Category Archives: Event

The Beach House Project – March 2017

What do you get when you put 14 creative entrepreneurs under one roof for seven days, sharing space and doubling up in one bed room? –  As the next few posts roll out you are going to find out!


I don’t go out a lot. I am a home body by nature and it takes an effort for me to get out.  It was not always like that but it has become so. When my friend Vanshaj Kapur of The Bold Creative, shared the application form with me for this years week long residency for The Beach House, I was filled with trepidation and lacked inertia to really get into it. Besides my life is a carefully choreographed dance at best or utter chaos at worst with so many moving parts.

But somethings are meant to be. And so it was…

The idea was to get us all under one roof and get us to think and engage. Engage with each other and with ourselves. Honestly and openly. We all introduced ourselves and shared our challenges. We shared our perspectives and the hacks that have allowed us to get to the level we are in our individual lives. We received unbiased opinions and helpful tips to circumvent the road blocks that we face in extending our businesses to the next logical step.

The pièce de résistance of the entire experience was the opportunity to meet and interactive with Sudarshan Shetty (the curator for 2016) and the team at the Kochi Muziris Biennale. The idea was to put our heads together and come up with options and solutions to the myriad challenges that the Biennale faces. To brain storm on matters of engagement, interaction, extension of audience, possible funding avenues.

I arrived in Kochi at about 10 am to sweltering heat and a strange calm. I left Bangalore with zero expectations for the week to come. At the very least I thought it would be a good holiday. Was I wrong! As the week unfolded I made a set of friends for life, learnt hacks to better navigate life and business and took home new approaches to face my challenges. Seems to good to be true, na? But it is true. True to the last bowl of creme I polished off! I met a fellow follower- Chellu Chandran, of the Ketogenic diet and re-learnt a few principals of how to treat my body. That is where the bowl full of creme comes in! But that story is for another time.

Let me introduce you to my fellow inmates in an ‘insane asylum’ of the very best kind. Besides with the amount of cream I was eating the guys at the hotel definitely thoughts I was nuts 🙂 The asylum in question was the Neemrana hotels property  – a 17th century light house in Fort Kochi facing the Chinese fishing nets now converted into a beach front villa hotel. They had a few other guests but those guests knew to stay out of our way and the hotel staff was un-believeablely co-operative and over extended themselves where ever they could.

The entire experience was crafted by Jay Ahya and his team at the Beach House Project. The residents included – Jay’s team of helpers –  Kritika, Tanya and Charan. And our team of participants included Vrinda, Nitisha, Savera, Cheelu, Vallery, Vanshaj, Rishi, Manas, Ashish, Amit, Ishaan and Rohan. Subba and Shreyans joined us for a day each. 

The connection with everyone was so strong that I can quite truthfully say that these were all effortless friendships. I have always said that I am the sum of all the people who come into my life. It really is about connections and communication. I had both by the bucket load. And I hope to have collaborative experiences with at least some of my fellow inmates. I want to take the time to introduce each of my new friends to you all one by one in a series of posts to follow. For one paragraph alone would not do them justice.

Please take the time to follow the links in this post and learn about The Beach House Project and it’s sister concern The Road Trip Experience. Should you get a chance to go for either, just GO! They will enrich your life.

Website : bhx.theex.co
Instagram : instagram.com/bhxproject
Facebook : fb.com/bhxproject
Contact : hello@theex.co

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Give Away Alert! – With ‘Barley and Grapes’ and Chateau Auzias

I am thrilled to start this new year with a give away.  And it’s not just one but SIX !! Yes, there are six slings to be won from the signature ArtByAarohi Collection.

The rules are very simple. If you are in Phoenix Market City in namma bengaluru (Bangalore), head on over to ‘Barley and Grapes Cafe’ and order a bottle of Chateau Auzias wine. That purchase gives you the chance to fill in a lucky draw coupon and at the end of every week – there is one sling to be won. That is it. You get to have your wine and keep it too!

And the give away happens in my favourite watering hole – “Barley and Grapes Cafe” which just turned three with my best friend Meghana Vakada.  My voice of reason in all things that require err.. reason!

 

      

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Polka Cafe – Jan 2017

The Fusion Projects was launched last year and the very first one was with Glasshopper. At the exhibition for the launch of the new jewellery line, I had the pleasure of meeting Meghna who unbeknown to me is a writer for Polka Cafe. She came and bought some pieces and then a few weeks later I get a mail for a short interview. The rest is in the article 🙂

Thank you Meghna Kohli Vachher.
Please click the image to read. You can read the entire article here.

 

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Indian Express Indulge – Dec 2016

Learning new things. Pushing the envelope as it were is something I want to do a lot more of this new year. Without conscious thought last year got all muddled up in production and the ArtByAarohi label line. It took more out of me than I quite realized. So this new year I hope to paint a lot more and do a few more of The Fusion Projects.

