Andre Vacha. A Person Who Inspires Me Essay Example

Tan skin, hazel eyes, and a beaming smile that emits the warmth of a golden sun. A much-emphasized attribute from the conversations I have had with his schoolmates was that his physicality is picture perfect. What people do not realize many times is that there is more to Andre Vacha than a lean body that makes one swoon over. All it takes is a firm collective belief in his potential as there is in his physical appearance. Andre not only brings an empty canvas to life with his artistry, but he also enriches the lives of those around him by painting every instance with them in the brightest of colors. He was the only one to express gratitude towards the culinary staff at his boarding school for tirelessly preparing a special dinner for its residents, and by doing so, Andre made the moment sunshine yellow. A cherry red moment would be when Andre stood under the moonlight in 12th grade one chilly night as his sister hugged him and felt comforted in his embrace when she was feeling down. In the field of art, perspective drawing maintains a focal point yet spans dimensions. Being able to dive into the depths of Andre the artist while understanding every part of what makes him was a delight.

The minimalistic tastefulness brought out by his bomber jacket with leather piping, patterned shirts, jet leather laptop bag, and semi-rimless glasses are indicative of a creative mind. “Good design is tantamount to good thinking,” he said to me during our interaction. This idea is not only reflected in work produced by him, but also in the four-walled space he resides in. Two miniature abstract paintings hanging on the wall, a table lamp with a copper finish, a cobalt blue rain drum side table adding a splash of color, bar stools, potted plants and an old friend being his classical acoustic guitar all have an industrial appeal with a focus on design. A most recent example of the minimal yet striking effect brought out in his work was when he enthusiastically designed posters for the third edition of an annual triathlon held at ‘The International School Bangalore,’ which was the school he studied at for at least five years. Be it his efforts to promote a fundraiser aimed to raise money to aid special Olympics athletes in India, or with the poster created by him as the head of the finance department for VIVUM (another annual fundraising student-led event held in school that encouraged students demonstrate a spirit of oneness), Andre says “work is the noblest thing that man has and good work is the highest aspiration that we can strive towards, and the greatest work is anonymous.” I recall Andre telling me about the poster and saying “I made it.” The exuberating happiness indicated by a 1000 watt grin matched with enlarged animated eyes is telling of the gratification he gets from his work especially creative.

Academic or artistic, Andre works with utmost dedication, unwavering focus while striving for the highest degree of excellence. In doing so, he produces work that is as refined as it is commendable, but prefers not to have the spotlight shine on him. In a fast-paced world where everyone is in a race against time to have a taste of fame atop the ladder of success, Andre Vacha, on the other hand, says, “I prize what I do more than myself.” This brings to mind anonymous British satirical street artist and filmmaker Banksy who believes that his anonymity creates “its own invaluable buzz.” The undeniable value purely of the work put out by Banksy was further highlighted when a bidder shelled out 1.4 million dollars to buy a partly shredded artwork created by the artist. Some may say that Andre stays away from the gaze of the public eye because he was on the receiving end of bullying when he entered a new school environment 340 miles away from home. He recalls losing out on opportunities in the past as a result of being too afraid to try. Looking back now, he says “At first, I remember I took everything to heart, and then what I did was I actually made friends with the people who bullied me the most.” Despite steering away from recognition, Andre draws attention towards himself with acts such as this as people are left in awe of the person he is due to the heart-warming impact his conduct has.

Being an artist himself, Andre falls back on the words of another artist namely Chuck Close as he carries on with his daily routine. The quote by Close goes as “Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just show up and get to work” and he attempts to get to work each day with a greater emphasis on him as a creator than anything else. Although, his evasion of the limelight stems from his belief that the work should speak for itself wherein the creator has no role to play. Andre’s thinking aligns with objectivism, which is a philosophy of life coined by Ayn Rand who wrote ‘The Fountainhead.’ The attainment of happiness and having a reasoned approach are two key components of objectivism. Both attributes are predominant in Andre Vacha and also play a part in molding him as an artist.

Rather than indulging in an extravagant experience, Andre finds pure joy in the simple things. Small thoughtful gestures tug his heartstrings as opposed to lavish arrangements. His appreciation for the finer aspects of life is telling of his eye for detail and hence his creativity. An ideal way for him to begin the morning is by having a cup of coffee made by his dad, which could be enjoyed in his garden. One of his most cherished memories from school is heading to the rooftop with his closest friends spontaneously and gazing at the sky until sunrise. Listening to stirring music with soulful vocals, guitar riffs, and drum beats or enjoying the cool breeze that enters his window when it rains are ordinary yet magical moments that bring Andre happiness. The greatest hallmark of art is simplicity after all.

Steadfast beliefs and unconventional thinking not only mark Andre Vacha as an intellect, but are the building blocks of his journey with art. While his parents encouraged him to read his teachers, on the other hand, encouraged him to pursue independent thinking. Unstructured thinking is key to developing fresh ideas in any creative pursuit. Andre’s devoted practice of writing essays for a few years now has nurtured his independent thinking. On asking what the essays are about, he says “Often times ideas that I tend to pick up over the course of the day.” These daily writings not only allow him to develop his thoughts but also be critical about the information he consumes be it in written or visual form. All of Andre’s essays focus on how he was thinking or what he was thinking in terms of ideas hence it is no surprise that he has multiple creative projects lined up as a mind exercised in this manner can only be a sophisticated idea machine. His exemplary and rare habit of writing two essays daily is nothing short of inspirational. What better source of inspiration than a raw bona fide artist?

