Vikas Soni’s first foray into the world of art was at the age of 10 when he would spend time at his father’s miniature painting studio in Jaipur. Since then Vikas Soni has experimented with hand-painting, often giving traditional art forms a more contemporary spin—including the mesmerising murals in the Bar Palladio, the lounge in Narain Niwas Palace Hotel, Jaipur. ELLE speaks to him about what inspires his strokes of creativity.
ELLE: Tell us a bit about your background.
Vikas Soni: I belong to a family of artistes. My grandfather was a goldsmith who worked on meenakari jewellery. My father was a miniature painter who used leather and paper to create art works that earned him a National Award by President of India in 1982. So becoming an artist came naturally to me.
ELLE: Who was your inspiration when you grew up?
Vikas Soni: My father has always been my biggest inspiration and now I also look up to Marie-Anne Oudejans, who has taught me a lot about mixing Indian and Western art influences since we met in 2012.
ELLE: What was your vision for painting the frescoes in Bar Palladio?
VS: When we started working on the murals at Bar Palladio, we were completely confused with about what colours to choose. We couldn’t even find the right tone of blue for the base. After days of experimenting with prefixed colour tones available in the market, we decided to create our own colour scheme from scratch. It took us eight long hours to mix and match different colours just to get that perfect shade of blue. The entire artwork was ready in 6 months.
Murals of flamingos and parrots hand-painted by Vikas Soni at Bar Palladio
ELLE: How difficult does it get to give a contemporary touch to traditional art forms. How do you make both the worlds meet?
VS: As long as you have a good partner with a clear vision, it isn’t difficult to blend both contemporary and traditional art. Right from creating the mood-board to the execution, we just enjoyed ourselves. And the best part is that it was all spontaneous and original.
ELLE: What’s most exciting aspect of working with Marie-Anne Odejans?
VS: I admire her capability to immerse herself wholly into every project. Not only is she extremely creative but also very particular about every aspect of the project, from art to furniture, linen and crockery.
ELLE: What is the best feedback you have got for your work?
VS: When I completed my second project with Marie-Anne, the Gem Palace showroom in Mumbai, it’s owner Siddharth Kasliwal fondly called me ‘The Vikkaso of India’. He told me that he was so impressed with my work that he could actually liken me to the great painter Pablo Picasso.
Mural by Vikas Soni
ELLE: When not creating art, what do you like doing?
VS: I love long drives and exploring new places. So I am usually travelling, trying to take a break from the city and learn as much as I can from nature, which in turn influences my art style.
The interiors of Bar Palladio
ELLE: Which is the next project you are excited about?
VS: I am working on a panelling project, which is a lot like creating wallpaper but made of fabric, that can be customised by clients for their interiors.