Art is a self-expression of ideas and imagination, a creative output in any form. It has diverse branches and is an ever-evolving process of identifying and defining newer forms and expressions. As I reflect on the formative years of my life, I realize that I have been influenced by one of the most classical branches of art – paintings, more than anything else.
To many, the word art conjures up images of curated shows, crowds mingling with artists, wine and nonpareil intellectual discussions. It may bring about a fear of the unknown and often of ignorance. I have always had a fascination for the visual art space – quasi-meditative experience of “looking” at paintings. It all started during my late teens and early twenties when most of the 52 Sundays of the year were spent in the art spaces of Mumbai. At that point of time, it was teenage curiosity of what paintings are – I had heard, seen and read about Van Gogh, Klimt, Monet, Picasso, Dali & Frida Kahlo. Van Gogh was my instant favourite and has always been. I was fascinated by his works – then, I stumbled upon an artist called Jamini Roy during an exhibition. I was stunned by his works – his use of colours and forms. I read up on the artist, and discovered the Indian progressive art history and the modern arts of India. I still visit the galleries of Mumbai and when I travel, I make it a point to visit local art museums and galleries to discover local artists and the art influences of the place.
I was always curious about how the artist created his/ her works – the state of mind, emotions, whenever I looked at a piece of art. As a viewer, art has helped me build multiple perspectives of a situation and develop a keen sense of observation. Art is not to be looked at for just what it is - it inculcates and naturally helps you develop critical and innovative thinking. It makes you question, think and have an open mind. It enlivens and emboldens you.
Understanding and appreciating art in any form today should be encouraged right from the very start, to open evolving, young minds to a new world where they can express their view, thoughts and articulate them in any form. Art is an evolving form and we should never stop learning. Although the importance of art education in school is very encouraging, it should also be nurtured and developed at home. It should be considered a powerful medium positioned to inspire, incite and instill creativity in us. As an inspirational experience, researchers have also found that active exposures and engagement with art increases creativity, confidence and happiness.
Most cities apart from art galleries also have curated art walks, which is open to people of all ages to see, understand, observe and question the art. I still go to most of them during the weekends.
Art has shaped my life in the way of my thinking, it has empowered me and still makes me curious to learn new things and open up to newer outlooks. When your personal beliefs and values are also reflected in a company that you work with, the synergy is undeniable. Faber-Castell has a vision which talks about creating experiences that inspire self-expression and has been a catalyst to art and creativity. Even Van Gogh, my favourite post-Impressionist quoted Faber-Castell pencils in a letter to his friend! My work involves the very same vision of creating experiences with our products which are instruments to develop one’s creativity through self-expression.
Marina Abramovic quotes, “Once Picasso was asked what his paintings meant. He said, ‘Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don’t, but you listen to them anyway. So sometimes with art, it is important just to look’.” So go ahead, spend some time on that bench pondering the art and the artist and open up to ‘openness’.