A costume designer, an artist, an arts and crafts educator, the introduction isn’t enough when it comes to Abhinav Vats, a Delhi university art graduate, for he has tried his hands at almost everything. My Himachal gets down to talk to this talented fellow about his work, art and life.
Neha-Tell us something about your life!
Abhinav-Good question! I feel its more important to know about other’s lives more then one’s own life, everytime I feel I have learnt it all, life comes up with yet another question to be answered, another path to be followed and more to be learned. When we look at others lives, especially the ones who are lesser fortunate, we learn more about patience, perseverance and dignity of human life. I was born in an army household, my dad was one of the finest, honest and bravest Indian army officers of his time, recognised and awarded, mother-an artist herself and a beautifull home maker. It was lovely growing up in all those British army cantonments, in the hills, in Himalayas, no religious divisions, no differences-growing up as an army kid was really a great experience!
Neha-What got you interested in arts?
Abhinav-Ever since I was 5 or 6 years old, I used to make Gods and Goddesses on rough paper, back of copies and books, novels! When in class 6th, as a kid, my dad got me a big poster and paints, I painted the dam on river chenab in the Himalayas that we had visited. That was all just the beginning.
Neha-How do you define the word ‘art’?
Abhinav-Art really is undefinable! Art is omnipresent-it’s evrywhere, in the smallest of things. One can say that the other name of art is creativity, even creating a little thing such as a scribble or a new dish, or a new way to put your saree, a new way to mow the lawn or a different way to greet friends, everything that suddenly changes is art! Art is in nature,in mankind,in everything, it’s all around us, it is within us. The body cells keep growing and that is an art in itself.
Neha-What inspires you?
Abhinav-God ,nature and various thoughts that work in my head subconsiously, somtimes an event or a cause. Anything that effects me inspires me consiously or subconsiously.
Neha-You have been involved in a lot of social work down the years, what motivated you?
Abhinav-What motivated was and still does is the souls, cry of the ones who have been tortured, discriminated, harrased, poor, troubled yet through it all they smile! Those who have not been treated as equals and are still not, I feel for them naturally. I try and help in little ways, to see them smile more.
Neha-What words come into your mind for Himachal Pradesh?
Abhinav-Divinty, divine strength, beauty, purity, soul, love-these are the words that I can relate Himachal with.
Neha-Do you visit Himachal often? What places have you been to?
Abhinav– I have visited Himachal quite often, Shimla, Solan, Baru sahib, Dalhousie, Yole, Dharamsala, Ponta sahib. These are the places I have been to could be, forgetting some names. I wish to see more places in Himachal.
Neha-You have been a freelance fashion designer, columnist, artist!
Abhinav– I am primarily an artist and have had an experience of 5-6 years as a fashion designer, I do design now as well. For an year I wrote a column on fashion in Jaipur city-Hindustan Times.
Neha-What fuels your fire?
Abhinav-God and now my soulmate.
Neha-Your biggest dream?
Abhinav-To attain moksha.
Neha-Your biggest acheivement till date?
Abhinav-I feel my good fortune in getting connected to people of the world is a big achievment, wherever I have been to in India, Nepal, South Africa, Spain, Canada. I have learnt a lot form local people, interacted and made good friends with them. Learnt a lot about local customs, arts and architecture and it only helps me realise we are all the same. And all connected that’s a good achievement I wish it grows more and more.
Neha-Any message for the budding artists?
Abhinav-Just follow your heart and not money, when money seeps in art! It becomes commercial and that’s when it loses its message, the themes and thoughts that an artist pours on a canvas or paper should be devoid of financial motives.
Neha-Whats next in line?
Abhinav-More paintings I hope and looking into a possible enhancement of my educational qualification. Also, the photographer in me has become quite strong since the last few years, I am experimenting with photography majorly and would want to click Himachal soon.
Neha-Are you planning to visit Himachal again or do something here?
Abhinav-Yes, absolutely would be visiting soon, I would like to conduct my arts and crafts workshops with good schools, who are open to this idea of an artist taking arts, workshop in Himachal Pradesh. It would be an oppurtunity to be back in my favorite state.
Neha-Your life’s mantra?
Abhinav-Listen to your soul, its the kindest, purest and is the voice of God.
Neha-Do you plan to exhibit your works in the near future?
Abhinav-I hope so, yes, maybe somwhere in Himachal, at the moment I am looking into conducting my workshop with some college or school in Himachal. I am open to any kind of inquiries on the same. I have my home-studio in Gurgoan, where I have my works for exhibition and selling purposes as well.