Category Archives: Video

Theyyam #4

I started painting large faces on canvas a few years ago. They were borne as a response to a painting of a Theyyam dancer I had done as a gift for Good Homes Magazine. See the link here.

While doing research for that first painting I found that it takes the dancer many hours before he is ready. The dancer almost goes into a trance by the end of the entire ‘dressing up’ phase which includes 8-10 hours of face painting after which he dons the elaborate costume. By the end he is said to channel the divine within himself.

I got thinking and wanted to paint the face of the dancer when it was still just a man with a painted face and not anyone channeling divinity yet.

Which in turn led me to start painting faces where we use marks as masks. It does not matter whether the entire face is painted or there are some caste/religious marking – horizontal or vertical across the face/forehead. I find even make up is a mask of sorts…

This series is an effort to show the man behind the mask with all the fallibility and irreverence of man.

Do have a look at the progression video of this final painting. You can see additional work on my Instagram feed and my Youtube channel

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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.

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 centred 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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Kathakali as Krishna

Many years ago I got a request from  a fellow blogger asking permission to use an image of my first Kathakali painting on his blog with due credit to be given of course. I said ‘yes’.

Cut to the beginning of this year – that same gentleman wrote to me. He requested a painting for his new home. He wanted a painting depicting a Kathakali dancer as Krishna. And the painting needed to be ready in time for the house warming ceremony.

I was touched and humbled. I was also a tad bit daunted by the very specific list of what the client wanted. He was very specific about the pose the dancer had to be in, his dress, his headgear with peacock feathers etc. The difficulty arose from the fact that the amount of wall space available versus the final proportion of the painting incorporating all that he desired would not match. So I had to crop out the headgear and the peacock feathers from the final image composition. But I did find a way to incorporate it in the final canvas 🙂

This painting was a pleasure to paint. And that it went to someone who obviously loves the finished work and has given it pride of place in his house… I could not be happier.

Do have a look at the progression videos of both the final painting and one of just the face developing. These two videos along with many others are also up on my Instagram feed.


I leave you with images of the finished painting as it rests in his beautiful home.

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Sadhu #7

I love painting faces. In the last few years I have painted portraits of my four legged friends as well as faces of the people that inhabit the dark recesses of my mind. Some are portraits of friends where I try and capture more than just a likeness to them physically and then others may have started with a photo reference but then the canvas quickly takes on a life of it’s own.

Over the next few posts I will share some work that has not yet been documented in the annals of this blog. Some will be videos and others just photographs. The right side on this blog has a categories drop down. Please do use it to access older work and videos.

I often get email asking if I can teach. I have not started that yet. Maybe someday. But until then I hope the albums on my Facebook page and the demo videos here on the blog and on my Youtube channel can help you. Do subscribe to the channel for updates on new videos. I am hoping that those interested will be able to find this helpful in some way.

This canvas is roughly 7′ x 2.5′ and is done in Acrylics on canvas.

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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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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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Colour me…

I can’t imagine my life without colour. I really can’t. So when I chanced upon this video it made me look at my life in a totally different perspective. I found myself with silent tears rolling down my cheeks. Profound. I find I am so grateful for life and all its abundance. For what is indeed a privilege to have for me -the joy and beauty of everyday, a colour filled life. I define my life in colour.

You’ll have to watch the video to see what I mean. But here’s the gist, so you don’t get blindsided.
As part of the #ColorForAll campaign, Valspar created a short film called ‘Color for the Colorblind‘. It is an Ad but oh! so gut wrencingly beautiful to me.

The video follows a handful of people who are colorblind. People who have never seen certain colours in their life. Ever.  They are given a pair of EnChroma glasses that allows them to see the colors that they’ve never experienced before. And their reactions are priceless.

🙂 got you too, didn’t it?

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The ArtByAarohi online shop is now open!!

This has been a long time coming. But as they say – Better late than never…

www.artbyaarohi.com/shop

(Note: Almost everything on this online store is one-of-a-kind or limited edition. We are offering free shipping within India on all products except some large furniture items)

I want to say thank you. Thank you so much for all the love and affection that you have shown me. I am also thrilled to say that on the night of 18-19 November 2014, my blog completes six years! What better time to start an e-store.

This e-store will showcase my work across styles, genres, even across time. I can’t promise that what you see here once, you will find again. That is because everything is either one-of-a-kind or limited edition. It is hand crafted with a lot of love and attention to detail.

This e-store/shop is a little bit like me – mercurial and moody. But of a generally happy nature. I hope to share my many moods and inspirations in the coming months and years. It will be a bit like coming home to my place – I can guarantee a warm hug and a cup of chai, but I can’t promise that the house will look the way it did the last time you were here. I tend to move things around 🙂

So expect the unexpected but with all my love, every time.

There will be the usual fair with a little unexpected twist thrown in from time to time. Oh! and just to make it more fun and get your creative juices flowing, I also added a new section on style boards. The many ways in which you can incorporate an ArtByAarohi/Poonchh product into your wardrobe or home.

I hope you enjoy your experience with me. Happy Shopping!!

 

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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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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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Video Demo- Gold/Brown Eyes

I get a truck load of mail on whether I take art classes/ teach art. Sadly, I don’t.

I think I lack the patience to teach painting. About eight years ago I did teach history for a year in an International School here in Bangalore – grades 6-9. It was one of the most fulfilling jobs I have ever had 🙂
That is a whole different story though. One I will share on another occasion. Maybe.

This one is about my most enduring passion – I have been wanting to do this kind of a video demonstration for a while now, but somehow just never got around to it. I hope to make this, one in a series of demonstration videos. That is if I get enough time…..

In this video the eyes are about 80% done. The rest will get finished once the entire canvas is closer to completion. That would be the correct time for me to judge the depth/ intensity of the ‘highlights‘ and the ‘darks‘. And the entire eye will look more ‘liquid‘ once the light source is fixed and reflected light is added.
This demonstration is done using Acrylics on canvas.

 

Would you all like me to?

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