Aaditya Singh realised that art was his calling due to his mother who is an oil paint artist. Choosing to become an artist was never decided but he used to sketch whenever he got time whilst grade 8 to 10. He then quit sketching since he had to focus on his studies. Come April 2015, while he was preparing for his MBA entrance exams he started sketching once more. Drawing was a way to escape the numbers in quant! He used to study and attend classes in the morning/afternoon and used to sketch late at night. He focused on creating realism portraits as he had always been fascinated with human facial features. He adored the fact that even a small difference here and there could change the way one looks and not only that, but how different the same person would look depending on the way and angle the light fell on the face. Once he began sketching, he strived to become better at it by practising every day.
His approach was straightforward. He already had a Pinterest page where he kept a board with photographs of different individuals/models. Whenever he started sketching he picked up pictures from there and began drawing different facial features like eyes, nose, lips and hair. From there he started the process of getting all the facial features to look as realistic as possible. It was difficult in the beginning but constant practising evolved his skills. The challenge he faced, and still sometimes faces is that he just doesn’t like to sit at one place for long. Getting distracted quickly was a habit that has stayed with him even today. Apart from that whenever he sketched he kept either an anime, movie or a random documentary on YouTube playing, plus either games or any social media page on his phone. As a result, any sketch that should take one hour took three. This became a serious challenge when he began accepting commissions and had deadlines and even today he is working to fix this.
According to him, art, be it visual, audio or appealing to any other sense, must create some meaning to the one experiencing it. That’s how one generates value out of any experience, right? And what works for one may not necessarily work for all. He has never been able to understand abstract art. Never did, still doesn’t. But there are people willing to pay millions for it (art by Jackson Pollock for example). So visual art to him is anything that makes complete sense to the one experiencing it, as a viewer, and can connect to it. Everyone pays for any art that they see or experience either through monetary means or time. If the visual art creates value for a person, then it is an experience worth that expenditure.
To explain his style to someone who has never seen his work, Singh tries to create something on a piece of blank paper, by either using pencils or colours, what the human eyes see. Though he mostly tries creating realistic human portraits, he is known to dab the brush in the paint to bring the night sky on a canvas from time to time.
He started sketching seriously in 2015. It was meant to be something that would help him calm down and distract his mind from all the math he had to study every day. He started taking it as something more than a hobby or something that he did just for himself which was the case when he began getting requests to make portraits of people from Facebook. The most amazing part, he had not even met those people! That was when he understood that art can be something more than just a hobby.
Aaditya does not have any Art-related study background. It was sheer practice every single day that helped him improve. He experimented using different techniques (studied the portraits created by other artists on Instagram) and tried to integrate what he learnt from observing them into his sketches.
According to him, his will to keep improving by the passing day is his greatest strength. He believes that It takes a lot of patience. He says that when one makes sketches, not every single one of them turns out the way one wanted, especially when they are working with watercolours. He has torn and thrown away more pieces than he can remember, but still those pieces only helped him understand what he could have done better and made sure that he didn’t repeat the same mistakes again.
Being a volunteer at Ahimsa which is an NGO for stray animals in Mumbai, he showcases his love for animals and wildlife. Apart from that, he loves to cook food and likes experimenting in the kitchen just like with his art. His love for music can never be lessened as it is something that helps him sleep better at night. He even writes lyrics, poems and loves to take a dip in a pool or simply swim. He feels that he is only one dive away from becoming a certified scuba diver! A few things that keep him busy when he is not drawing.
He feels the need to have his own space when he is working. One of the reasons why he sketches post-midnight is because he doesn’t like to sleep much so these are the hours he utilises to create some realistic drawings. He studies the photographs that he is about to draw before he even touches any tools. The first step is to understand which features require focus, what parts will take and which areas he is most likely to mess up. Once he is done with that he picks up his tools and starts drawing. The tools he uses are graphite, pencil (Mars Lumograph series), black and white ink (Copic), watercolours (Camel Artists’ watercolours), watercolour pencil (Luna Aquarelle) and sheets of paper (either 200, 250 or 300 gsm).
According to him creating art is not that difficult or complex. Art comes in all shapes, sizes and colours and everyone can do something or the other. All one needs to do is make some time for it. He feels that while everyone is trying to chase the orthodox careers, kids are made to believe from a young age that they must pursue to be successful and most of them give up on their passions (which 99% of the time is some form of art). He says that one doesn’t necessarily have to spend multiple hours in a day dedicated to creating the chosen form of art, just sometimes every day can help one discover where true talent lies. He also stresses the fact that learning is something that one must never stop.
Words by Laveena Behl
Images by ©Aaditya Singh
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