This little girl of UKG C was lost in her natural exploration; writing beautifully and drawing colourfully giving away her artistic expressions. She would be oblivion to that recalcitrant strand that almost blocked her view of His light was guiding her all through. ‘Children, put away everything,’ Miss would announce in class but the little artist would thrust the pack of crayons safely under her arm. She would gape at Miss with a questioning eye, ‘Why can’t I draw and paint for just a while?’ The colours would squirm and wriggle for they yearned to yield to the little master’s art form. She grew up to be the most sought-after creative artist of Sophia Girls School, Meerut as she was constantly engaged in the creative fields. Yes! Meet the calligraphy artist Kamaljeet Kaur who has styled Gurmukhi with ease and elan. A professor who quit her job for the universe conspired and put her in the league of artistic stars.
We are indeed delighted to share Kamaljeet Kaur’s artistic journey that is designed by the grace of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev ji and His all-encompassing Mool Mantar that she calligraphed to begin her career in calligraphy.
BV: You don several artistic hats that require skill, perfection, and immense patience. What are you at heart- a painter, a calligraphy artist or a photographer?
Kamaljeet Kaur: I am a born artist. My creative interests are several as they are powered by a strong passion to realize my potential as an artist. There are no distortions or ambiguity of any kind. Photography is my passion, I paint exclusively for my clients in India as well as abroad but my first love is Calligraphy.
BV: Do you reflect upon your life as an artistic statement of sorts? Share your story that evolved with the help of inked nibs, paints and brushes.
Kamaljeet Kaur: Colors and brushes have always been my weakness since childhood. I was awarded prizes for my creativity from the time I was addressed as a tiny tot of UKG-C. I grew up in a congenial atmosphere where smiles encouraged and a pat on the back coaxed little ones to explore life. I did not have a laptop with softwares to help me select a font or paint and brush. We were children who explored nature with the aid of the limitless mind. As a result, skills were developed and horizons broadened as naturalness reigned supreme. Creative opportunities came my way and I started designing the school magazine and also participated in all art projects with my creative peers. Calligraphy always fascinated me and I loved to create fonts. Finally, after 2004, I knew it had to be Gurmukhi Calligraphy. I was meant to style the Mool Mantar. After that, there was no looking back as my work was admired in India as well as abroad.
BV: Is calligraphy a natural skill that finds an essential pre-requisite in a beautiful handwriting or an acquired one that flourishes with practice?
Kamaljeet Kaur: The fascination and flair are natural but this skill can definitely be acquired with practice. I conduct Calligraphy workshops and invite all age groups to learn this art form.
My recent brush calligraphy workshop in Chandigarh was a great success. My participants were people from different walks of life like bakers, graphic designers, artists, doctors, civil services officer, creative homemakers, and students from various streams. I shared my knowledge about the art and tools. Calligraphy is a health therapy and keeps us stress-free. It is akin to meditation.
BV: What made you choose Gurmukhi for calligraphy? Isn’t it rare for someone to pick a language that is usually not taught in convent schools?
Kamaljeet Kaur: Now this is a million dollar question! I went to a convent school with no inclination to learn Gurmukhi even though it was my mother tongue and I am not proud to share my lack of interest for the same. But in 2004, when I calligraphed the Mool Mantar, I was mesmerized by the divine power that blessed me with the mystic realization of oneness with it.
BV: Your formal education does not support the present credentials that have won laurels for you in India and abroad. Was there a conflict that was resolved as you matured?
Kamaljeet Kaur: Yes, I can say there was a conflict between working all along to become a professor and then going on to choose a full-time career as a calligraphy artist. Though I enjoyed teaching, calligraphy made my soul whisper sweet nothings about inner satisfaction and I attribute the sheen of fame and admiration to my Guru and the Mool Mantar. I took the plunge and here I am smiling with my eyes and tirelessly treading on the creative journey of my life.
BV: What was intrinsic to your artistic self from the time you were a little girl? Share reminiscences that now make you realize that you were perhaps destined to be what you are.
