Inkquisitive Illustration (Amandeep Singh) is a London based artist who has risen to the forefront of youth art, culture, creating work that reflects a new movement of self-expression and experimentation, read his Exclusive Interview on his journey and artwork.
His work is a tribute to heritage, faith, and culture. With over 300,000 dedicated followers and fans, together, on all forms of social media, Inkquisitive has created a stir internationally with 13 sold out exhibitions around the world from Canada, Australia, Kenya and more. With the multitude of international tours, Inkquisitive is now working alongside mainstream industries and producing commissions on a much higher note.
Inkquisitive is working with NYU United Sikh Association for an intimate night of conversation about Inkquisitive’s journey, viewing his artwork, and a Q&A segment. The event will be held on Saturday, October 1 at 6:30 pm in NYU Kimmel’s Eisner & Lubin Auditorium (60 Washington Square South, New York, New York 10012). The event details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1751337855132592/
What drew you to art and graphic illustration?
I just love the idea of freedom with graphic illustration because with illustration there is more freedom -- there is no seatbelt. Whereas with other design avenues, it feels like there are all these rules and regulations of what you can do and how you can construct it. But with illustration, there is more freedom to do what you want to do and express what you want to do for me personally.
What has been your biggest inspiration for your artwork?
The life experiences I have faced. I think experiences create so many inspirations and you can inspire yourself to do so many various things. Everything creates a story. It’s those things that I put into my artwork. I’m a storyteller. I make stories out of random things and that’s what inspires me the most: to continue to question things.
The more you question the more you have a good body of work. Having said that, behind my artwork has to be my dad. My dad does calligraphy and as a young kid I was terrible at it but I tried my best to copy him and how his hand flows with the ink. So from a very young age I got my physical inspiration from him.
Is there a specific message in your artwork that you try to portray in every piece?
My main message is to find a message. I’m happy with people to understand a different message from different artworks. Everyone’s answers are going to be different. When you can create an artwork and 10 different people can see it in a different reality, there’s nothing more beautiful than that.
I like to push people’s buttons and show them they have a creative side and a great imagination. If you can find a message, that is the message in itself.
What is your definition of “beautiful” or “completed” art?
The definition of beautiful for me is “intricate”. Intricacy is a beautiful thing. When you see a lot of intricate things in artwork, I feel like that leads to a story and that is the most attractive thing to me as an artist. I also feel that things that aren’t control, things that are naturally flowing onto an art piece with not many rules and regulations laid down.
It can look so imperfect but those things are so beautiful because that’s coming straight from your soul. Those things really attract me to art and other artists’ work. The less focus on what you want to do and the more focus on doing it -- that alone is a beautiful way of working and that for me is complete. For me complete is when I’m fully content with a work and then I let go of the pen.
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about how the creative field, particularly fine arts, is becoming smaller; do you think it’s because there are fewer artists or because audiences are more selective in what they perceive as fine arts?
I feel like artists shy away from their work because they give too much importance to how the outside world and how their art will be defined and seen. It prevents them from showcasing their work and actually one of the reasons I almost didn’t pursue a career in art was because I was afraid of how people would perceive my work.
I also feel like people sometimes don’t understand how to make the hobby into a profession because there isn’t much guidance. I was fortunate enough to get guidance from my lecturer while I was doing my masters. But it has so much to do with how the audience perceives art because they are so much more selective now. The audience wants to find someone they can relate to but also someone who is doing something different.
What do you consider to be the most perfect piece of art?
I think the most perfect piece of art is the one I don’t care too much about how people portray my work. The ones I’ve done just out of freedom so I can enjoy it more. For me, the journey, the process is the artwork because it takes so much time. The perfect piece of art, then, is enjoying the process, enjoying the moment, enjoying the spontaneousness of the artwork because that’s what I am -- I’m always spontaneous with my artwork. The more spontaneous I am, the more I enjoy it.
Do you think being a Sikh artist has made your journey more difficult because of the stereotypes of Indians shying away from fine arts?
Yes, at the beginning it made it very difficult! But, there are so many creative people coming out in the industry now. And I think the fact that I wear a turban, people are like “wow he’s wearing a turban and he’s an artist” so it really opens people’s minds.
Though I’m still always facing challenges because I’m a Sikh artist, I feel like I’m on the right path and making sure it doesn’t overcome me. We have a long way to go because when I tell people in the community that I’m an artist, they don’t take me seriously. They think it’s just a hobby and they ask me what my “actual” job is.
And some of those things you can never overcome because the older generations are set in their mindsets. But I think we definitely are making progress!
You have worked with many pop-culture icons like Pharrell Williams, Madhuri Dixit, and Jaz Dhami. How do you think their support for your artwork will shape how others perceive your work?
Having people in the industry recognize my art has been huge! Having them support my art has created more acceptance, more people are thinking “Aman (Inkquisitive) has done it, why can’t we do it?” And on the other hand, people can also see that this is a profession and not just a hobby.
But I’ve also given up having other people in our community try to understand my artwork because no matter what, they just won’t understand and see art as a profession -- but most are starting to see it because of moments like this where pop-culture icons are sharing my work.
You do many Sikhi art pieces and do tours and exhibits with Sikh organizations. How does Sikhism play a role in your artwork?
My identification as a Sikh, a Singh, a guy who wears a pagg is a massive representation of myself and a whole community. So whenever I’m producing my artwork
Do you ever get artist’s block the way writers sometimes get writer’s block?
All the time! But when you see inspiration in everything around you and put inspiration in everything you do, you rarely have artist’s block.
Your upcoming projects?
Working with the wonderful team at NYU United Sikh Association!! But also just a global tour starting off with New York and moving on to other wonderful exciting places. Next year is based on trying to get my children’s books out and my clothing line because I just released some sarees, but of course with the name “Inkquisitive”, I will keep everyone inquisitive!
Any message for SimplyBhangra readers?
A massive thank-you to everyone supporting my journey! SimplyBhangra has always been very supportive of my journey. I think the fanbase and love at SimplyBhangra towards people from all professions, not just Bhangra-related, is a beautiful thing. I would love for everyone to check out my work at inkquisitive.com and follow me on all social media @inkquisitive!
Inkquistive’s work continues to be recognised by mainstream media from companies like GAP to prominent music artists such as Pharrell Williams for his passion in promoting social cohesion and community activism. Inkquisitive continues to create colourful, layered and thought provoking pieces that resonate with individuals around the world and continues to keep us all Inkquisitive…
Be sure to check out the event on Saturday!