Meet Deb Sinha, a contemporary realist oil painter based here in Jersey City. Some of Deb's work is currently available in the Art House Gallery Online.
What are your earliest memories of the arts?
I have faint memories of drawing gods and goddesses on wooden doors of my home with white chalk. As I grew older I started drawing Bollywood celebrities and imaginary landscapes. I was an introvert child and art was my hiding place.
I grew up in a small town in India. I did not have access to the museum or great examples of arts. Then “the Internet” was not there. However, back home our day to day life was surrounded by colors and creative activities .. from decorating pandals ( fabricated temporary structures) and home with Rangoli. All of them tough me the pleasure of creating something beautiful.
Why are the arts important to you?
For a selfish reason, making art is the cheapest therapy one can get :). But seriously, can we imagine getting through this COVID crisis without art? Creation is beautiful in any form. Creation of something new from abstract hazy idea, to something that is personal, meaningful, unique, with voice and emotions is powerful.
What is inspiring you right now? Who are you following?
I just finished reading “Judgment of Paris by Ross King” a must for anyone who loves Impressionists. It is inspiring because the story tells you how a total rejection can lead to a new revolution and the birth of Impressionism. I am also watching British art show - Portrait Artist of the year” I can’t wait to paint thousands of self-portraits in various styles.
I admire the works of Velazquez, Botticelli, Ruben, Degas, Monet, Sargent, Hopper, and many others. I flow many contemporary artists, from realists to landscape artist, and teacher I have studied under. They all inspire me because they paint every day, check them out @kehindewiley, @alyssamonks @mtobiashall, @timhornart, @stephenbaumanartwork,@
Who do you look to for inspiration?
Inspiration is right here, right now, and of course, MET.
Why is painting your chosen medium? What makes painting unique?
I primarily paint in oil medium on canvas or wood panels. Oil paint creates complex layers with visible brush marks that portray my individual style. The oil medium is much more forgiving if I don't like the work I can paint over. The oil painting has been used since antiquity, I guess that lineage is what I am drawn to. I am still exploring, I want to enjoy the journey and not worry about the destination.
How has your style changed over the years?
Greatly, I think I have become bolder, searching how can I communicate more with less. I have painted with a much bigger brush then the situation asked for, experimenting with different color palettes, pushing towards abstraction. I am still rigorously studying and practicing classical atelier style drawing and painting. As Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”. Great advice!
What's your process like?
My process is a mix of well planned and spontaneous. There are projects where I spend a long time in the design phase and then execute the planned idea slowly. For spontaneous projects, I just start with a blank canvas right way. I have to connect emotionally with the subject that I am painting. Esthetics, narrative, color, focal point, composition, and other technicalities are important when choosing a photo reference. If I love the reference and if any of those points are missing I invent them. I am always looking for subjects and stories to paint, taking pictures where ever I go.
Is there a dream project you'd like to work on?
I would like to do more Plein-air paintings. A few of my dream place to paint outdoor are coastal Ireland, San Miguel, Mexico, Cuba. Till then, Jersey city has enough interesting places and subjects to paint and keep me motivated and inspired.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I would like to thank Jersey City my home away from home. I might not have picked the paintbrush again without its artistic environment she has provided me. I am glad I live and work in this very diverse community.
Please follow me on Instagram. Drop a note if you find a spot that you would like me to paint.