CHENNAI: Give him red chillies and rice; he comes up with a work of art representing the reach of an airline operator. You have steel, he can pay an ode to the Armed Forces with it. Artist Rahool Saksena can make art out of anything. His artistic endeavour is neither limited by space nor medium. Saksena, who quit a lucrative job in the world of advertising to pursue his passion for creating art, has been in the field for over 15 years now.
Going by the name artist of change Saksena, who was selected for a three-week ‘In-Residence’ programme at the Rashtrapati Bhavan last year, showcased his work to share his experience in New Delhi, at ITC Grand Chola. The Chennai-based artist’s show titled ‘Art of Change’ also underlined the ethos of the hotel responsible luxury.
Talking to CE on the sidelines of the show, he summarises his work in one sentence. “I bring in change to bring out art and vice versa. These works are highly-customised and personalised. Some of them have adorned the office spaces of the top CEOs — those of HSBC, Murugappa Group, ISGN, etc,” he says.
His creations on display included the coffee table book for the Cancer Institute, a Ganesha outlined by different instruments, the biography of inventor, entrepreneur and venture capitalist Vinod Dham captured on a one-dollar note, to name a few.
“At the age of 35, I decided to hang up my boots when I was the peak of my career. I started making things for my friends and family and I realised when you do the same for CEOs and the likes, people look at you differently,” he adds.
With a corporate background, Saksena also reckons that he had the good fortune of being looked at differently. “Artists are not valued in our country. In my case, it was a little different from the pyjama-kurta image of an artist. The respect, value and reach is more,” he says. Saksena says that art shouldn’t be restricted to mediums. “When I was at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, we had brushes, paints and canvas kept at the rooms. Art is a broad canvas and can be expressed in many forms. Writing, food, everything is art.
Apart from individual art creations, Saksena has also conducted a programme for craftspersons at DakshinaChitra, where he worked with them to revive art, which would provide them sustainable income.