sketchbook

One nice thing

It’s a milestone indeed when one of your friends says something nice about your work. Here’s Nityan, artist and erstwhile potter, who is an inspiration with his beautiful sketchbooks and his prolific expression.

“The only difference between your sketchbooks and mine are that you draw so much better…”


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travels

A weekend with Lekha

A couple of years ago I had a free weekend on a work trip and I flew up to Seattle to spend it with my friend Lekha. She had planned the most marvellous time for us.

First we had brunch at Pike Place Market and then we walked to the Olympic Sculpture Park. I saw most of the sculptures for the first time so you can imagine what an experience it was. Here’s the biggest Calder I have ever seen, the Eagle.

Here’s me in front of yet another inspiration from my past, Ellsworth Kelley. He had used weathering steel, knowing that a patina of rust would gather over time, and the piece would continue to change visibly over time.

My first Louise Bourgeois “Father and Son” was an experience to behold. Later I got more interested in her work and found she had a complex and troubled relationship with her own parent with a lot of dark metaphors running through her work.

“When you draw, you suddenly see what you’re afraid of.”

Louise Bourgeois

It was such an experience with Lekha – we were meeting after years and there was so much to catch up on. Amidst Richard Serra’s grand and majestic Wake we talked about our deepest feelings.

Later on, I read Frank Gehry talking about Serra:

“Serra went to the shipyard, saw the way the ships were being built, and became entranced with it. It became a power thing for him, to make powerful gutsy statements that fit his personality. “

The sculpture park was so beautiful and perfect it filled the art-shaped hole in my heart.

The next day we had a fabulous brunch at Toulouse Petit and saw some of Lekha’s favorite pieces of “hidden” art at SAM.

In the afternoon we lay on the grass in the park and watched the boats on the waterfront. On the flight back I quickly drew everything before I forgot – it was such a lovely holiday!


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Life, sketchbook

Let’s be enemies!

Over the past few years, we’ve moved cities, homes, neighborhoods quite frequently. Every new house needs a new social life, but before we’ve been able to settle down to do that, we’ve moved again. Here are some drawings from a couple of years ago when we had just moved to yet another new house.

[It’s been so long since I made any friends that I’ve forgotten what one does with them…until I read this book with Orin yesterday: Let’s be enemies by Maurice Sendak. Friends do things together – like playing and birthday cakes and making sand castles.]

[I wonder what activities a solitary person like me will do with a friend? Work? Draw? Eat. Talk. Cook. Watch a movie? I need to do more things. I need to make new friends.]

“She always believes the solution lies outside herself. Tsk.”

Anteater
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People, sketchbook

Men and women

I’m lucky that some of my best friends are empathetic, inclusive, generous and kind human beings. They usually take a lot of pains to show that they are not, by the way, but sometimes their views on women are so illuminating to me simply because of their gender.

“Women and babies: They take all the opportunities (given to them) and squeeze everything they can out of them.”


“Probably they don’t feel as entitled as men,” qualified the brown boy.

But they are always, always, more intellectual, says Pacificleo, having tried to become one himself just for dates during his social butterfly youth.

Ladies, do you agree? Do you squeeze everything you can out of opportunities? Maybe we do it sub-consciously, I never feel like I do anything with opportunities! But I am clearly intellectual, at least!

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Food

A new year

What better way to welcome the new year if not with food and drink. I’m sure the Anteater would agree. From the last 2 years I found that food has been such a recurring theme – If I’ve not Instagrammed it, I’ve probably drawn it.

Here’s a “rare” family Friday dinner. My in laws were visiting and we went to Amalfi in GK2.

Here’s the food I ate on a quick weekend trip to visit my family in Kolkata. I always think that love in Indian families is all about food. Most of us didn’t grow up with verbal articulations of love, and we demonstrate our love, especially in families, by cooking for and feeding our loved ones.

Most of the food below was made by my Ma and Chhotoma.

