Name: Amrit Singh Sandhu
Current Location: Brooklyn, New York Country of Origin: India
What inspired you to begin creating art?
I’ve been passionate about art since as long as I can remember. As a kid watching my father, who is also an artist, create things with such passion and dedication made me pick up brush to paint even before I learned how to write. I think my father and being surrounded by his art has been my biggest source of inspiration.
To what degree does your cultural background/heritage influence your work?
I think one can never be separated from their heritage because it is a part of their identity. In my work, even when I’m not trying to depict that aspect, it still is visible through the subject matter and characters in my paintings that are mainly inspired by my family and my society back in India. Having spent so much time away from home, I respect and acknowledge my culture and all the beautiful things my country has to offer more than I did before. I try to use Indian elements and resources to enhance and connect with that part of my identity.
What draws you to create with this medium in particular?
I’m a painter, I love paint—the way it has a life of its own. You don’t control it, you follow wherever it takes you. With its rich pigments and textures, its limitless abilities excite me and keep me curious, which as an artist, is the most important thing.
How does the medium help to depict your ideas?
The freedom that paint has allows me to break away from my initial “plan” and follow my intuitions. A painting can only be made when you’re painting it and it needs space to evolve and transform. It helps me to be in the moment to translate my thoughts and vision or sometimes surprise me with something unexpected and adventurous!
Why do you use the colors/forms/shapes/textures/patterns that you do?
The colors and forms that I use help me to be playful and experiment with spatial aspects of reality that I depict in my work. I think complimentary colors are very powerful and I try to push those ideas forward. Textures and patterns enhance the movement within the frame and also allow me to bring a touch of my culture through the different Indian textiles I use as painting surfaces.
How would you describe the current trajectory of your work?
Right now my work is kind of all over the place as I’m figuring things out. I’m trying to experiment more than following a single style, which I think is a great place to be in. It’s important for one’s thoughts and practice to keep evolving and getting out of your comfort zone is the key.
Who/what do you draw inspiration from creatively?
Life and living beings inspire me. Aspects about color or design that I’ve learned in school, you can see nature already do that, whether it’s the patterns of leaves, changing colors of the sky or how animals move and think—beavers build dams, ants communicating with each other and so much more. It’s just so magical and inspiring.
What do you do to pull yourself out of a creative block?
I think having a creative block is as important as being in the zone to create. It allows the mind to step back to reflect on the things already created and also teaches patience. I’ve been facing too much of that recently because of this stressful year and it can get frustrating. To get out of it, I try to take a break and read, go to museums and observe as much as possible because you never know when an idea is going to pop up. Sometimes making studies of my favorite artworks also helps.
What is the desired effect that you hope for your art to have on its viewers?
I want my art to translate the intentions and thoughts behind each piece as well as give room for interpretation and connection with the viewers. I want to reach that stage one day when the viewers stop and wonder out of curiosity and intrigue “How is that painting doing that!” But I need to make a lot of bad paintings to be able to create a good one.