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Framed
January 14, 2015

Holiday on Canvas

Text by Huzan Tata

Get a different perspective on vacation photos through Schandra Singh’s latest works

For New York-based artist Schandra Singh’s latest show of artworks, God Don’t Like Ugly, inspiration came from something not many capture on canvas – the vacation industry. The paintings on display have been done using oil colours on linen, some pieces being almost 10 feet tall. The process of creating her pieces is as interesting as the finished artworks – from hundreds of photos from vacation spots, Singh selects one, and translates it through an extensive series of drawings. One of these is then used as the basis for a painting, with elements from other sketches being incorporated. ‘Each step removes the image further from the subject, turning the person from an individual into a projection of the artist’s psyche, filtered through the facets of her own gaze,’ says the note for the show. It may change the way we look at holiday pictures permanently.

5 Questions with the artist, Schandra Singh

  1. Artistic motivations “It’s my form of expression, my form of speaking. I ingest a lot – by painting, I am able to reach a moment of creating that feels pure and right for me to express how I feel.”
  2. Inspirations “I am inspired by people who make positive changes in the world – Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Edie Windsor. Then artists who are visionaries and speak for their time like Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Alfredo Jarr, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and the German Expressionists. Also, people who are in difficult situations but are able to smile…this inspires me.”
  3. On the wall at home “Henri Matisse, Basquiat, Alexander McQueen, Huma Bhabha, Jason Fox and Ellen Gallagher”
  4. Concerns that find a place in your art “My studio and home are in an economically depressed area and it is difficult to see such poverty. I think poverty is one issue I am constantly reminded of and think about. My work is about façades that mask our inner selves. How do you walk by that person on the street who is suffering and keep up that facade? How do you keep up that smile?”
  5. If not an artist you would be…“An archaeologist and anthropologist. Deep down, I am fascinated by people, their surroundings and stories…I also love history.”

God Don’t Like Ugly is on display at Thomas Erben Gallery, New York until February 14, 2015.

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