Friday, March 24, 2017

Claymation commercial

I have been thinking if I should continue to do freelance commissions or pursue fine art full time. I do learn from the commissions but sometimes it is exhausting and I wonder if it is time to change things.
Sharing a few images from the commercial we did this month. It was a collaboration with friends. Will share the video and more photos once they release it officially.

Still from the film:

Ajanta Caves

I was very young the first time we visited Ajanta caves, Buddhist site of worship with monasteries. It was 1997. I remember being amazed by the scale and magnitude of the work of art.. It was beautiful.
After coming back from Poland I joined IDC in December and got to work on Ajanta project for two months. The project was to develop a virtual reality app, where one can visit the caves virtually and read and follow the Jataka stories painted on the walls, depicting past lives and rebirths of Buddha. The paintings are 1000s of years old and most of them have either faded or completely destroyed over the years.  So in the app, we are trying to show the lost part that is digitally reconstructed for the viewer to make sense of the entire painting. It was nice to redraw the lines and interesting to recreate what was already gone or might fade away in a few decades- but we had to try and keep the visual style same. I was working on Cave number 16, Simhala story.
Here is the part of the wall I was working on:
After the reconstruction of lines it looked something like this:

Close-up of bottom right corner. Before and after the overlaid lines: 

It is inspiring when you realize that the work on the caves was started in 2nd century BC. Use of mirrors to reflect the sunlight onto the walls. Hundreds of artists carving and painting to create this beautiful, spiritual work of worship and art, cutting through the rock mountains.. Wondering how it would have all looked when they would have lit 100 lanterns illuminating these beautiful, delicate paintings and the carving. It would have been a delight for the eyes and the soul. Listening to the chanting, echoes and being surrounded by all things beautiful. The monks would enter the main door and then go to their rooms for meditation. We live in the world of copyrights and here is something so beautiful... created by thousands of artists, thousands of years ago all anonymous. Not just beautiful, but inspiring, and influential to the art that followed.

I love the color palette. Use of natural pigments gives limited but bright color range, resulting in a pleasing harmony. Blues were obtained from Afghanistan, from lapis lazuli. And green was made either by mixing the yellow ochres with blue or with Gluconite Sandstone.

This time when I went, I had better understanding of the stories, buddhism teachings, and I do understand what religion tries to say.. So things were quite relatable. And calming. You feel at peace when you enter through the main door. I was with colleagues and friends who knew quite a few about the Jataka stories, sculptures and the history, so it was nice to connect things. Prashant, who was visiting the caves for the third time, showed the pillar where John Smith, the British officer who discovered the caves in 1819 and inscribed his name on the mural to mark his dicovery. Good or bad, it was interesting.. How people want to be remembered and leave their mark. 
 It's been a month that we are back but every time I see the photos, it makes me happy. May be one day I will paint my wall with stories. Just one wall. I do want to. Will be a nice reminder to be good. I wonder where all the patrons have gone. If there will ever be a project of this scale and craftsmanship.