How do those Mad Artists Think? Art Decoded at The Toddy Shop, Hauz Khas Village


Workshop Title

How do those Mad Artists Think? Art Decoded.

Workshop duration

3 hours

Date and Time

Sunday, 14th December 2014, 4.30 PM – 7.30 PM

Workshop Fee

Rs.600. Includes a beer and veg/non-veg snacks.

Introductions (10 minutes)

4.30 – 4.40

Introductions, with name and favourite artist, film maker, writer etc.

That's me, randomly pasting 'big words' from the world of Art, all over the floor of the workshop space. 

That’s me, randomly pasting ‘big words’ from the world of Art, all over the floor of the workshop space.

Post-it discussions – ‘Demystifying Big Words’  (1 hour)

4.40 – 5.20

Discussions on the meaning of ‘Big Words’ from Art and Design and the relationships between them. What’s the difference between Craft and Art for instance? Or what’s the difference between Performance Art and Theatre?

5.20 – 5.40

Rearranging the ‘Big Words’ to demonstrate how they all fit into a very logical artistic process.

Break (10 minutes)

5.40 – 5.50

Cigarettes, washroom, answering missed calls

Creative Geniuses from Art History and what does ‘Being an Artist’ mean today – ( 1 Hour 20 minutes)

5.50 – 7.10

-Presentation on the arc from Realism to Abstraction and the beginning of Modern Art.

-Presentation on major Art Movements from 1900 to the present, with key figures.

Conclusion (20 minutes)

7.10 – 7.30



1 A, 2nd Floor, Hauz Khas Village, Hauz Khas, New Delhi

Ph: 01140519338, 09560256426

Get Directions/Google Map

For more details contact:

Viraj : 97177 38723 /

Nayantara: 97171 03014 /

Randeep Singh: 98102 85789 /

Who is this workshop for?

1. Anyone who has ever wondered ,”What’s so great about that?” when encountering an apparently ‘famous’ work of art.

2. Anyone interested in art. No prior knowledge of any kind is required.

3. Anyone who indulges in an artistic hobby like writing, photography, painting, music etc., or indulges in Art appreciation of any kind, will benefit greatly from this workshop.

4. Creative Professionals like designers, architects, film-makers, art directors and copywriters will be able to attribute reasons and logic to their intuitive creative output.

5. Any job requires creativity. The lessons from the lateral thinking of the Art world are truly inspiring and will help you think ‘out of the box.’

About Viraj

profile pic“I’m a Creative Director at Global Team Ford. A lot of what we’ll be discussing at the workshop has helped me profoundly in my job.I believe that a country is only as great as the dreams of its artists. Engaging with art expands our minds and enables us to derive maximum meaning from life.I know a lot of very talented people who are intimidated by what they refer to as the ‘esoteric world of Art’. A small initiation on ‘How those Mad Artists think?’ would go long way in removing this unhealthy fear (Art is for everyone!), and help one get the most out of any artistic experience. Hence this workshop.”



How NOT to go ‘Yeah Whatever’, at the India Art Fair. Simple ways to evaluate what you see.


Fountain is a 1917 work by Marcel Duchamp

Fountain is a 1917 work by Marcel Duchamp

The India Art Fair is one at the NSIC grounds from 30th to 2nd February, which means, if you’re a working person you only have the rest of today and tomorrow to catch it.

Here are a few simple ways of evaluating some of the stuff you see, so that you walk out feeling enriched and uplifted and emboldened and a little dizzy, instead of thinking ‘Er…nice. But this art stuff is not for me.’

I understand the intimidation people feel at the sight of outrageous sculptures and abstract art. Even though I loved some of the stuff I saw when I was in school, I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe to myself why I thought it was cool. I used feel the need for some sort of formal initiation, before I ‘really got it‘.

That formal initiation happened at art school, and I realized that great art was doing itself an injustice cowering in galleries, making people feel foolish for walking in without invitations.

Art is for everybody, to be interpreted in any way they want, and therein lies the great thing about Art Fairs. It opens Art up, and gives people access.

So go, and behold, and be enriched.

There’s no ONE way feel about a piece of art. The more it leaves suggested, but not said, the better. You are as much of an artist in interpreting the work.

So here’s the broad and simple initiation I wish someone had given me.

On Sculpture

It doesn’t need to be Michelangelo’s David. Anything that takes up space in any form can be called a sculpture. Look beyond recognizable shapes. Look for juxtapositions of objects, or of materials and what they imply.

Totally hypothetically speaking, a tea set, a symbol of ritual and order, all smashed up on a tray, could be an artists way of demonstrating rebellion.

Or Duchamp’s urinal (the fountain, he called it (above)) , a functional object, simply by being positioned in a gallery as an object of contemplation, makes us look at it differently. Duchamp himself said he wanted to  ‘shift the focus of art from physical craft to intellectual interpretation.’

On installation

Installation art may have some linkages to sculpture but its normally concerned with ‘making a scene’ that communicates something. It could be site specific or the ‘scene’ can be set up in different places.

We did an installation in college in which a pair of headphones were suspended from the ceiling of a room in a really old house. When people put on the headphones they could hear recreated sounds reminiscent of the past. For instance, we included a sound clip of sparrows chirping, because sparrows had long abandoned the grounds of the old house.

Look for what its trying to say. Any meaning you take from it is valid.

On Painting

The visual arts are probably easiest to have a reaction to, because we are in the habit of contemplating beauty. Move away from simplistic definitions of beauty and try and get your head involved. Why the choice of colours? Why the elongated forms?

An artist is often trying to say a lot in the most simple way possible, hence the simplification and abstraction.

Sitting Woman by Picasso

Sitting Woman by Picasso

Time and context of the painting are also important to know. For instance, the cubists made paintings showing multiple perspectives partly because they were trying to depict time in a single frame, competing with the nascent medium of film. The cubist style of painting has its roots in context.

A painting/photograph of white noise, may not be a beautiful painting, but could be saying something about the TV culture we live in.


There’s a lot of different mediums out there. Video art, performance art, photography, and various forms of new media. I’ve only focused on three to keep the post short.

Just keep an open mind and walking through the stalls of the Art Fair will be like reading a vivid book, with humour, poignancy, austerity and other emotions thrown in for good measure.

Art is NOT meant to be esoteric, it’s meant to be personal. For you.


Picasso painting from Alaskan Dude on Flickr using Attribution 2.0 Generic license 

Secret Cubists in their Cubicles

cubist-paintingI couldn’t resist posting this despite a busy day at work!

I walked into one of the conference rooms and saw this palimpsest created out of the deliberations of numberless meetings, TOO MANY of which I have been a part of.

It looked HIGHLY cubist to me. Reminded me of Braque’s painting above and ‘Nude Descending a Staircase, by Duchamp.


SORRY I’M LATE – a collaborative work by the folks at my workplace 🙂

At the risk of stretching the metaphor, Cubism was partly about adding the dimension of passage of time to painting. It was competing with the nascent and emerging medium of film.

What better motif to have in a room where the speedy passage of time is often the most primary concern!

I call it ‘Sorry I’m Late’, a collaborative piece of performance art, mixed media, marker on whiteboard.



The ‘studio’ where this piece of performance art was created 🙂