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The Draftsman | Ishaan Lamba

Suchita posted on 11 November

By Sakhshi Mahajan

When I joined the art world, the common piece of advice I would get from most people was that a discerning eye only comes with more experience. My eye is becoming stronger, because I am seeing more, reading more, and inadvertently learning more about art. When I visit artists, my study of their work starts from their draftsmanship. I agree with Salvador Dali - “drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating, it is either good or bad.” It is also a medium that I engage with the most; I inevitably spend maximum time with a good drawing that is a composition of different elements. Visual elements include line, color, shape, form {volume}, texture and value {tone}.

Ishaan Lamba is an eclectic artist based in New Delhi. Though I have viewed his work over the past few years, I recently got the chance to talk to him at length. He plays with various mediums, but his drawings have always stood out for me.

Lamba studied the History of Arts and Aesthetics from MSU Baroda and also spent 2 years at the University of Tasmania, Australia, focusing on furniture design and sculpture. His time in Baroda gave him a chance to study Art History in depth; he believes the knowledge and understanding of the subject has definitely been very valuable. Additionally, the stint in Tasmania is responsible for his passion for materiality and interest in working with simple and traditional materials like clay, metal and wood. For him, dabbling in various materials has happened over the years, but drawing has always been a continual process.

His drawings are a result of a collaboration of human and animal forms with a reference to ephemeral states in life. In my opinion, the work is a repository of many visual thoughts and is inspired by subconscious motivations - thoughts that exist in his mind, but he is not aware of them. His expression of the transient nature of life is quirky and compelling at the same time.

The latest series of portraits of para-human forms have a touch of rawness to them. The calming gaze of his imaginary portrait-sitters drew me to his artworks. Some were eager, while others looked vacant.

The visual elements that were the most appealing were the form, texture and the tonality. Interestingly, the form is drawn very fast but it is rendered later. He used pen and water colors {that act like inks} and has managed to maintain a great consistency and smoothness. The hues of yellow and orange have been blended beautifully in the work below. The quality and depth of colors, particularly the gradations from light to dark, give it a graphic like look.


Ishaan also uses symbolism in his work to make it more referential. For example - he coupled the form of a matchstick with that of bones to reflect anatomy as well as the inevitability of death {a person is going to die and eventually burn and go}. The collarbones in the image below are an example of such symbolism in his work.

There is an interesting exploration of primordial elements in this artist's work. From the skeletal forms in his drawings, to the material he uses in his three-dimensional work, to the source of his inspiration. He has been experimenting constantly and that facet of human error is beautifully woven into his work.




Besides being a draftsman, he is also ceramicist. His work will be showcased for the first time in a group show, ‘Synergy’ at the Stainless Gallery, New Delhi, from Thursday the 15th to Monday the 18th of November 2013, from 11 am to 7 pm.