempowerment Women Achievers Awards is an initiative of Molecule Communications where women achievers are honoured in their respective fields, the one and only Women Awards where the nomination process is open and anyone can nominate any woman along with one unique category.  Zee TV has associated with the awards for the cause of social betterment and soon the awards will be telecasted on Zee TV. The nominations have been received from the every corner of the country in all the 16 categories and a strict and unbiased on-site review has been done by the Screening & Main Jury. The event is happening on 17th of July, 2016 at Mumbai.

Mr. Subhash Ghai, noted Director, Mr. Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor in Chief – Business World, Mr. Adil Malia, Global Head For Leadership, Learning & People Management, Essar Group, Ms. Mrunalini Deshmukh, Senior Lawyer, Ms. Bhawana Somaaya, noted Journalist & Author & Mr. Ridham Desai, MD Morgan Stanley were the respectable Main Jury for the Fempowerment Women Achievers Awards 2016.”

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The Fusion Projects – With Glasshopper

The first in the series of The Fusion Projects is with stained glass studio – Glasshopper. It’s been 6+ months in the making but the thought actually has been brewing in my mind for almost four years.

Jewellery.

I have always wanted to see my work in the many possible ways it can be used – to take a concept across mediums and hopefully have it successful in all of them. I wanted to take my art and make it accessible to more people. To those who may not have space for a trunk or a kettle or even a large painting…

But the jewellery had to be different and yet be universally appealing. I could have worked with a regular silver/gold smith to make the pendants but then where is the fun in that? Enter Saarus Nirhali – my friend and a wonderful stained glass artist.

I had originally asked her to just encase my artwork into some pendants and I would buy those off her and then get down to my solitary work. Collaboration had been on my mind for sometime so it was serendipitous that she asked to collaborate. And things took of from there. I knew what the end pieces needed to look like. I just needed Saarus to see my vision. And she did.  Her reaction when she saw the first set of completed necklaces was something I can’t describe.  Her words -‘ I knew you would do something but this I had not expected! I did not know my work could look like this...’ 🙂
Saarus works with glass but on a much larger scale.  So to work on one square inch pieces meant she needed to rethink her entire approach to her own work! The challenge for her was to get a fineness in the edges and edge finish. She needed to see the potential. I have to say. Saarus was ready for the challenge. The pieces are truly wonderful even if I say so myself.

At ArtByAarohi I have always tried to push the envelope a little, to blend material and media. To add an element of up-cycling or recycling.  An element of surprise. This collection too has a little bit of that.

Gold and silver have an innate value irrespective of how good or bad a design maybe. These needed to be good designs! Since neither gold nor silver is being used. The design and finesse had to be something that worked for everyone. Or at least everyone with a certain sensibility. It has been months in the studio, doing, re-doing and refining pieces.  There have been instances where a finished necklace has been pulled apart and re-done because the loops on the pendant did not sit right. I am an extremely detail oriented person and would go back to the drawing board  when I wanted a piece to be a certain size or the loops a certain orientation. But I think we are now at a level of finish that I am happy with.  Our work will only get better from here.

The artwork in each piece is based on my original painting. The materials, their use and how the end piece would look has been my work. Saarus on the other hand has worked on encasing the artwork using true Tiffany style stained glass techniques.  Her studio has been busy working away at cutting/grinding and then soldering many tiny pieces of coloured glass to fit my vision. The  loops on each piece of glass has been a very time consuming and exacting process.

I have learnt so much through this collaboration. Not just about stained glass and it’s possibilities/limitations but about working with another individual. Patience was never my strong point but I have learnt it along the way. This collaboration has allowed so many wonderful iterations in the ideation process that I can truly say that alone this series of jewellery may not have packed the punch that it does.

Please do click here to read Saarus’s experience in the making of this collection.

To view this first collection do drop by at my Studio in Bangalore on the 27th and 28th of Aug 2016 at:

The ArtbyAarohi Studio
C-44 Diamond District Apartments,
Kodihalli, Old Airport Road,
Bangalore – 560008 KA

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The Jhola Bags Collection : July 2016

The first edition of the Jhola bags that came out last year in February was a sell out. I mean that literally. They all sold out in about 12 hours. Though in the interests of full disclosure, I must be honest and say there were only 12, but still 🙂 You can read about and see some of that collection.

This edition is different looking in terms of colour and the surface treatment but it still has the signature ArtByAarohi feel. Each bag has a print portion of original art which has been appliquéd and then the bag further worked on and embroidered by me.

There are 18 bags in this collection and each is one-of-a-kind and hand-crafted by me. It uses left over pieces of fabric from other tailoring and bag making projects and yes, just the like the last time – the inner lining between the actual outer and inner fabric is old curtains (washed and cleaned before use).

I do take the feedback you all give me quite seriously. So this time there is no faux leather. The straps/handles are made with woven cotton yarn and the tie ups on the side too are recycled yarn. The bag is a tad bit smaller though that in no way compromises the insane amount of volume that one can pack in!  And the interior pockets are bigger and deeper. It really is a joy to behold.

I leave you with a few images from the new collection and a link to the store.

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Raisin and Rage

I do commissioned portraits from time to time. It is something I enjoy and dread. It is a lot of pressure but the outcome is so worth it. To see joy, love, recognition and memories in a person’s eyes when they see the finished piece is priceless.

