How do Mad Artists Think? Now at a Mad House near you on 10th May 2014, Saturday.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a 14-foot (4.3 m) tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde, by Damien Hirst

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a 14-foot (4.3 m) tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde, by Damien Hirst

  1. Synopsis
  2. Date and Time
  3. Address
  4. Contact numbers/e-mail addresses for registration
  5. Workshop Fee
  6. Food and Drinks
  7. Mission statement/Workshop manifesto
  8. Structure of the workshop
  9. Takeaway from the workshop
  10. Who is this workshop for?


1. Synopsis

What are the lessons in creative thinking from the world of Art and Design? What is your unique and special artistic expression? 

What does Andy Warhol’s Pop Art have in common with our very own, very successful ‘Chumbak’ and ‘Happily Unmarried’ brands? What is ‘Modern Art’ anyway, and why is Picasso considered a great artist when even a child could draw like him? What’s really so great about Pink Floyd?

Through vivid discussions over drinks and snacks, leading up to a small, fun project, I’ll help you develop an informed artistic opinion on the things you create, so that you can see for yourself how awesome you really are! 

No qualification required. Just come with an open mind.

How do those mad artists think? By the end of the workshop, you’ll tell me!


2. Date and Time

Date and Time:
Saturday,10th May 2014, 2.30 PM – 7.30 PM

3. Address 

G-16/5, DLF Phase 1, Qutub Enclave, Gurgaon.

It’s really easy to find.

  • Closest Metro station – Sikandarpur, MG Road, Gurgaon
  • From Sikandarpur Metro Station, turn LEFT towards Bristol Chowk
  • After passing Bristol Hotel on your right, continue STRAIGHT towards Faridabad (DO NOT take the right onto Golf Course Road)
  • Cross the FIRST traffic signal (with Qutub market on your right), and then take the LEFT into DLF phase 1 colony gate
  • Take the THIRD RIGHT. The venue is the fourth house in that lane (G-16/5)


4. Contact details for registration

Prior Registration is required by calling OR e-mailing Viraj/Nayantara

Viraj : 97177 38723 /
Nayantara: 97171 03014 /
Join the Facebook event for updates and interesting links to help you get the most out of the workshop.


5. Workshop Fee
Rs.500 (First time attendees)

Rs.200 (people who attended the previous workshop at Zorba)

You can pay at the venue.

6. Food and Drinks

BYOB. Snacks will be provided.

7. My Mission/Workshop manifesto

  1. Make people aware of the context of their talents in the world of Art. Do you have leanings towards Futurism or are you a Purist, for instance?
  2. Initiate people to the ‘thinking structures’ of great Artists, past and present, from various fields.
  3. By so doing, instil in people the confidence and vocabulary to take their particular talents in innovative directions.

8. Structure of the Workshop

This is not a painting class, or a sculpture class, or a photography class. In this workshop you will learn how to ‘think’ like an artist.

  • The first section of the workshop will be a discussion on fundamental questions like ‘What is Art?’, ‘What’s the difference between Art and Craft?’ and ‘What do Painting and Music and Photography and any other medium have in common?’. During the course of these discussions, interesting examples, and Art History, from the multifarious fields of Art (Painting, Film, Music, Writing, Conceptual Art) will be shared so that the conversations have a reference point.
  • In the second section, participants will be asked the question, ‘What has affected you deeply in the recent past?’. The participants will be encouraged, through discussion with the group, to think deeply about why they feel strongly about the issue. They will then be asked to create an ‘artistic work’ that expresses the issue they feel strongly about.

The artistic work could be completely conceptual, in which case the participant simply has to describe it through language, or it could be a piece of poetry, cellphone photography, performance, or even a rough sketch.

The focus is not on the final product, but the thinking process behind it.

The final discussion will be participants responding to each other’s work.

9. What is the takeaway from the workshop?

At the end of the workshop, the participant would have touched, and harnessed the power of his/her own artistic temperament, and possibly have found an affinity for a certain medium of expression like Photography, or Painting, or Writing, which they could pursue vocationally, by going for a ‘Basics of Photography’ class for example.

He/She would have been introduced to the major Art Movements from the Renaissance to the present, and have understood the modes of thought that defined these movements.

