Conversations with Aditiya Singh’s Canvas’by Vinta Nanda October 7 2019, 10:37 am Estimated Reading Time: 7 mins, 36 secs
“I don’t paint music, I paint noise, I don’t paint for aesthetic appeal, I paint to reveal my reality”, said Aditiya to me when I asked him to tell me about his art and its connection with him. At this young age the intensity of his art is visible and you cannot help but interpret it when you come across it. So I won’t waste any time further to take you straight to the questions I asked Aditiya Singh and the answers that he gave me.
Here’s an artist taking birth and you don’t want to miss knowing him.
Question: Where did this journey start for you? At which point of your life and what is it that triggered it?
Answer: My journey stumbled upon me as if directed by destiny. Five days before my eighteenth birthday, as a child pursuing education in school, I felt very lost. I couldn’t find direction or meaning in life and felt as though every day had been crafted by someone else for me to live in and that is something I just couldn’t accept. One day, while studying, I was scribbling on a sheet of paper out of frustration. My friend liked the lines I had made and then hence asked me to go buy some charcoal. I went the very same evening to buy charcoal and started to sketch. I was intrigued by portraits at the start but every time I attempted one, I would end up creating new forms and figures instead. Then came a day when my father came home from work and saw a sketch lying on the coffee table. He started asking me in awe, ‘Where did you buy this from?’, surprised to know that it was made by me (since I had no background in art), he handed me some money and asked me to go buy supplies from an art shop. And that is how my journey as an artist begun.
Question: Tell me about yourself: Your life, your aspirations, your ideas?
Answer: My life has had many defining lows and highs that have accumulated a multitude of emotions within me, that I am able to express through my art. Honesty, I had so much to express but could never use words to do the same, luckily, I found colours and then hence found my language. I don’t have any definitive aspirations yet, just a hope that the World is able to have a conversation with my paintings. I don’t paint music, I paint noise, I don’t paint for aesthetic appeal, I paint to reveal my reality.
Question: What makes you anxious? What disturbs you? I've noticed that in some of your work there is chaos, beautifully expressed of course and I would imagine it comes from within you?
Answer: Yes, it is true that the chaos comes from within me. My paintings are pages of my private diary. I paint every night before going to bed, just like one would document a journal before going to sleep. But on a lighter note, even the smallest droplet of paint misplaced or the slightest deviation from my vision of the placement of a stroke, keeps me disturbed for days.
Question: You've dwelled a lot on human form... on male and female bodies. You've explored it in colours that make your expression of the human form contemporary and at the same time pensive and persuasive.. Please share your thoughts about it..
Answer: I am very instinctive with my work, and whatever comes through comes through. I don’t know about my work being contemporary, pensive or persuasive, but my joy comes in the multiple interpretations and emotions born in my viewers’ minds, when they see my work. Hence, whether I confine myself to a limiting adjective or not, is not relevant to me, to receive these from your end as a viewer is an example of my agenda. The colors used are usually indicative of emotions felt in the moment or story created, with a touch of artistic sensibility. But I like to be as free form and raw as possible with my work so as to allow the viewer to interpret his or her own version.
Question: I'm particularly attracted to your work above. They seem to have meta-narratives. Please share your thoughts about some of your works and how they developed with you?
Answer: I start sprinkling ink on paper from a distance and see dots merge into one another. And slowly they start looking like deformed people to me. All I had to do in one of my paintings was to place some toes and hands to the visual to align it with my idea. The meta narrative to it as it turned out could essentially be that we are all deformed and broken and dysfunctional in our own ways but that is the essential string that binds humanity and that we are more similar than we realize. Another is a self-portrait of my mind. The Old bending weary body has an enthusiastic young face attached to him, walking towards wisdom depicted through the young flowers and an old walking stick.
When I paint, I paint as a nine-year-old boy, and when I take steps back to look at my canvas and what it has become from a distance, I study it as a 90-year-old man. I juggle between youth and maturity in the same moment and the painting resonates the same. A third is a depiction of a couple in love, merging into one. The orange line became the energy and sound of love created in their synergy.
Question: Some of your paintings are breathtaking, some edgy. Your charcoals are crazy and beyond fantastic. Are you exploring life and death in them? If not, then what is it?
Answer: Thank you so much for the compliments. I am exploring life and death but not in that manner. What I am truly reflecting is all that is dead in life, not life and death as pivotal examples of the start and the end. Let me give you an example. How I am express my thoughts on my paintings. I used to teach underprivileged children and one of my paintings is from a theme picked up as part of my experience there. The character displayed in the painting, is that of a notorious boy, who I saw a lot of light, life and creativity in. Due to his behavior during these classes, he almost always was punished and hence I had often seen him simply leaning against a wall, doing his thing. The other children I expressed on top of the same painting are essentially the students ‘of higher hierarchy’ (self-attributed of course) within the same class, who never missed a chance on teasing this boy, constantly pulling his leg, telling him that he would grow up to be a sweeper. The environmen that got created as a consequence of his decisions, grew harsh on him and I saw him lose his light over time. I then placed a pedestal as the central focus of the painting, stating ‘remember your dreams’, signed by -as if- a teacher, the ‘assignment’ having received scholastic validation in the form of big red ticks and a smiley. Hence here, in a way, the story developed as what I believe is the death of a life that could have been.
Question: What's your thing: Acrylic, Charcoal, Ink or sketch? - In order of preference and why for each please…
Answer: I don’t really have a preference with respect to media. I like to experiment as much as I can and generally use whatever is around me in the moment of my creation. At times I close my eyes while I dip my brushes in paint to let chance choose the colors.
Question: Lastly - who are you?
Answer: To be honest, I really wish I knew! But on a more serious note, I’m just trying to find my footing. I don’t believe that I know who I am yet. I am also trying to avoid defining myself because I believe it will seize my growth. I have embarked upon the journey of the unknown and am just taking life in, one step at a time. Although I can tell you something about what I believe might define me. My art and life are both based on my mistakes. My mistakes, when corrected, shape me into a truer version of myself each time. I speak to and fro with my strokes and have at times smooth and at times chaotic conversation with my canvas. Sometimes I tell it what to be, sometimes it tells me what to see. Do I wish to know who I am? Not today, maybe someday. But for now, I am what I paint and that’s all I know.