From Delhi’s century-old eateries to decades-old bookstores, toy stores, or textile shops, Jaipur-based artist, Aditya Raj, is spilling watercolours and painting the most iconic local spots of Delhi beautifully!
Delhi is home to many old shops. There are bakeries, restaurants, and cafes that have a legacy and are still crowded with people every single day. There are also decades-old bookstores, clothe stores, instrument shops, and other such corners serving all kinds of people. These places evoke nostalgia, and there’s something about them that takes us back in time. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? But, there’s something equally beautiful about capturing their sagas, right? This artist, who shifted to Delhi 10 years ago and fell in love with the beauty of Dilli, to the extent that he ended up doing an entire series on the city’s most iconic and oldest local shops. Aditya Raj, who originally hails from Jaipur, is one talented artist you’ll come across today. His INKTOBER 2021 series is gorgeous and spills nothing but nostalgia for all Delhiites.
“So, I have lived in Delhi for over a decade now. It’s the city that taught me my politics, gave me friends, and made me an artist. The series was a way of archiving my love for Delhi. I had intended to feature places that I have a personal connection to, like Nirulas, which was the first restaurant in Delhi where I ate when I came here to study law a decade ago, or Majnu ka Tila, where I spent countless days eating the best food! But once I started posting it all on my Instagram, it kind of took a life of its own. So many people had stories about the places I was painting. There were also suggestions as to what I should paint next and why”, said Aditya.
Aditya, who holds a degree in Law, decided to become a full-time artist in 2014 after having an exhibition in Delhi. He works mainly with water-based mediums, watercolour on paper, and acrylics on canvas. “I always enjoyed making art. But, I had not considered it as a career up until I was in my third year in law school”, he added.
The fine detailing and the correct use of small elements, make Aditya’s series a nostalgic ride. Watercolours add a unique vibe and warmth to each one of these artworks, and we simply couldn’t stop scrolling. Be it Rikhi Ram, Wenger’s, Faqir Chand & Sons Bookstore, Gole Hatti, People Tree, or any other piece, every time an image pops, we feel like opening up the door and getting right inside the shop. But, well we are not alone, many people have felt quite the same. “I have been doing art prints of the Delhi illustrations, and the response to that has been amazing. A lot of people connected to the places I paint and tell me stories of how and when they went to a particular place, and what that place means to them”, explained Aditya.
People have been receptive, and the series has been appreciated a lot. The credit goes to the hard work and the skills of this Jaipur-based self-taught artist. For the Delhi illustrations, Aditya really wanted to get the nostalgia of the places to come out, and so he poured all his efforts. “Some illustrations can take up to a week to get them right while others I might finish in a day. I wanted people to see these buildings that you pass by every day in a new light. To really appreciate how beautiful and unique they all are”, he further mentioned.
When Aditya had started with the Delhi series, he just wanted to do just 30 of them. But then he realized there are many such iconic places in Delhi, and it’s not fair to just do 30. ” So, I am going to keep making new places based on my own explorations and the suggestions that people send”, he said.
Other than this series, Aditya’s feed features some very fantastic watercolor artworks. Be it Studio Ghibli’s Totoro, another sky series, portraits, cats & doggos, city life, and many more inspired by the beauty of nature, his Instagram feed oozes comfort and makes you want to sip coffee and keep scrolling. He also does commission pieces, and there’s a lot of depth and layers in them too. “So, the process is usually collaborative between me and the client and lots of discussions goes into what they want and how I can achieve that through art”, he said.
Before waving us a virtual goodbye, Aditya talked about how he’d love to paint other cities in the same manner. ” I would love to paint more cities, travel to new places and really explore and experience them and then try and bring out that in the artworks. Also for me, the best feeling is to see my art finding a home in other people’s homes. For people to find that connection with my art and for them to experience what I experienced making the artwork.”, he concluded.
Aditya is currently only doing art prints of his original artworks. All prints are done on 300 gsm paper. The art prints of the Delhi series are all A4 in size and cost Rs.3000 each, including domestic shipping.