An Interview With One Of The Greatest Micro Sculptor Of India!

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This house might seem familiar to some. Antilia, as some people would recall, the residence of Mukesh Ambani in south Mumbai. But wait, why is it stuck on some wooden base, and why does the house seem to be made out of something else and not concrete? Well, this is the micro-sculpture created by carving artist Yash Soni.

Yash Soni, who has now carved more than 100 sculptures out of a variety of different pencils got recognized quickly and had his first event organised in July 2015 by Homegrown for Adidas Icon Tribute, where he sculpted three different styles of shoes and one Adidas Originals trifoil logo.

His Second invitation was by “IIT Chennai, Sarang 2017”, to conduct a live workshop and display in an exhibition for two days. A few months later there was another invitation by an organisation called “Maker Mela 2017” supported by Make In India where he was the first person in the country to carve live on a big screen with a footfall of over 10,000 people!
Not only does he carve hearts out of pencils, he has a big one himself and ran a successful Snapchat campaign during the droughts of Maharashtra around 2 years ago. We got a chance to speak to him personally and got to know about his journey – from a college student inclined towards graffiti to a pencil carving sculptor. We would love to share what we learned with you.
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 Lets start off by a quick introduction

Hi, I am Yash Soni. I am 27 years old and have a professional background in Event management. I started carving on pencils about 3 years ago. I just love doing creative things like making Graffiti and DIY things. Yeah, that’s pretty much a quick intro!

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What formal education did you receive, was it useful given that you are a full time artist now?

Well I do owe some of my carving skills to the basic Physics, which was honed by my ‘partial’ Engineering Degree. I studied Electronics from Mumbai University, but always wanted to be in the creative field. I had been involved in Graffiti making in college, in fact I made a lot of them which made it possible to see where things were going for me.

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What is the definition of art according to you? Who all were your initial inspirations?

Anything that is created by our own hands is simply what i call ART.(Even a spit on the wall is some form of an UGLY art!) I love art, and i can’t go specifically into any form. I have never confined myself and I am always looking forward to something more, something that further expands my inventiveness and helps me explore the unimaginable. My inspirations were mostly Instagram artists who I had started interacting with and during this time I discovered Carving artists like Chien-Chu-Lee who grabbed my attention.

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After turning into a full time artist, how did the idea of carving strike and how was your first experience with it?

Salavat Fidai was the Russian artist who is behind it all. I just happened to stumble upon his Lead pencil micro sculptures, and this poked me, so much that one of my two hours car journey from Andheri to Thane was all about trying my hands on a pencil and EUREKA, (no i didn’t say that!) there was my first pencil carving, although not a perfect heart but still it was the first stepping stone for me. Now, i can win your hearts in under 20 minutes with perfect heart carvings!

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Tell us something about how a usual Yash Soni mini-sculpture gets made?

Patience is the key. I usually meditate while carving to keep myself cool. And coming to the instruments I use, I had started of with just an ordinary craft cutter, then soon advanced to using two surgical blades(No, I don’t do surgeries!) to achieve greater precision in my creations. One is a curved blade meant to shave wood from the pencil and the other is for more detailing. I usually work around 30 minutes to a couple of hours per piece, and even the tiniest of mistakes are not welcomed over here.

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How do you get into your artistic zone, where you can totally push your creativity to the limits?

I always feel like doing something that is unique while recreating something big. As to how i get into my artistic zone, I like listening to music, especially something that is peaceful and calming. I also like to see things around and observe cause you never know what might come up and glow the bulbs in your brain.

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With rapid advances in technology, what are your thoughts on using technology with art?

This reminds me of an incident when an incredulous professor of some university came up to me and complimented my pencil carving by asking, ‘Was it made in a machine?!’. Well I won’t be surprised if we have 3-D carving printing machines or something in the future, but till then its all human brain-wracking and a work of hands!

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We would love to know more about you, what are your hobbies and what else do you do in your free time?

I love to explore outside, be it on my skateboard or just a run in the park. I also love percussion instruments like drums and Cajón box. Apart from that I am always up for listening to good music and chill with my friends in my free time.

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Any tips for future artists who wish to embark on their own creative ventures?

Three things, Be Calm, Be focused and WORK! Nothing beats perseverance and pencil carving requires a lot of practice and patience. The ironical thing here is that I am a totally hyper person who can’t sit around for much time in one place, but carving keeps me seated for upto 7 hours! The important thing is to keep your cool and wait for it.

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Finally, how does it feel like to be the first person from the country to carve on the big screen in Maker Mela 2017?

Ecstatic. I couldn’t have been more excited about the response I was getting from the people. I was listening to some peaceful music and didn’t look up to the audience till I hadn’t completed my carving, which took a couple of hours. Many people from the crowd got impatient before it was completed and left(as my friends told me!), but overall the response from the crowd and the event on the whole was exhilarating.

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So what all can we expect from Yash Soni in the near future?

The near future should see Yash Soni and his carvings being looked upon by people, on a large scale but not in some event, But my own Exhibition. I love being invited to events, but I always feel what I have created should be showcased in my own event too. The idea of having my own big art Exhibition gives me the tingling sensations and this is something I will be going for!

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