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Sikander Singh : A True Aesthete

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

I come from Bagha Purana, a small village in Moga district of Punjab,India. As a

kid, I was fascinated by the Kulfiwala. Not just for the kulfis, but for a portrait

of Guru Nanakji on his cart. I was seven, when I enquired where he got it made

from. On getting the address from him, I went straight to the painter, his name

was Balbir, and asked him to teach me. This was my first sign of interest in Art.

No one in my village knew what Fine Art was, my parents were happy that

everyone from relatives to the teachers appreciated me. That was enough for

them. In my junior college; one of my teachers- Mr. Nihal Singhji had studied

from the Fine Arts College in Chandigarh. I was lucky enough to get his

guidance and had made up my mind to study at Chandigarh. It was a big thing

back then. My science teacher – Gurbeer Cheema Ma’am saw my potential in

art and funded my admission to the Chandigarh College of Fine Arts. I was

financially well then, so this is a God Sent gift for me.

I reached Chandigarh and started my college. I used to come and sit by the lake

after college and practice drawing portraits. I would charge INR 50/- for a

portrait and that would be my pocket money. In a day I would make 7-8

portraits in about 5-6 hours. This was in 1998, and making INR 500/- a day

would be enough to live a good life. In fact, I was making more than most

people around me. This seemed interesting to me. The only challenge was to

sit in the hot sun and put in your best everyday. Before all this happened, there

was a time when I had to go without food for almost 20 days, but I believe all

this is a part and parcel of life.

During my days at Art College, I did not just learn Art but important life skills as

well – mainly communication and confidence. I realized my language was not

Hindi, Punjabi nor English but Art. Initially, I would shiver to go up on the stage

even to collect my awards, but slowly I developed and gained confidence.

A lot of people say – Art is a struggle. I say – Art is a struggle that you will

enjoy. And don’t think it as a struggle, but as an opportunity. Art has the

potential to change your life for the better. It all depends on how you take it.

Don’t get trapped in the money-making mindset, but focus on giving your best

and do it everyday. I have more than 15000+ sketches and artworks today. I still

practice and sketch minimum 4-5 watercolor works daily. Currently, I’m also

compiling a book of my sketches.

In 2008, I started my YouTube Channel. My skills were very basic that time. I

had only one intention – those who did not know even a bit about art, could

learn from my basic knowledge. Whatever you do, do it with good intention

and good results will follow.

Being an artist you are not dependent on anyone. You just need an art kit to

get started. And now that we have an easy access to social media, it has

become easier to promote oneself as an artist. I believe Art has never changed

– it is only people’s perspective that keeps changing. To live a good life – make

sure you know the trends in the world but follow your own rules.

Till 2009, I did a lot of oil paintings. Back then, people knew me as an artist

who worked in oil medium. I had a student who came all the way from New

Zealand to learn from me in Chandigarh. After that, he invited me for an

exhibition in New Zealand. I went there for 3 months and realized people like

my watercolor more, even though I had done a very few water color

paintings. After completing the workshop and exhibition, I recognized that

even though I have potential in watercolor, I had never put enough effort to

practice the medium. So, to polish myself, I started practising more of

watercolor then.

Balbir painter, the one who drew Nanakji on the Kulficart taught me how to

hold the brush, Master Nihal Singhji showed me the potential of the brush,

Cheema Ma’am made sure I had a brush, my mentor Ustad Sardar Satnaamji

introduced me to the world of oil painting, Milind Mulick Sir’s books

opened the world of watercolors to me and Bijay Biswal Sir pushed me to be

better at it. Throughout my journey, my parents and now my wife and son

have been my backbone and strength and made me the person who I am


To connect with the artist Instagram, Youtube.

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