Importantly, he/she would have developed a basic vocabulary to be able to have an informed opinion on any piece of Art from any field.

10. Who is this workshop for?

  1. 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.’
  2. Creative Professionals like designers, art directors and copywriters will be able to attribute reasons and logic to their intuitive output. (Haven’t you always wanted to give it back to clients who offer unstudied and dumb opinions on your work?)
  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.

For any questions you can also write to us by filling the form below:



Commercial Art’s Conundrum


A period advertisement for cigars

A short preamble 

Alain De Botton hypothesizes in his book ‘The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work‘ that the real reason for the pervasive disillusionment in our society is that our jobs have been disconnected from purpose and meaning.

Before societies and businesses became as complex as they are today, he says, in a far simpler world, every professional had a very clear cut role to play in society. A fisherman hauled in fish for a village, that would starve without his efforts. The direct human connection made his life’s work fulfilling and meaningful.

Contrast this with an accountant (it’s always a poor accountant!)  lost in the bureaucratic order of a huge corporation that makes, say, biscuits. He has no idea of how his day’s work really contributed to anything, other than giving him something to fill in his timesheet! HR departments in big companies really exist to fill the void caused by this divorce of purpose from our jobs.

Venkat Bhai, my favourite person in the office, beams at the camera at lunch time.

Venkat Bhai, my favourite person in the office, beams at the camera at lunch time.

Indeed, Venkat Bhai, our canteen in-charge, is arguably the happiest dude on the floor. He’s always smiling, and his movement can be surmised from the cheers of adulation that follow him as he, quite literally, purveys the grease that keeps the wheels of the office turning!

Mike Rowe, of the popular show ‘Dirty Jobs’ has a wonderful talk on a Ted where he makes a similar point. ‘Roadkill picker-uppers whistle to work’ he says, as he makes a strong case for hands-on work.

Does a Commercial Artist ever really feel a sense of purpose?

Isn’t every designer a closet artist? All the good ones are at any rate, escaping the confines of form and function and ‘purpose’ to scribble in their diaries, caricature a face, or illustrate some fantastic character.

You could argue that it’s actually quite simple, that when you see an ad you made in a magazine, for instance, the client’s message has been disseminated, and a sense of purpose is achieved.

But the likely truth would be that when a designer sees his work out there in the world, he’s normally thinking wistfully of how he may have done it better, or on rare occasions, how thrilled he is that the work ran the hierarchical gauntlet and emerged relatively unaltered! He is certainly NOT thinking of how the ‘purpose’ was served. That’s someone else’s job.

A conundrum?

More fundamentally, the creation process for commercial and intrinsically motivated art have an insidious distinction.

As a self motivated artist you aim at ‘connecting’ with the work and reaching a state of ‘flow’ where you’re almost one with the what you’re creating. You’re intensely focused on the task, all your senses are on full alert yet you’re manifestly calm. A piece of work gets its power from your attachment to it.

Commercial art, not so much.

This is a very cynical evaluation, but the whole idea, after a few years, often tends towards disconnecting enough with the work so that you don’t feel the stab when a suit gives you his unstudied opinion on how the colour doesn’t work! When you manage to disconnect enough so as not to feel anything, you begin to pride yourself on being ‘thick skinned’, which is great news except that this ‘thick skin’s’ function is not so much to buffer you from the hurt of slander but to build an impenetrable wall between you and the work.

If the thing you have to do to get the most pleasure out of your work,(and in the case of art it is to ‘connect’ with it), is exactly what you cannot afford to do on a daily basis, then there lies an unresolved conundrum, a recipe for frequent bouts of discontent. And if the creation processes for intrinsically motivated art and commercial art are so vastly different when it comes to a fundamental factor like connectedness, then things like personal style, a work’s personality, indeed all the things that give a piece of work individuality, all come into question, and the umbilical cord between cathartic art and commercial art seems to be tenuous at best, and capable of being snapped at the whim of the first unimaginative MBA.


I do love my job. It’s fun. And I wouldn’t trade it with the accountant. There are lots of people in the commercial art world who are really happy with their jobs. But when I came across Alain De Botton’s theory of disconnectedness of purpose and meaning, I thought I owed my line of work as a commercial artist a tough examination.

Cigar ad image by Double–M on Flickr using attribution license