In an almost post-modern interview Delhi based artist Veraat Singh shares his thoughts on art and artists in India.
Ashish: What is the story behind you becoming an artist?
Veraat Singh: I always liked making things. Used to sketch a lot. Pottered around with play dough. Carved the shit out of wood and chalk. I was always good with my hands. I liked how things interacted with each other. One of my favorite pass-times back then was dropping breadcrumbs near a ant hill and watch them try to coordinate between each other to get it into the hill. My interest in art was kinda the same way. A puzzle waiting to be solved, school notebooks started to look that way to me. I also liked making stories on them that was fun it also helped that school kinda sucked.
Ashish: What inspires you to put your energy into art?
Veraat Singh: I guess I want to see how far I can take it. Does the road go on or not I like that it has transient qualities.
Ashish: What materials do you use in your paintings?
Veraat Singh: I use acrylic, watercolor, inks, and clay. These are usually my main mediums.
Ashish: How have you evolved as an artist? (your journey so far)
Veraat Singh: That is a hard question to answer. Only I and the people who followed my work from back then are privy to that experience. It’s very hard to put into words but to put it generally I guess paint application is better; composition is also better now.
Ashish: Who is/are your favorite artist(s)? And why?
Veraat Singh: There are so many I guess I will go with some I find inspiring. There’s Monet for obvious reasons, Rothko whose paintings and I have a weird bond. I think I have a phobia of empty or void like situations and those paintings tend to draw out those emotions in me. Then there is HR Giger whose works are very dear to me. They always feel free of mortal constraints and also not at the same time. Then there’s Bleszinski. A conversation with a friend of mine describes his work aptly ( hell on a Tuesday, laughs) best to let that sit there and then there’s Yoshitaka Amano. All I can say is that the guy is compositional genius and I can study and get lost in his works for hours.
Ashish: As an artist what do you think needs to be done in order to reach out to more people?
Veraat Singh: I think it’s not the artists who have to reach out, it’s people who need to reach out more. Each day I see people let a part of their spirit slowly die because they believe that art is only important if a big price tag got attached to it. They also internalize that logic to themselves and that becomes their internal monologue. People need to remember what importance art had for them. The conversations, the interactions, the experiences, the emotional growth till people start seeing the value in those things. There’s not much any of us artist can do to reach out to them if they don’t want to be reached out to. I put up a thing today nobody wanted to talk to me about it. Am not saying there was something to talk about but still who know where it would have gone. People are in a bubble/shell and only they can break out of it.
Ashish: What differences do you find in the audience of India and abroad?
Veraat Singh: I feel generally more apathy toward this type of thing here also not paying for artwork is a bigger thing here
Ashish: Is art limited to some classes in India? if so, what are the reasons behind it?
Veraat Singh: Art itself is not limited to a class at all. A bunch of senior artists I met came from very humble beginnings but the reason that may look so is that, like I said, there is a lack of respect for it. So people won’t want their children pursuing it especially impoverished classes and they need it the most.
Indian media needs to step up their game and stop exploiting their art workforce because artist are being bamboozled. It would be good if artists formed a union. A friend of mine is trying to get something like that started Sumit Kumar from bakarmax still slow going though and high art is the same everywhere make a name and watch the cash roll in.