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  • Writer's pictureUrvashi Singh

Plein Air Painting with Vikrant Singh Rathore

Despite commanding his presence in the chequered world of data analysis and corporate living, his soul resided in the multifarious hues of art. Leading a team of data analysts for ABN Ambro and the Bank of America, he felt something vital was missing in his life. His childhood curiosity around colours and the skill of their application hadn’t left him through all these years. But like most other people his age, he complied as the world around him treated this curiosity as a side hobby. After all, he hadn’t studied at Bishop Cotton and SRCC to graduate into career options that weren’t lucrative. And thus, here he was. Until the everlasting conflict between his present career choice and inherent passion splintered into a radical shift.

The time had come to give it all up and go back to the start, as an art student in the Delhi School of Art. Three years here, and he realised the futility of it all, art education too couldn’t withstand the forces of corruption and commercialisation that had robbed it off any independent skill or creativity. So he turned to the masters such as Monet, Gaurgain, Klimt, Mucha, Van Gogh, Roerich and Gaitonde, and launched his artistic journey without turning back a single time.

Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh on an oil board. (Vikrant Singh Rathore | All rights reserved)

This is the story of how the artist in Vikrant Singh Rathore came into being. As Henri Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage”, and there came a day in Vikrant’s life when he took that courageous leap away from his standard career choice to truly discover his artistic destiny. Ever since, he has traversed from a curiosity in realism to abstraction. But finally, in his bid to master the skills, he began painting landscapes in oil and watercolour.

“Nature, the diversity and richness of Indian landscapes, particularly the Himalayas became a muse that taught me more about light, shadows, colours and sometimes, even life lessons. The landscapes of cold Himalayan deserts, particularly Ladakh and Spiti hold a very special place in my heart. Not only for their geological history, but also their ruggedness, abstraction, magnanimous formations and the way that light plays through the day” says Vikrant. It is this abstraction that Vikrant aspires to capture through paintings, moving slowly from impressionistic approaches to a more abstract one. His works reflect the mood that he captures and his own emotional experience while doing so.

Shyok River, Nubra on an oil board. (Vikrant Singh Rathore | All rights reserved)

Evening light across Kaza, Spiti on an oil board. (Vikrant Singh Rathore | All rights reserved)

The dominant aspect of Vikrant’s artistic style is the 19th century European style of plen air painting, or painting done in the outdoors, which was popularised by several impressionist artists from that era. “Trying to capture the light and impression of the landscape, it’s challenging as every following minute changes, but it is also very fulfilling”, he adds. His experience with plen air painting has endured for years together, be it on the beaches of Goa and Gokarna, or the highlands of Spiti and Ladakh. His impressionistic vistas exhibit unabashed brush strokes and raw tones of textures.

Vikrant Singh Rathore working in plan air mode

The tightly gated art world and market in India contributed to Vikrant’s decision to go solo all the way, wherein he even funded his own exhibitions in India and Paris. The tremendous response he received was essential in his other pursuit, that of challenging the popular notion of art being expensive. Vikrant sought to make art affordable, such that it was accessible to anyone who wished to possess an original piece of art. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Vikrant’s paintings hang all over the world, and several patrons of his work are first time buyers.

Even though art has the potential of supporting lives, sustaining oneself in a metropolitan city can be challenging for an artist, especially with the ever rising cost of living. Thus, in 2014, with the twin motives of honing his art skills without any pressures of selling, Vikrant moved from Delhi to a small village in Himachal Pradesh. He continued to exhibit each year, and his travels within the Himalayas combined with plen air painting helped him discover a brilliant process that organically helped develop his unique style and expression.

In the time to come, Vikrant hopes to travel to different parts of India with his easel, tracing the need to be inspired as the core of his creative process. He concludes by saying, “An artist must observe the inner and outer landscapes in equal measure, that which unfolds beautiful, the quintessence of life.”

For further inquiries, Vikrant Singh can be contacted via the following links : -

Mobile- +918894822129

Blue night on an oil board. (Vikrant Singh Rathore | All rights reserved)

Evening light, Hundar on an oil board. (Vikrant Singh Rathore | All rights reserved)


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