“Whoever eats fish curry with roti?”

Said my mother

I gained 2 kilos with all that love!

This is a drawing I made while eating by myself and reading a poem one day. I forgot what I was eating and I can’t even remember the poem, but I enjoyed it enough to draw about it!

What if I could gather all the people who taught me to love around my dinner table? We would drink coffee and eat pizza.

Antara would be chopping onions because she’s always doing something, and whenever I chop onions I think of her. Snehasis would be listening to his wife and observing the world to make fun of them later. Ananya would be under the table reading because she doesn’t always like to socialise. Lekha would be sitting quietly and smiling in happiness. Atul and Reshmy would be having some long and complicated conversation where they would both not be listening to the other. Viv would be drawing happily. I forgot to draw Orin but he is the one person who forced his way into my life and made me love him.

Dinner of love stories

Let’s hope 2019 is all this, and more.

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art, Books, Design, List, sketchbook

2017 in Books

I read a lot, and these days I also draw about the books I read. In 2017 though, my reading didn’t feature as much in my drawings. Here are 20 from 2017 in no particular order and the drawings.

SATURDAY A day spent reading about art, design, writing.
And making drawings about them and thinking.


The Best, not in order

Feeling is crucial to understanding a work of art. “Einfuhlung” coined by Robert Vischer in 1873 is “a way of feeling oneself into a work of art,” which ultimately becomes “empathy” in English. The meaning of an object influences the feelings it evokes.

  • Re-read Redesigning Leadership (John Maeda): As always I go back to reading John Maeda’s books at crucial times in my life. I was so happy to read this book while struggling with the leadership role. I think what I liked most was another way of approaching leadership – the artistic approach which I really resonated with. This was drawn on a flight layover.

And the rest

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art, Books, sketchbook

Read a book you hate

I read a lot of books in 2017 and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was one of them. I’ve always steered very clear of psychedelic fiction, being the straight-laced person that I am, but when I received the exact same edition on two separate occasions from two very close friends, I had to finally read it.

No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted.

All the references to the Rolling Stones’ music and The Doors’ music was quite an educational journey for me – [who] steered so clear of all this narcotic-induced visions. This could be one of those “Read a book you hate” challenges!

I remember reading it and feeling quite hot, the language was so evocative of the Las Vegas strip and hot US highways in summer, and didn’t hate it as much as I expected to.

Here are some images from Google:

From Google

Ralph Steadman and Hunter S. Thomson had met once and it hadn’t gone too well: “A year later, Steadman was asked if he’d like to illustrate another, much longer, piece of Thompson’s for Rolling Stone magazine – about a drug-crazed trip Thompson had just made to Las Vegas with his Samoan attorney….Despite never having been anywhere near Las Vegas, he set to, and four days later sent off his drawings. “I was quite pleased with them, I remember. I thought I’d managed to complement the style of Hunter’s writing.” When the drawings arrived, Thompson anxiously unrolled them. “Ye gods,” he recalled. “Every one of them was perfect.” Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a huge hit and the two of them became friends. Under Thompson’s influence, Steadman’s work changed. “My drawing got stronger, less flaccid. He exposed me to the screaming lifestyle of the US.” But it was a friendship that came at quite a cost – to Steadman anyway.”

Have you read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Would love to know what you liked about it.

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sketchbook

This also happens!

As I mentioned before, the last two years were busy years – our little tornado is still under five and needs enough hand holding and attention, and both the brown boy and I work full time. Sometimes I’m glad to have the anteater reminding me to draw –

Anteater: You haven’t been drawing much these days

Soo: Drawing…what’s that?

Anteater: You should change the way you draw yourself…

Soo: Oh really…?

Anteater: Have you seen yourself lately? Here take this mirror.

Soo: Mirror? I’ve been seeing myself on video calls.

Anteater: Really? Hmmph.One must take care of one’s appearance you know? (Aside: Hmm, That’s the first sign of insanity…not caring about appearance…)


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