I recently had the tremendous pleasure of traveling back to India as a guest visiting artist to teach street painting, specifically 3d street painting techniques, to high school & college level students as well as professional artists in 5 major cities. Initially my tour began in Kanpur, India, where I would be arriving at IIT Kanpur as a participating artist in their annual cultural festival, Antaragni (meaning ‘The Fire Within.’) I’d been to India last year to participate in this capacity at Mood Indigo, IIT Bombay’s culture and arts fest. The response there had been so great that the organizing body at IIT Kanpur decided to add the street painting component to their roster this year as well.
To make things interesting for the students, I developed a 5 day workshop program, allowing students to participate first hand in making large street painting works in traditional 2d and the ever popular 3d format. A large percentage of the participating students who attend Antaragni are from IIT Kanpur, which means I would be teaching bio-chemists, engineers, math PHD’s and science wizards – the future technological brain trust of our expanding global village! I imagined this would be very interesting for me as well as for them. We did work specifically with the campus Fine Arts Club, who were busy all week preparing for their own exhibits.
Tobie, my talented and reliable assistant, and I developed a plan to create one large demo painting for viewers to interact with, while also providing instruction and guidance for students to create 4 more additional paintings as a means to learn about the medium. Most students wanted to know how to make a 3D painting so we developed a few simple technical demonstrations for them to practice and experiment with. Working as teams, the students who were interested came back each day to complete their images. In the end we wound up with 4 large traditional style paintings, 2 large 3d paintings and a few smaller images created spontaneously around the site. Talk about talented folks – you’d never know any of the street paintings completed were not made by Fine Art majors!
In addition to our teaching program, Tobie and I were treated to some incredible performances & workshops as part of the festivities. From Sitar Funk to Bollywood legend, KK, we experienced some of India’s finest in music, art, fashion and culture. Our hosts Somnath, Runit, Manan, Mansi, Sankalp, Hemant, Swatantra and an army of other organizing students went above and beyond our expectations in providing the most gracious welcoming we could have imagined. Taken under their wings, we experienced tremendous warmth and camraderie from everyone we had the pleasure of meeting. It was truly an amazing experience as we watched the campus embody this year’s slogan: ‘Be the Change’, by transforming from quiet rural park into vibrant cultural mecca. We were truly honored to be a part of the festival this year. Thank you guys!
Some links with info on Antaragni 2009: