Vrikshadootam – a message from trees by Abhishek Singh

by Tushar Mishra
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Born in Gwalior, artist Abhishek Singh is a unique storyteller and magician on the canvas. His stories and artworks explore the mythological stories of India. In a candid chat, he shares about his recent project Vrikshadootam, his journey as an artist and a storyteller.
Coming from the land of Tansen, is it natural in Gwalior to be a born artist?
I was born in Gwalior but I have lived at various places in India. I had a desire to travel all over India and to know about our country’s art-culture. So, it’s a mixture of all these places that have enhanced my experience of art.
How did you become interested in street art?
It happened very organically. In my childhood days, I saw grandmothers who drew on the wall. It never occurred to me that it was something I will pursue as a profession at that moment. It was just seamless and became part of my life. It was much later I began to realize that I could pursue it as a career.

Tell us more about your drawing technique?
I try to make my process very fluid. Art is a slow process compared to other creative fields. So, when I paint live with a basic brush and waterproof black ink, I dive into the canvas with whatever I have in my mind. I try to make it engaging for the audience by having conversations in between. I narrate stories about the concept I am painting and it just becomes effortless for me.
Where did you learn the grammar of your art?
I went to National Institute of Design where I learned animation and film design. During my school days, I spent my summer vacations working for some comic book companies. I learnt discipline from sports and I think as an artist my process is much more like a sportsman.
You have your own style. You are a graphic designer, painter and a natural storyteller. How do manage do bring out balance in all these three characteristics of yours?
(laughs) I think it should be intrinsic. In the beginning you are driven by your curiosity but to keep that fire burning in you, one should be disciplined. In life there will be moments where you have to face a lot of obscurity and confusing circumstances. These circumstances become your teachings of life. One should make attempt to learn from everything. I try to link everyday life with mythology and cultural fabric of this country. So, I feel very grateful when people connect to my paintings and stories.
In your opinion is there something like creativity in terms of art or it’s just a small imitation of creation?
I define creativity as to connect your inner and outer world. It’s about alignment of two dimensions. You need to find a bridge to connect these two worlds. First stage of creating something always happens in your head. Let’s say if you are sad today and you are looking at the clouds maybe the colour of the clouds would match the sadness you are feeling inside. However, it is not about good or bad it’s about truth.

Do you think Vrikshadootam as an artwork tool will have an impact on the ecological issues?
I think it will help in generating awareness. I have been thinking about Vrikshadootam for a while. I was in a constant struggle before making it and kept asking questions to myself of what all I know about trees. I have loved planting trees even flowers for that matter. I don’t like when people decorate their weddings with plucked flowers. So, I am trying to act as a medium and convey the message of the trees. I have picked up this as subject to talk all over the world. I have tried to make sure that it does not get boring, so then there will be no impact. So, I have tried to make it an engaging process with content that involves the viewers in a better way.
Would you suggest any secrets of success for the budding artists?
There is so much scope now for the young talent all over the world. Artists before me did not have these opportunities which we have now. You have a lot of ways to market your art in the world. I would suggest become more disciplined and focused in life. Explore more about what interests you. Be responsible of all your actions. If you are good eventually you would find your way.
How do you deal with situations which do not happen according to your way?
I think these situations make life what it is. I usually tell myself in these situations that it’s done and I should move on. I don’t invest time in over thinking about it and see what I can do next. When I started my graphic novel- Krishna, I did not know that it would receive an overwhelming response and also I did not know that it would take me 4 years to complete it. Hence, I would say embrace those challenges and try your best.

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