Live and learn (An unfair, unjust and not unadulterated world out there)

Ok, so this is long post. Do have patience…
Over the last few days I have been steadily redoing bits and pieces of my site….as my regular friends in the blog world would have noticed 🙂
Today, I want to talk about something that saddens me a great deal:
Imitation and plagiarism
When I started painting seriously again a few years ago… it was in response to my life, and the point of stagnation I found myself at. A point, I think all stay- at-home mums go through. I was torn between my children, my work as an information architect and my desire to paint. A good friend and fellow artist Alok  Johri always encouraged me to paint and keep painting. As he says, that maybe – the choice to paint on baltis and kettlis was an unconscious effort in furthering and incorporating the very items that were taking up a huge part of my life!
And thus, the kitsch series was born. A kettle definitely took lesser time to paint than a huge canvas, and I was at a point where I wanted to try something different and not be caught in a rut. Everything I paint has always been a reflection of my life and my mood.

Growing up, I always wondered…
Why artists were so possessive of their studios?
Why were they reluctant to allow anyone to enter their space?
Why were they not open about their techniques, imagery and inspirations?

Well, I just figured out…

It is because most people abuse the privilege of being allowed into an artists space!


Over the years many people have been inspired by my work or ideas and that’s a good thing. And most have tried to incorporate their own essence into the final artwork, which is how it should be.

A few years ago, someone in Calcutta completely ripped off my work and had their own show. Some small and not so small designers also copied my work and in some cases lifted it right off my site and used it on their pieces in totality. I have tried to take that in my stride.. such things are bound to happen. I have even had some design students pass of my work as theirs in order to get jobs.. except that the lady who was to give them the job was and is a friend and client!!

I also have many people wanting to learn from me and design students wanting to intern with me. And thus far, my home and studio has always been open to them.

However, I am now inclined to change that.

And so the story begins –

I had two young ladies, both graduates from a prestigious art school here in Bangalore and working professionals come to me. One teaches art at an international school and the other works as a graphic designer. They wanted to intern with me and basically learn. They went so far as to say- “..we will be happy to fill in colour into your outline drawings if that is all you will allow us to do..”.

They spent a few hours spread over 2-3 days with me at my studio over piping cups of chai. We discussed my work, my techniques and also my various works in progress.

I gave them both one ready primed kettle each and asked that they paint their hometown on it – Chennai and Hyderabad. They came back a week later with their painted kettles. I gave them an honest critique on what I felt worked and what did not. However, I was not happy at the quality of work and thought that they came up with and they did not have more than four days a month to devote to me. Which is where this possible internship came to an end.

Recently, I found that, not only have they gone ahead and started doing work very similar to mine with questionable quality of course, but they have taken ideas and thought that is essentially my life and put it out there. They have taken discussions in confidence and abused that! And for that, I am truly disappointed!

Which is why, I will no longer be putting up more than a few images on the site under the various sections. I find myself reluctant to now send any images to well-meaning people/future clients. I will be updating the site with new works that are available for sale as and when they come up. I am currently working on an exhibition for later this year and as such will probably not be able to post much online.

For those of my friends, who have stayed true and patient over the years- especially my friends in the blog world (you know who you all are).. I want to say thank you for always encouraging me to do better work even when I do not respond to your comments. I do respond to your emails though 🙂

I also wanted to share with you my personal philosophy of trying something new. Whether it be saleable or even acceptable, being a secondary point. Which is why you will see a range of work on my site and not ‘a particular’ style. I am currently working on something new for me and that will be up later this year for you all to see.

I leave you with a video that I find inspiring.

7 thoughts on “Live and learn (An unfair, unjust and not unadulterated world out there)

  1. Bhavna says:

    This is plain shameful on part of the ‘inspired’ girls. And you are right to protect your work as much as you can. I also think it will be a good idea to share the names of people who blatantly copy in the name of ‘getting inspired’, so that a) they think twice before copying again, and, b) bloggers/media unknowingly don’t promote them/their work.

  2. Swati Seth says:

    Extremely sad. It is almost like cheating your own guru…your own teacher.

    Most of us would agree that Aarohi brought Kitsch Art in trend….made kitsch fashionable.

  3. sudha says:

    this is really sad. Most importantly, hurts creative sentiments and makes one rethink turst and daith….shame on those women who sneaked into your life and your studio only to back stab you…its sad to see such people make most of the client’s ignorance…really BAD

  4. Meghna Vakada says:

    This truly sad … An artist is a person whose creative work shows sensitivity & imagination… and in this case these girls showed non…
    Sure you can be “Inspired” by other artist work but that is where you as a person draw the line. Inspiration means arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity… when I am inspired by someone its more on mental level that I would want to achieve something like that but in my realm and capability making my own mistakes and learning them and earning a place in my own eyes that this creation in what ever walk of life is mine in true sense….
    I have seen the works of these girls and the 1st thing that came to my mind is the stark resemblance to Aarohi’s work ! And then the next thing that came to mind is that end of the day what ever said and done this was nothing but the case of …. a fake gucci rip off bag that you would get on a road side Vs. the ORIGINAL ONE!!! Aarohi, YOU ARE THE real McCoy in this case and there is enough and more out there to prove the same !
    And I am truly glad that you have put this up in your blog for the fact that every aspiring artist out there should know 1st what it is to be a artist and to be inspired by others work in the true sense… before even thinking of becoming one! These girls should take a moment and be brutally honest about what they are doing to themselves and make their own path, own identity, THAT IS WHAT its about !

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