Dressed in a simple cream shirt and grey trousers, noted author and poet Vikram Seth settled himself on a couch with a glass of clear water. He has given numerous interviews earlier, but this time was different — he was speaking about his paintbrush and not the pen. “Any art form is an extension of oneself, whether it is prose, poetry or painting,” said Seth, as he unveiled his word paintings for Absolut Vodka on Friday.
The acrylics with multi-dimensional surface textures in earthy colours, are inspired by the motifs of Absolut Vodka bottles and have lines from poems in Devanagari, Urdu and Chinese calligraphy. “Calligraphy is a vibrant art form. I have learnt it from my Chinese master for 15 years,” said Seth, pointing at the painting in orange, with the word “Jiu” written in Chinese. “It means wine in English,” noted Seth, adding, “My seal is below the colophon.”
A work in green is inspired by Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s poem Madhushala, and has phantom-like objects floating in the air, with the words “Pyasa pyala” written in Devanagari, while another bottle in deep blue has “Na main na mai” painted in gold in Urdu.
While the project puts Seth in the same club as artists Andy Warhol, Francesco Clemente, Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher, who have all painted for Absolut, this is not the end of his visual art journey. “I will continue working with visual art but have no intention of sharing it with the public as of now,” said Seth. Another publication? “I’m waiting for ‘A Suitable Girl’ (sequel to A Suitable Boy),” he smiled.