In Rishikesh, we stayed on the same side of the Ganges for about 2 weeks. I spotted the first painting I enjoyed when crossing the bridge leading to Laxman Jhula. The poor elephant was barely visible, hidden behind poster ads.
From the moment we set foot in Rishikesh, we realized it had a different flavor than the other Indian cities, with a distinct hippie-artist vibe to it.
As it so happens, we had plan our trip pefectly: an art festival was taking place during our stay. Yeah ok it was pure luck. Still!
The Street Art Festival is a yearly celebration bringing together artists from all over the World.
Alone, or in big groups, it makes not matter, none can resist the call of the street painting.
Nirvan wanted me to be a part of the event, but I didn’t feel ready or competent enough, after so many months without any kind of practice whatsoever.
Some of the paintings caught my eyes more than others, like these "stencil" paintings (technique often used in Street Art, like say Banksy). I ended up being lucky (Yes, AGAIN) enough to meet with the artist himself, Tona, who spoke about his art while sharing Tchaï tea and a slice of homemade pizza with us. (Thanks Nirvan!)
Even the aggressive monkeys and the dogs are part of the festival!
I had the good surprise of witnessing a signpainter at work: swift and precise, his freehand style is quite impressive.
One of my cute crush, this tiny kulfi trolley (sweet cardamome ice cream)
Every day I got to admire (or not) all kind of well designed (or not) signboards.
During one of our (many) strolls, we befriended Preety, who deftly managed to sew a laundry bag out of one of the useless Holi clothes we had in our bags since our visit of Jaïpur.
She tells us about Lukesh, her husband, owner of a proud little tatoo parlor on the opposite bank of the Ganges. We make small talk, become fast friends, and I even get to play the art teacher with him for a while, covering a few basics.
Without any trace of hesitation, he asks me to paint the letters for the parlor’s frontage.
I admit being the hesistant one here, not having practiced (AT ALL, the pressure) since the begining of our travels...Oh well, here goes nothing!
Lukesh bought a few supplies for the occasion, namely two coarse brushes and some oil paint.
I’m as rusty as on old nail, but I try my best.
I start with a layer of white paint on all the letters, followed by a second oneduring the afternoon.
The following morning, it’s time for the yellow lining on the side of the letters. Who needs 3D glasses!
After working (and sweating profusely) for 2 days, this is the result.
Yes, it’s a bit crooked here and the, but I was happy to land a hand to Lukesh.
And who knows, maybe one day, when I come back, the letters will still be there, crooked in all their glory, a testament to my visit in Rishikesh :)