Kamaljeet Kaur: My parents have memories of me as a three-year-old creating hideout behind the sofa to create a whole world of my scribbles on the wall. Crayons would break and roll off to rest their reduced selves beneath the sofa and other pieces of furniture in the house. They would catch hold of me by pushing the furniture away. Colours were the only gifts I wished for. My passion grew with age and breaks in between study hours would mean dabbing the canvas with colours or sketching caricatures. I was the cartoonist for my school magazine and my teachers could foresee an artist in the making.
BV: Your work has an expression of perfection to it on one hand and looks impregnated with peace on the other. Describe your inner self to the readers. Are your varied roles of a homemaker, mother, daughter, and wife as tranquil as your art forms?
Kamaljeet Kaur: I have often received these compliments from the viewers saying my work gives them peace and helps them connect with the Supreme. Yes, in my personal life, I am in tune with my surroundings and relations. I am very transparent when it comes to my relationships and believe in the sincerity of purpose in life. I have kept my social circle rounded and short as it keeps me away from all negativity. I would suggest all creative people keep away from unnecessary negative contacts so that they can make the best use of available time. I am blessed for I am able to give my best in my varied roles as a wife, mother, professional and daughter. My family is close-knit and we are always there for each other. My inner peace gives a sense of security to my daughter for she knows that she can confide in me.
BV: Aneeq, Sadaf, and Aakaar are the exhibitions that gave you immense appreciation and fan following.You even made it to the Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy in Moscow. How did you prepare and manage the varied platforms?
Kamaljeet Kaur: My exhibitions are a result of 2-3 years of sheer hard work. I wanted to take Gurmukhi Calligraphy to a higher level. The exhibition in Russia was, of course, special and I am humbly thankful for the love and adulation I received there. I feel that the divine has showered me with His grace to pioneer and connect the youth to this divine script through my exhibitions in India. My stoles, scarves, pots, and lamps are adorned with the beautiful Gurmukhi fonts calligraphed on them and are quite popular.
BV: What made you choose to be a photographer that creates memorable moments for young brides and little children?
Kamaljeet Kaur: The young bride fascinates me. The fervour of festivity and colors in a wedding excite me. The joy on the faces of the newlyweds who look forward to a new life always make me happy. Moreover, a bride is most comfortable with a female photographer. She can shed her inhibitions and pose. The innocence of kids is unmatched and it is sheer bliss to capture their priceless expressions.
BV: Can you tell us about the most unimaginable yet creative way in which you have used calligraphy as an artist?
Kamaljeet Kaur: Tattoos. Yes! I design tattoos for a clientele of varied interests. Some want calligraphic representation of loved ones, some are happy with inspirational quotes and many adhere to quotes from religious scriptures. Recently, I designed a tattoo for an Australian client who wanted a free-flowing Gayatri Mantra for her back and a similar one was done for a Japanese lady a few years back.
BV: Is art your ambition or mission? Please explain.
Kamaljeet kaur: I would say both! My mission is my ambition. I aspire to do better and take this art of Gurmukhi Calligraphy to a higher level.
Kamaljeet Kaur Talks About Calligraphy In Her Television Interview
The first thing that comes to your mind when asked about what-
You love – Colors
You hate- dishonesty and fake people
Your greatest strength- my faith and my family
Your weakness- my daughter
Your precious jewel- my daughter
Your creative corner- window seat in my bedroom and my studio
Your favourite outfit- Black dress and preferably from FabIndia. Traditional silver jewellery is love!
Cherished destination- Mumbai
Unforgettable moment- Let’s be a lil filmy….when I met Shahrukh Khan
A quote to live by-
Tu shaheen hai parvwaaz hai kaam tera
Tere saamne aasmaan aur bhi hain
Isi roz-o-shab main ulajh kar na rah ja
Ke tere zameen par makaan aur bhi hain
Gaye din ke tanha tha main anjuman mein
Yahaan ab mere raazdaan aur bhi hain…. Allama Iqbal
( Translation: You are an eagle/ a falcon, the flight is your calling.
You have other skies before you to conquer,
Don’t entangle into mere day and night,
There are many other destinations calling you,
Gone are the days when I was lonely in this world,
Many here are my confidants now.)