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'Searching for my destiny in the stars'. Acrylic on canvas. Astrology series | Courtesy Avantika Mathur
'Searching for my destiny in the stars'. Acrylic on canvas. Astrology series | Courtesy Avantika Mathur

Meet Mumbai's Hottest Upcoming Contemporary Artist, Avantika Mathur

Picture of Gayatri Sapru
Updated: 24 April 2017
Avantika Mathur trained at the University of the Philippines and later returned to India to pursue an MFA. She then went on to launch an extremely successful art career and has a fashion project in the pipeline. Currently, she travels internationally with her art. Here’s a tête-a-tête with the woman who loves being called ‘mad’!

Avantika Mathur at the Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2015 | Courtesy of Avantika Mathur

Avantika Mathur at the Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2015 | Courtesy of Avantika Mathur

How did you become an artist?

My interest in art is since birth. Pen and paper were more fun than playing with dolls for me. One could easily find me in a corner doodling away for hours, happy in my own world. Even at school, the art room was my favorite haunt in between classes or after school, helping out teachers with art/craft projects or décor for a school event. I was art editor of my school magazine throughout.

Art has always [been] my preferred medium of communication. My getaway retreat. My place to seek personal solitude. Art didn’t grow on me. I chose art to be my career partner. So far, both of us have stayed truthful to each other.

'Searching for my destiny in the stars'. Acrylic on canvas. Astrology series | Courtesy Avantika Mathur

Searching for my destiny in the stars’. Acrylic on canvas. Astrology series | Courtesy Avantika Mathur

'Relish My Art,' upcoming food-based series | Courtesy of Avantika Mathur

‘Relish My Art,’ upcoming food-based series | Courtesy of Avantika Mathur

What is the experience of being a young artist in today’s world’ 

Primary experience is that heady feeling of being universal and unbounded.

Art being an endless flight of lofty ideals — an artist in today’s world enjoys this freedom. Multiplicity of mediums, particularly social media, now takes art beyond the conventional realms of galleries and few hardbound journals. Images now reach teeming commoners and aficionados alike to appreciate and follow.

However, there is a flip side. The same social media brings distant malice and taboos to your doorstep. You cannot wish away the notion that [the] world is imposing some untold restrictions on your creativity. Political strife, religious views or social intolerance binds an artist who by nature is a sensitive person. If [an] artist is making a living from proceeds of art, she/he feels obligated to be in compliance. This is a big damper to [the] creative process. The gains of open medium, thus, gets negated by the restrictions it puts.

International Women's day at Carter Road, Bandra | Courtesy of Avantika Mathur (pictured in yellow)

International Women’s Day at Carter Road, Bandra | Courtesy of Avantika Mathur (pictured in yellow)

What’s next?

Next — go bigger and beyond.

Bigger in terms of redefining my canvas. To work in 3-D space or on unlimited surfaces. Graffiti, murals, installations [or] assemblage is one of my next destinations.

In parallel, I am starting my own fashion line. Traditionally, fashion has used art. I envisage to use fashion as my art medium — to see my art growing legs and walk the street.

'Willing Flesh'— Installation and performance piece by Avantika Mathur| © Shantenu Tilwankar

‘Willing Flesh’— Installation and performance piece by Avantika Mathur| © Parizad D

What is your dream project?

A surreal artwork big enough to walk through is [the] true manifestation of my dream art project.

This artwork will be a sweet harmony of all mediums in which I work — canvas, fabric, acrylic, fiber glass, etc. — a larger-than-life installation.

There is absolute clarity in my mind on the concept, image of how it will finally look like, and what all will go into making it. I am waiting for an opportune moment to execute it.

'Willing Flesh'— Installation and performance piece by Avantika Mathur| © Shantenu Tilwankar

‘Willing Flesh’— Installation and performance piece by Avantika Mathur| © Shantenu Tilwankar

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

Undoubtedly, Salvador Dali. He is my idol. What a surreal art genius who did it all — from painting to movies, installations to sculpture, space and time to back and beyond. He is the man!!!

How would you describe yourself as an artist in 80 characters?

Rare confluence of a gregarious person in a reasonable artist @avtocool

Remake Mumbai Project | Courtesy of Avantika Mathur

Remake Mumbai Project | Courtesy of Avantika Mathur

Quickfire Question series:

White or Black? 

Black

Apple or Android’

Apple

Picasso or Matisse? 

Picasso

Coffee or tea?

Tea

Interview by Gayatri Sapru