ArtbyAarohi_dogPortraits_raisin1

Raisin

ArtbyAarohi_dogPortraits_raine&raisin

Raine and Raisin

Ritu and Rahul lost their little one Raisin over a year ago and had asked me to do a portrait of her. So I did. And since I was on a roll of sorts. I did one of their daughter Raine holding Raisin as well. The second portrait was my gift to them. The thank you note they gave me had me in tears.

Sadly a few months ago they lost their second daughter Rage as well. Rage was Raisin’s mother. It was gut wrenching to paint this second portrait and I delayed it as long as I could. Somehow I hated that I was painting one more memory that would be just that… but now they have Rumour – a gigantic Great Dane and I intend to paint her while she is living flesh and blood! 🙂

ArtbyAarohi_dogPortraits_rage

Rage

ArtbyAarohi_dogPortraits_raisin2

Raisin

 

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Femina – November 2015

Thank you Akhila Vijay kumar for the DIY feature in the October-November 2015 issue of Femina magazine.

Femina-Magazine-Cover  Femina-Magazine-Article

It is a simple DIY inspired from  this post. Diwali is about festivities. Lights, mithai and of course card games. These set of bowls would do well to multi task as fruit/ sweet bowls as well as bowls to keep money and poker chips. These bowls have been made with newspaper layers stuck together. The motifs are all inspired by cards and the outside surface is a depiction of various card plays. Actually the bowls are cheat sheets!

ArtbyAarohi_Femina_TaashBowls

This DIY was done in record time – three days. And that long because each layer of paper had to dry. There are about 14 layers in these bowls. I added a lot more colour and graphic lines after these images were taken. Will post those too one of these days. I know I am late posting this but I was traveling during Diwali week and this sort of slipped between the cracks…

 

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ChammC with love

ChammC came into my life on a morning walk. Rakesh who is the founder of VoSD was walking his dogs one morning and I happened to meet him. He had a baby carrier of sorts slung around his torso and inside was ChammC. This absolute adorable bundle of joy. A Cocker Spaniel with eyes that would melt the hardest heart.

She was found in a dumpster by a good samaritan and handed over to Rakesh. When found she was in a terrible state with a gigantic hole near her bottom filled with maggots. Tiny and young, I think just 2-3 weeks old. No one thought she would make it. But Rakesh did. He hand reared her for the first three months and literally brought her back to life. And she became Helen and Rakesh’s little love. One amongst the many others that live with them but that is another story!

Sadly ChammC passed away while she was only about 7-8 months old. A routine operation to spay her resulted in complications which led to her passing away on the operating table.

12 July 2015 was one year to the day she left and since I could not get her back for them. I painted ChammC as a gift for both Helen and Rakesh. Three portraits from different grainy Facebook pictures that show her at various ages/stages in her young life.

As all high res images of ChammC were lost in an unfortunate computer crash. The Facebook images were the only ones to work from. I hope these ‘high res’ versions bring comfort to her parents…

chhamC_1

chhamC_2

chhamC_3

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The lines on my face

I read this in a book the other day and I can’t stop thinking about it. Literally. I love how the words string together and somehow the simile connects on a visceral level.

“.. life is a portrait. It’s a picture you paint everyday, every minute, every second, with the palette you were given at birth. It’s an expression of yourself, whether you want it to be or not. Make sure it’s a picture you are proud of..”

For a while there I found myself thinking about all those men and women who have somehow aged so gracefully that there seems to be a beacon shining from within. I just hit 40 so vanity demanded I look in the mirror and assess. Yes – I have wrinkles and ‘bad skin’. Crows feet and lines on my face. My hands have veins popping out and the skin is dry most of the time. Truthfully – I got worried there for a bit.

Ok – Deep breath. Inner calm.
I need to work with the palette and get control on my colours, school my expressions better and so on.

It did not work.

Deeper breath…

And then I got thinking again. This is me. My face. My body bears the marks of my journey through life. My palette has not always been of jeweled tones and candied hues. There have been harsh greys and some blacks too. But if you look closely enough there are more laugh lines than frown lines. The crows feet appear every time I smile. The bad skin tells me just how passionate I am – the hormones that still go crazy and pour out on my skin. The dry skin is a result of years of love with my paints, thinner and acetone. It is an outcome of the many times I forgot to put moisturizers and creme because the smell and feel of paint and thinner was too seductive to wash away. I wrote of me some years ago… you can read that here. You can also read more here.

I will still try and paint a portrait worth looking at. It is a work in progress. I have a few more years yet to finish it I hope. But I do believe the current version is an honest reflection of me.

Does your ‘portrait of life’ reflect you?

I thought I would leave you with a portrait of me I did some years ago as well as a link to an animation of one I attempted later…

Note- Not the best quality photograph. The painting is more vibrant though and me even more so in real life – I promise! (tongue firmly in cheek here)

Aarohi

Aarohi

 

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Lola

Divya Thomas and I have been friends on Face Book for a while now.  And I have greatly admired her work – Karmasuthra Jewellery. Her FB page is filled with beautiful jewellery and even more beautiful women. Each image begging to be painted with their luminous eyes. I always thought that I would be painting that set of eyes one day. But a mail from Divya changed that to one better 🙂

Divya wrote to me with pictures of little Lola and asked if I would paint her. The original source images were not the best quality and I was unsure if I could work with them. So I requested her to send me clearer high res images. Preferably where Lola’s eyes could be seen! Otherwise in almost all images her hair was covering them. Divya did one better. She actually sent me a new set of images shot in a make shift studio setting! This next portrait is a composite from about four images to get just this expression…

Lola. Acrylics on board. 16×16 inches.

 

lola-AbA

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