My Story: My Work Represents Me; My Feelings, My Experiences – Vikram Arora

Each of us has, at some point of time in our lives, received life advice from our personal life-coaches – parents, siblings, teachers, mentors, kids, the vegetable vendor or the stranger sitting on the adjacent seat on the flight. Something that moved you, changed you or made a difference to your perspective forever. India Pages brings to you these slices of life, shared by people from all walks of life … Writers, Photographers, Artists, Television Producers, Hands-on mommies, Entrepreneurs and Engineers …. Meet Vikram Arora

“Sir kaisa hua hai?”

There is always a point of confusion or a moment when you feel less confident about your abilities especially when you are being compared with others. In my first year of B.F.A at the J J School of Art in Mumbai, I was feeling the pressure as I was one of the weaker students in the lot. I would always call my previous art teacher for advice before the exams etc. In one such exam of 2D design, he had suggested that I use a colour scheme ‘mauve and magenta along with its shades’. So, I used it and it turned out great, but as I was submitting it to my class teacher I asked him “Sir kaisa hua hai?” [how did he like the painting ?] he replied “bilkul tumahare jaisa” [ It’s exactly like you ].

I smiled and walked out to laugh loudly at this silly reply, wondering about how irrelevant the answer was.. but this answer later changed my perspective forever.

Let me first tell you about this class teacher of mine, He was as abstract with his words as he was with his paintings. An amazing mentor if you could understand his abstraction. Most of the JJ teachers were very judgemental and partial. But this teacher was different as it didn’t matter if you were from a well to do family or not, Maharashtrian or not, or plain bad at your skill .. He would treat you equally like anyone in your class. He was a bit crazy as most artists are, so you had to make sense of his advice.

What I realized from his comment on my work, was that my work represented ‘Me’ – My feelings and My experiences and that is why he said it’s like me…

Actually what he thought about me was an impression of my previous art teacher. From that day I never craved for advice or a validation. My work was “Me” – whether someone liked it or not.

It became clear that your expression should be true as people will know you through your work. I owe Late Shri Hemant Thakre a lot because he is the one who gave me my individuality and the freedom to be myself in my art.

As an artist my environment plays a very important role in my expression. The subject precedes the medium rather it communicates the medium and further what transpires might be a painting or a photograph or an installation. My individual relationship to the subject is what I enjoy exploring the most.

My current art project was displayed at the Kalaghoda ART fest.  The Kalava movement. It is an activist artwork that uses participatory tree interventions and installations to raise awareness about Deforestation.

KALAVA is usually tied on wrists or holy banyan trees as a religious ritual in Hinduism. In a lot of Indian temples one can see the Banyan trees with a red thread on it. Similarly many Muslims tie threads of Mannat (hope) in some Dargah’s all over.


About Vikram Arora

Artist Vikram Arora’s artwork won the Creative Climate Award ‘2016 in New York. He urges his viewers to take action against deforestation by raising awareness by participating in this project. Tie the Kalava/Mauli on a tree nearby, click a photo of yourself with your artwork and post it with a HASTAG #kalavamovement

About the Author

Suhana Bhatia
Suhana Bhatia
Features Editor