Moving through Spaces: Aakash Nihalani

There is a negative connotation of character associated with artists who paint street art. They are rebellious and explosive, violent in their mission to protest, direct in the message they are trying to convey. They are painting the walls of the city, vandalizing the natural beauty of the architecture. 

But street art doesn’t always have to represent the negative aspects of an artist’s character. Voices can be heard, loud but not aggressively, through art. And these voices are not constrained to the art that is displayed publicly.

Artists strive to tell their stories, to visualize a message, to call to action their opinions, and to spark inspiration through all of their work. Street art is just seen in a larger sense and more directly impacts the viewer. 

Some street artists tamper with the integrity of the space, permanently influencing and changing the nature of the walls with paint and materials. Aakash Nihalani uses brightly colored tape to create geometric pieces of art. These fluorescent colors create basic shapes altering the appearance of the location, but never cause damage to the natural environment. 

The basic shape and structure of each piece encourages interaction by viewers, reinforcing play, creating a new perspective and depth of what art can and should be. Nihalani temporarily transforms everyday spaces, often overlooked, and highlights the overlooked aspects of a surrounding. 

“For however briefly, I am trying to offer people a chance to step into a different New York than they are used to seeing, and in turn, momentarily escape from routine schedules and lives. We all need the opportunity to see the city more playfully, as a world dominated by the interplay of very basic colors and shapes. I try to create a new space within the existing space of our everyday world for people to enter freely, and unexpectedly ‘disconnect’ from their reality.”

The repetition of isometric squares and rectangles conveys complexities of movement and space, and draws attention to what is so often passed by.

Nihalani emphasizes these spaces, the walls one passes on a daily routine, the house that has fallen into the shadows, the park that lacks wanderers, with bold graphics, to encourage an intentional interplay.

These spaces give people momentary escapes from their daily routine and asks the viewer to take opportunities to live more playfully and to adventurously step into the unknown.

“People need to understand how it is, isn’t how it has to be. My work is created in reaction to what we readily encounter in our lives…I’m just connecting the dots differently to make my own picture. Others need to see that they can create too, connecting their own dots, in their own places.”

People are meant to enter the space, to engage with the surrounding, and to disconnect from reality. Each person who interacts with the work steps away from the ordinary and mundane and becomes something extraordinary and unique. 

Nihalani’s work escapes the definition of art, and instead captures the true essence of what art can be; art has the ability to catch someone’s attention in any moments notice and alter the person’s perspective of what life is expected to be.

All artwork copyright the artist. Learn more: Aakash Nihalani.

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