New Delhi: Writer-poet Vikram Seth's nuanced literary output reveals a deep love for the arts and now the internationally acclaimed author has gone public with his passion for painting through the iconic Absolut ad campaign.
Using poetry, calligraphy and colours, Seth unveiled here last evening the "ABSOLUT Seth" a series of three acrylic-on-anvas paintings, in which the author interprets the iconic bottle.
The author follows in the footsteps of fashion designer Manish Arora as well artist couple Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher to become the fourth Indian to be part of the global ad campaign, which features prominent artists beginning with pop icon Andy Warhol.
"In last few years I have spent much more time doing art I one form or another other than writing; for some reason, I have had a visual obsession. When I was approached to do something with this iconic shape, I wondered whether I would find it constraining to use it. But in fact I found it inspiring," says Seth.
For his poetry anthology "The Rivered Earth" released in 2011, the 59-year-old author had also written four pieces of calligraphy in Chinese, Hindi, English and Arabic as an accompaniment to the book.
"I have been painting for the last 8-9 years and working on calligraphy from Nassar Mansour, a Turkish master in Arabic calligraphy," says Seth.
His first painting for the campaign the "Chinese-Jiu-Vir rasa" features a red bottle with bold black calligraphy set against an orange background. Smaller calligraphic characters which translates into "Vikram Seth wrote this in Delhi," are painted onto the canvas.
The second canvas has "Na Maain Na Mai" in gold urdu letters spiralling down a blue bottle.
For the third work a bottle green painting, Seth has words 'Pyasa Pyala', in Devnagiri, etched across it.
"I call myself a romantic realist and not a postmodernist. All my works are inspired by something or the other. Here I was inspired by Pushkin, any intense feeling prompts me to write or paint. I wanted to do something new, maybe I could have worked on one particular painting, but here I have gone ahead and done three," says Seth.
The author who has been painting for many years and has sculpted in bronze, stone, clay, plaster and wood says he has no plans to turn professional.
"I don't paint for a show. I just paint when it comes to me it is a form of art and I chose this medium for the campaign," says the author who is readying for release next year of "A Suitable Girl," the sequel to his "A Suitable Boy."

All of the iconic bottle designs for Absolut are presently housed at the Museum of Wine and Spirits in Stockholm.


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