Happy New Year people – Wishing you an abundance of everything your heart desires.

Last November I got to go to Goa for the The Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2016  and while displaying the tank I painted for Royal Enfield as part of a collaborative Fusion Project I found myself chatting with Jaideep Sen.
Thank you Jaideep Sen for the lovely write up in the 30 December 2016 issue of the Indulge magazine – Indian express.

Note- Please click on the images to read text.

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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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Diwali 2016 – Besan Laddoos!

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The only time in a year that I make sweets for a festival is Diwali.

Don’t get me wrong, I always have sweets, cakes and other (healthy) sinful stuff that I make for my home- I do have two growing kids who are ever hungry!

It started 17 years ago when I got married. I am the product of a mixed marriage and as such there were never any rituals or puja’s in my house growing up. While I don’t miss that I do miss the culture and tradition associated with festivities. Though we celebrate everyone in our own way. So once a year I go on a laddoo making spree. It started with one odd kg. Last year I topped it at 19kg’s!! This year is a little scaled back at about 15kg’s 🙂

I thought I would share the recipe with you all. I make really good melt-in-the-mouth laddoos even if I say so myself 🙂

Ingredients:
– 1 kg Besan or fine Chickpea flour

– 1 kg fine ground sugar

– 1 kg Ghee or clarified butter

Method:

The original recipe calls for roasting the besan and ghee together but I find it easier to dry roast the besan first. Remember to keep stirring till the besan gets a darker hue/tan and the kitchen is filled with a nutty fragrance. Stir and stir some more or bits of besan will burn. That much of tan you don’t need!

Next put it a large vessel to cool. At this stage it helps to sieve the besan so as to break any little lumps. They look unsightly later and these little pockets of besan that did not get to mix with any sugar or ghee… trust me not nice to taste when one gets these bits in a bite full of sumptuous sin.

Once cool then mix the ground sugar. Remember to wait till the besan is cool before adding the sugar as the sugar will leave water and that will be the end of your laddoo making experiment.

Then add warm/hot ghee and knead the mixture till smooth and evenly mixed. The temperature of the ghee will depend on how cool your mixture is at this point. That’s it. You are ready to start shaping the dough balls.

It also helps to roll the balls out 2-3 times as it’s easier to shape into balls as the dough cools. Else they will look like flat pedas.

In the traditional recipe you would have to wait till the ghee and besan mixture cools substantially before adding the sugar. Then knead away and shape into balls.

Oh! and the reason I am standing on a stool in the first picture is that after an hour and a half of constant stirring your arm will pain. The elevated height really helps.

It’s quite simple. And your family and friends will love you for it. My kids keep sneaking a few every time they pass the dining table 🙂

Happy Diwali!!

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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 Fusion Projects

Collaboration.

Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together to a common purpose to achieve business benefit. Collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose. – (this was the first result for the definition in Google)

There are some ideas that need to be worked on from multiple angles. A multi-pronged approach as it were. They need skill-sets that one may not necessarily have in house or have but they may not yet have reached the level of refinement needed to bring that idea to fruition.

I usually work alone. I have worked with others only in a very limited capacity. Though I have always felt the need to bounce ideas of someone else. Supreet Singh – my husband, friend and in many ways my partner in work has always been that. And my dearest friend Meghna Vakada has been the one to be brutally honest with feedback when I needed to see the light.  She has been at the receiving end of many ideas that needed talking thru to just refine the idea to a point where I could run with it.

But it was time to let others into my circle. To push boundaries. So collaboration with others was a natural step in the progression of my work. Both for the work itself and for my own individual growth as an artist.

I am happy to say that this year I finally decided to take the plunge and collaborate with others in a more serious way.  Collaboration allows for ideas to reach that one step higher that would have been difficult on my own. I have always wanted to mix materials and genres but have often realized that I may not have a level of refinement yet in every area of skill and knowledge that is needed. Working with others allows accessing of ideas/thoughts/skill and knowledge across metaphorical borders. What would a graphic designer and a weaver create. Or an architect and artist/sculptor. A wielder and a silk screen artist. Maybe even a writer or lyricist with thread work… these are areas of art and collaboration that excite me and make me want to explore.

Yes, Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to realize mutual goals. But it is more similar to, but more closely aligned than, cooperation, and both are an opposite of competition. Collaboration for me works because the parties involved respect each other and their work. Their goal is to put their best forward. It is a desire to get the best outcome of ones craft.

The first in the series of my endeavor will be out soon. Wait for it.

But till then..

The Fusion projects is an initiative for collaborative experiences with others across genres and mediums. If you think there is anything you and I could work on which would benefit from both our combined experiences/skill sets/ vision than write to me at aarohi@artbyaarohi.com

As has long been said ‘no one is an island’.

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