Here’s a little sneak-peek into yet another artist’s journey and story as Paintcollar catches up with one of its most vibrant artists. Harpreet Kaur is not only an enthusiastic pop-cult artist but a rather eccentric one at that as she mixes it with her creative desi streak. She likes to call her collection as ‘Project Kalakari’, and well, it does seem like she is on an art mission to fill the world with harlequin colors. Go ahead, take a look at what she had to say about her love story with art.
How and when did the art bug bite you?
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the individual is born with an innate penchant for creation, for expression. The toddler scribbles on walls, the young adolescent doodles, writes, paints.
The ‘art bug’, as we call it, bit me at a very young age, and I started sketching and copying fonts. It grew to massive proportions as I grew, and decided that this was what I was going to do in life.
How would you define art? Do you think the potential of art is beyond its aesthetic appeal?
I have a dualistic perspective on art. Firstly, even though art exists for its own sake, it has a certain role to play in the reformation of the thought process of a society. So yes, the potential of art goes beyond mere aesthetic appeal. To look at something and marvel at the perfectness of it, the beauty of it, is entirely different from being moved by it, from finding a resonating chord in your own life, and that is what art should aim at. Talking of my own endeavors, I often involve messages and a certain character to every illustration, so that it can permeate the consciousness, rake up meaningful rebellions. Beauty and perfection are merely the first steps to help us to respond to art.
Have you received any formal education in art?
It is always great to have a formal grounding in anything, before you go on and make it a profession out of it. But the moment we’re talking about passion, hands-on training and experience can beat it. I haven’t received formal education in terms of art, but I can proudly say I’ve learnt it as well as anyone. I’ve worked with it, have breathed it, on different projects, in challenging environments, and that is why I prefer to call it in-formal education in art. I think the greatest sincerity comes when it is unenforced.
We see that your artwork, especially Project Kalakari is really fun, relatable and super vibrant – how long did it take for you to find your style? And how did this particular project come about?
Well, the colorful thing has always been a part of my expression. Psychologically too, I often feel that colours usher in our lives the long-missing positivity. Project Kalakari came about as an act of providence—I was always on the lookout for interesting, fulfilling collaborations with people that could teach me, and add to my arsenal. Project Kalakari is close to my heart—it has helped As far as style is concerned, I have been always fascinated about popular culture and the possibilities of art that lie within it.
Tell us more about your weapons of choice! Today, artists have the option of choosing from countless tools and mediums to work with – which are your favorites and why?
I would like to expand to even more genres and mediums in the time to come. For now, I really enjoy the quirkiness and minimalism of my art. I love seeing the product of my hard work being endorsed and liked by people. So for now, I revel in the power of digital art. I am often sketching and conceptualizing designs on my tablet. If I pass by something that catches my attention, or some fast-catching trend, say, in the Metro, I take it up. The extraordinary in the monotonous and accessible tools and mediums are favorable options for me right now.
A lot of artists are known to be very particular about maintaining a certain environment that would be conducive to their creative process. We’d like to know, how do you usually like your work-space to be?
Is there any way you could share a picture of you, with your work-space ?
Yes, I can be particular with my preferences regarding working environment. I am claustrophobic, yet need a segregated space to work in. So, it is usually a small studio with large windows for the light and an occasional gust of breeze! I need to focus, and yet find my mojo with a combination of forms and pieces of art that I can connect with. So, I usually involve a lot of paintings, posters, lamps and illustrations. To add, music is also my muse—a variety of soft background music. Instrumentals and indie stuff.
For some it’s music, for some it’s travelling to new places, for some it may even be just being in a certain place – what is that something that most often pushes you into your artistic zone?
I am totally a music person. From Punjabi folk music, to soothing Sufi songs, I use music to drive myself. Apart from that, I love travel, and really. I love to imagine myself under the stars, alone on a ferry in the Pacific, or atop a scaffold in the fields on a cool summer morning. Merely imagining such situations gives me an artistic release, and this is, I admit, a short-cut for me. I have travelled a lot lately, and it is the sublimity of travelling across space, transcending boundaries, that matters more to me than merely reaching somewhere. Always on the prowl for artistic adventure and quests for the real meaning of life.
The whole concept of selling your work by turning them into products like T-shirts and phone cases is still fairly new! How do you personally feel about it?
Do you think a platform like Paintcollar has helped your art reach newer audiences which would have been inaccessible earlier?
Yes, but the trade of auctioning off vintage articles and paintings is the precursor of this. In fact, the idea that art be used to fulfill material pursuits, is very acceptable. Just like any other artist, I also like to see my designs being appreciated. It feels very gratifying when somebody struts around in a tee that has a design crafted by you. It is almost like your energy is transforming the world. Ditto for phone cases, mugs, laptop sleeves et al. It is like a fusion of the artist and the consumer, the physical and the metaphysical.
Paintcollar has been especially instrumental to my newfound success. It is like a market where you feel privileged to showcase your designs. Respect and platform can be a deadly combination for any artist. The website is very neat, and speaks volumes about the brand that you’re out with; there is absolute freedom here. Paintcollar, by eliminating all the possible roadblocks in the fledgling career of an emerging artist, has created a renaissance in its own regard. The unprecedented growth in audiences is visible.
If you’re not busy creating great artwork – what else do you find yourself doing most often?
I like to meditate and search for the competencies of my mind and my body.
Meditation need not be done necessarily on a yoga mat, with your hands and fingers flexed in a specific way—meditation to me means productive procrastination about the far future, and thinking about something from multiple perspectives. I also read, because it lets me a peek into a parallel world, something which is essential for an artist. I have been doing Gurmukhi calligraphy for a long time now, and it is to me what random doodling is to other people. It has a rhythm about it.
Are there any tips you would like to give budding artists out here that could help them get their work noticed?
Absolutely. Even though I am a budding artist myself, I feel there’s a lot I can pass on to people who’re trying to make a mark here. I would say that getting practical experience, exposing oneself to the processes, the translation of ideas into material creation, is essential. Skipping the regular parts about proper training and others, I always like to stress on the uniqueness, the characteristic style that every artist has about herself/himself. I’d say go out there, create your brand, posit your brand and never get pulled down. Believe in your craziness, and adopt conventionality only to a certain extent. Be vibrant, be in-your- face.
Find all of Harpreet Kaur’s Project Kalakari art on phone cases, T-shirts, posters and laptop skins at paintcollar.com/harpreetkaur