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Featured Artist: Tejbir Singh

(Rachna Singh talks to Tejbir Singh, listen to the podcast)

The Wise Owl interviews Tejbir Singh, a contemporary painter (mixed media), who currently lives and works in Bahrain. Tejbir Singh is an architect by profession. Art has always been an integral part of his body and soul. He was inspired to draw and paint at a very young age. The body of works that echo his inspiration rightly and prominently are 'Urban Landscapes'. These landscapes are inspired a lot by his travels. He occasionally dabbles in Abstracts, Landscapes and Portraits too. He uses mixed media with prominent use of markers and sketch pens which help him in detailing the elements along with soft pastels, water colours & oils.

His recent exhibition at Nehru Centre London (27th – 31st August), titled – 'From an Architect’s Travelogue' , featured urban landscapes from his travels all over the world, but prominently from London & Europe. These mirror his inspiration as well as his fascination with architectural heritage & the urban fabric of cities. The same theme was carried over to the exhibition in Artifact Gallery.  

Q. What is the creative force and inspiration behind your artistic work? Is there any person or milieu, you can attribute your creativity to? 

A. My surroundings inspire me and the inspirations can come from surprising things like 'footprints in the sand', or some shadows I may see while walking or a scene out of the window of a plane or a scene at sunset or the built environment around me. When something inspires me I feel the urge to capture it in my artwork. Here I would like to mention my parents who greatly encouraged me in my formative years.

Q. You have often said that your first love is oils. What is it about this medium that catches and holds your interest? 

A. I think it has something to do with the fact that my art teacher in school started me on oils pretty early & my early years as an artist were with this medium. I love this medium because it has a certain richness about it and it allows you to work and rework on it till you’ve got all the gradations and finer nuances right. Also it is a medium with which you can create a lot of depth.

Q. All your paintings have a lot of detailing. For instance, the paintings entitled 'The Classic Multistorey' as well as well as 'Storm gathering Over the City' shows windows of high-rise buildings, streetlights, the streets etc in great detail. Does your training as an architect help you to create such paintings? How long does it take for you to finish such paintings?

A. Since I started studying architecture and working in this profession, the intermingling between my profession and passion started happening and the subjects of my artworks started veering towards Urban landscape and yes, the penchant for detailing is definitely a result of my profession.  Since I am not a full-time artist, a painting like ‘The Classic Multistorey’ can take a few weeks to complete since there is lot of detailing in it.

Q. Your cityscapes remind one of some of the paintings of Rackstraw Downes, like 'IRT Elevated Station at Broadway and 125th Street', although his work is largely in oils. Were you inspired by his work?

A. Not really. The artists that inspired me and the ones I admire most are the impressionists. Van Gogh, Cezanne, Monet, Gaugin were just amazing. Their usage of colours and the treatment of the subjects was just incredible. Now also when I visit a museum or gallery, I look for the collection of the works of Impressionists.

Q. Do you paint using a photograph or do you stand at the site and paint from real life?

A. It really depends on the subject and the time I have but, in most cases, it is a combination of both. I do some quick sketches at site and back it up with photographs. However I generally keep going back to the site, if possible.  Many times the subjects are at locations where I am just passing by & will not be revisiting or it is from the top of a flyover where it’s not possible to stand and paint hence photographs assume great importance.

Q. Out of the contemporary lot of painters, who do you like the most and why? 

A. This might sound strange, but perhaps due to my preoccupation with my profession I don’t get to follow the contemporary art scene as much as I should and hence there is no particular contemporary artist I follow. For me it’s still the Impressionists even though my works are quite different from theirs.

Q. If you were given a Time Machine, which painter would you like to go and meet? 

A. Has to be Van Gogh. The guy was a magician with colours- an absolute genius.

Q.  You have a demanding professional life. How do you juggle the demands of a professional life and the call of your Muse? Do you have to, at times, supress your creative impulses because of your profession?

A. I try, if possible, to find time to paint, during early mornings or weekends but it’s not always possible so I try to paint whenever I am a little free. This way I don’t have long periods of inactivity. Though there are times when you end up suppressing your creative urges.

(Listen to the Podcast of the Interview)


Featuring the works of Tejbir Singh

Aerial  view with black roads(markers, soft pastels & pencil colours)_edited.jpg

Aerial View with Black Roads

Markers, soft pastels and pencil colors

Storm gathering over the City

Markers, soft pastels and pencil colors

Storm Gathering over the city( markers, soft pastels & pencil colours).jpg
Aerial View-New York Financial Harbour(markers, soft pastels & pencil colours).jpg

Aerial View New York Financial Harbor

Markers, soft pastels and pencil colors

The Classic Multistorey

Markers, soft pastels and pencil colors

The Classic Multistorey( markers, soft pastels & pencil colours).jpg
Rest _ Piccadily( markers & water colours),.jpg


Markers, watercolors

Golden Temple on a winter morning

Soft pastels

golden temple on a winter morning(soft pastels).jpg
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