He has been a corporate honcho who gave up the life of a regular income for a life pointing towards the easel. She has been an artist who always wanted to break the boundaries of form and function. He is skilled in entrepreneurship, and she is skilled in drawing lucidity out of abstract lines. Together, they are poised at the horizon of defining what art could mean to you and me tomorrow. We met Mohit and Aarti, the founders of The Art Exchange Project—an avenue for artists and aspiring artists, a platform where there is a beautiful confluence of different strokes, palettes, shapes and forms—all leading to one conclusion; that art is omniscient and it can transcend all formats to bring true bliss to the creator and spectator alike. But, I am probably just getting carried away with what I have observed of this beautiful initiative. Let’s get the straight dope from the horse’s mouth about the prospects of this sable’s hair. (Get the pun?) So, here is an interview with Mohit and Aarti about the Art Exchange Project at their studio, incidentally, also where they live.
So guys, what was the genesis of The Art Exchange Project?
Aarti: Well, the Art Exchange Project was started with a vision of making a community of people who create as well as those who appreciate art. It is a family of sorts for artists and art lovers. Whatever be your canvas, if you are an artist or aspire to be one, the Art Exchange Project has been conceived with all our collective passion to foster an atmosphere of sharing art knowledge, to teach and to learn. The vision is to provide a space, both online and offline for people to come together and give birth to myriad art forms and ideas, sharing information about materials or techniques or skill sets for future collaborations.
What is unique about this project that sets it apart from other art consortia and workshops?
Aarti: The world still sees artists as a different breed of people, who operate within a certain mindspace. We want to create a forum that is poised at the cusp of the whimsical and the practical; a forum where craziness makes sense!
Mohit: To simplify it for you, we are striving to bring artists together and create a talent pool where multifaceted art forms evolve. We will create a holistic and radical approach to art that will leave a legacy for future artists. The meetups are free, and so is the exchange of rich knowledge that happens in these sessions. We want people to explore the fascinating world of art through free demonstrations and regular interaction.
As an artist, why should I attend this meetup?
Mohit: You get to meet other like-minded people. You are egged on to step out of your comfort zone to try new things; be it a new art medium or a style. You get to blend different styles, and explore possibilities of functional art; going beyond conventional art forms. You are encouraged to be mentored or be a mentor yourself. You experience the thrill of making art without any bounds.
What if I am a non-artist? What’s in it for me?
Aarti: We believe that in some way or the other, everyone is an artist. Hopefully, through your experience, you will start believing that nobody is a non-artist. You start to recognize the unexplored artist within you. You can be great contributor to artistic expression through different skills, such as sketching, sculpting, writing, music, dance, or even photography and film making. You get to open your mind and think out of the box. Who knows, being part of our adventures may stir your latent artistic instinct. And, of course, you meet some really cool people, get some crazy business ideas, and make some meaningful alliances.
Now for the inevitable question. Where is The Art Exchange Project headed?
Aarti: We see this evolving into one of the biggest art communities or artists and patrons of all art forms. We hope to create the biggest and the richest talent pool in the Indian subcontinent. With time, we’d like to take it beyond the national boundaries and have local communities in other countries. Basically, we want to make art a part of everyone’s lives! In fact, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
How can I be an active member of this project?
Aarti: Start by joining our Facebook group. You will start receiving notifications on our meetups. Attend a few meetups to reflect on the inspiration and direction that become your own takeaway from this exchange. You can also contribute through the online on our site. You could showcase your artwork, share your views through comments and questions, and interact with other members. You could volunteer to write for the blog, photograph events, or contribute in any other way you want. You could even help organize demos, help artists with event management or other forms of resourcing, you could help with shooting and editing videos, you could do feature write-ups, and artist interviews. You could share your experiences with others and spread the good word!
Hmmmm…..That is food for thought! We have attended a few meetups, seen the work, and have thoroughly enjoyed being part of it.
For your own unique experience, we encourage you to check out their site and attend a few meetings. We assure you that you will be infected by the vibe!