2 X 2 in mathematics’ classroom is 4. An answer which is fixed, defined, mechanical, even though true.
In a classroom of Artists, imagination of the mind which is the nectar of our society is supreme. Every student is provoked, cajoled, and encouraged to give voice to his inner sentiments, thoughts and flights of fancy.
Such an expression of our heart and soul is Art. And such is the profound thinking of the great yet humble artist of Jammu & Kashmir – Rohit Verma.
Humble. Gifted talent. Diligent. Passionate.
As an artist, Rohit Verma’s technique, style, focus, intention and meaning can be defined as:
His works are pure images of freedom in the wake of chaos, crisis, and turmoil in the society at large.
He powerfully narrates the haunting fears, insecurities, losses, grief and hate which is embedded in our minds.
The magnetism of his art attracts your subconscious emotions which even you didn’t know were inherent.
The art of creating suspense through dark thematic eeriness is vivid in his works. There is smoke, there are shadows, there is a figure reaching out of darkness, birds flying away from chaos and other intense images of freedom in distress, anxiety, empowerment, and escape.
Out of the world structures are used to convey earthly themes. This technique creates a curious spectacle of finding the familiar in the mysterious concoction of cosmic illusions.
In an interview with Rohit Verma, we come to know about the struggle, hard work and humility of an artist.
What do you portray through your works? What is the message you wish to deliver in your paintings?
All my works are autobiographical. What I have been through – the ups and downs of the life. Have often been told that I expose the depression in one’s person’s life. My art becomes a vehicle of my emotions, views, opinions and explores my responses towards life’s trials and tribulations. People draw a ship. I ask have you ever sat in one. I cannot draw until I have experienced something in person. Creativity always happens. It cannot be deliberate. Such is the case with me. It is beyond a skill. It is beyond our senses. It cannot be forced.
Can you share with us, how your journey as a painter began? Who has been your role model? What inspired you?
When we were young, my big brother Sunil Verma, would draw our caricatures to tease us. I would get jealous to make even better paintings. Later, without any training, I drew on signboards, hoardings and so on. Then much later I came to know about the Institute of Fine Arts which I joined to channelize my passion. Ashoka Tikko spotted my talent who owned the very Institute. Despite my family’s objections to this field, I jumped into it.
Do you believe art can be taught? Can anyone become an artist?
No. It is gifted. Art can be polished. Not created. Or made. It can be discovered.
Once a sculptor was making a statue. He said the beauty of the statue is already there, I am only discovering it, That is the case with Art.
To become a painter, what message would you like to give to our aspiring artists?
It’s all about taking a risk. Jump into it without hesitation, apprehension or anxieties about insecurities.
This life is a struggle. Yes. So only try it if you are convinced.
What is the most inspiring episode of your life as an artist?
Keshav Malik, a reputed art critic praised me with high commendation. He would recommend and refer my name with high regards which has been very motivating for me. i have come humble roots, self-made and to be recognised by Keshav Malik ji is indeed an honour.
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma ji also once commended that my paintings are evocations of music.
Agni Shekhar ji, is also one remarkable person I hold in high regard.
Who do you thank for supporting you in your career and life?
My mother Shakti Devi ji. She would narrate defining tales from Mahabharata and Ramayana which germinated the seeds of creativity in me.
I am also thankful to Ashok Tikoo ji, Bhushan Koul ji who taught me consistency with evolution to polish my art.
An artist devoted to build other artists – such is the spirit of the artist Rohit Verma.