Individuals who pursue creative endeavors often lack familial support. Andre Vacha has been lucky to have his family support him on his journey with art early on. “I had a decent art portfolio by the time I was seven or eight,” he tells me unfrazzled. I find it baffling why Andre describes himself as self-loathing in spite of such accomplishments. With this in mind, he says “I don’t think I have achieved anything yet that I am especially proud of. I’m still waiting for it. I am yet to have something that I have done extremely well and seen it through.” “I had two spiral bind portfolios - 150 pages each” he goes on to say. To me, this is a sign of sheer genius and untapped potential that can be let out by believing in him even when he does have enough faith in himself. Andre believes that if work produced by one is governed by an independent spirit, then people would value it more. He spoke about how he was always trying to create artwork that was distinctive with style leaning towards surrealism while everybody else stuck to drawing “parrots or landscapes.” He attributes his inclination towards the field of art to the appreciation he received from his family early on. Every time he went back home from boarding school all the drawings done by him were systematically placed on his grandfather’s bed. What followed were compliments alongside solid critique such as “you could have worked on the shading a little bit better over here,” or “you shouldn’t have traced for this one,” which could be the source of Andre cultivating an analytical approach and being a staunch art critic.

Even as a child he recollects sketching between ad breaks on coming back from school. In 9th and 10th grade Andre took up art as a subject, but dropped the subject in 11th grade. “I thought that the course was not in line with what I wanted to do with the subject,” he tells me. Andre Vacha definitely has immense respect for the field of art even though he may have lost touch with it over the last two years or so. Long after dropping the subject in grade 11, Andre still spent hours in the art room during or after school hours. At times he would attempt to create a new work of art and other times he would stay put in the art room conversing with friends or providing them with his inputs. In March 2018, the art students from his grade had a final exhibition, and Andre spent hours on end helping his classmates with the preparations even though he wasn’t a student of the subject. A reason for Andre opting out of the art course was how structured the course felt despite the opportunities to create differing work. He wanted to be experimental and was on the lookout for a sense of freedom which is integral to any artist hoping to produce new work or develop intriguing ideas. His practice of independent thinking was a mishmash with the rigid school system he was placed in. Nevertheless, he regards his experience at boarding school as pivotal even though the system did not work in his favor.

Andre goes on to say, “The International School Bangalore shaped my character by giving me something that I didn’t exactly like.” During the first year at school, Andre was bullied leading to humiliation and resentment. What I find fascinating is how Andre ensured that he was kind to others especially those younger to him as he would not want them to relive the same experiences as him. Teaching or testing that is purely theoretical without falling back on general knowledge, showing critical thinking, or demonstrating a broader perspective is quickly frowned upon by Andre Vacha. In doing so, Andre brings to light the free-thinking artist that he is. Not so much rebellion, but rather a nonconformist attitude classifies Andre as a dreamer who frowns upon rules or restraint and wants to put forward distinctive work as a creator with freedom of space, time as well as thought.

A potent ingredient for cooking up original ideas is imagination. Andre’s routine practice of reading has helped fuel his imagination and allowed him to draw inspiration that can be imparted in work produced by him. The beautifully illustrated and thought-provoking graphic novel ‘Daytripper’ is a fitting example of this. So mesmerized is he by the powerful storytelling and emotional dialogue through the way of stunning imagery that he has read the graphic novel multiple times. There’s one illustration that is Andre’s favorite, and it fills an entire page in the work. Although the choice of colors creates an ominous mood, an amber gradient depicting the sunset adds a touch of magic; the shading as well as the tonal variation for the main character and his workspace have an element of calmness to it. Andre’s appreciation of distinctive and meaningful artwork doesn’t stop at ‘Daytripper’ for he recently picked up a copy of an intricate and mesmerizing graphic novel namely ‘Habibi’ with over 600 pages for future reading.

Andre has broadened his medium of putting out creative content by infusing his artistry into videography. Self-sufficient Andre Vacha fulfilled his childhood dream of owning a DSLR by paying for the pricey camera himself in the way of deals or loans. June 2018 to July 2019 constitutes his gap year, which means an extensive amount of time for Andre not only to figure out his steps for the road ahead but also be immersed in what intrigues him. “I am planning on doing a lot of art during my gap year,” he said to me once with underlying excitement. Plans have now changed, and Andre has been creating work from the perspective of a director lately. The ‘Auteur Theory’ brought to light by critics of a French film journal states that a filmmaker is in fact an artist who has primary creative control over a production. The traits of an auteur such as being a visionary, aspiring to create meaningful work, and reflecting their personality with the choice of audiovisual elements are all synonymous with Andre’s way of work. From initially planning on being a freelance photographer for events he went on to direct a short video spreading the message of staying hopeful and moving forward in times of devastation when his home state Kerala in India was hit by floods causing emotional turmoil and all-around destruction. He has spent weeks working on an ad film for a local fast food restaurant called ‘Grill n Chill’ along with a team consisting of his friends. Every detail is prime, and Andre has been working on the digital advertisement wholeheartedly where he even edited 6 hours of footage to 90 seconds and won’t stop till he is one hundred percent satisfied. Andre brought in his art skills into the ad film too as he spent a considerable amount of time sketching backgrounds which would go on to be animated via rotoscoping. “The thing about me is that if I like something, then I tend to get very obsessive about it,” Andre tells me. “The problem is that it’s a dangerous kind of obsession wherein I spend days and nights consumed by it” he continues. Given the amount of time and energy he has devoted to the ad film, for example, is telling of the degree to which he drowns himself in the task at hand especially when it is one that piques his interest or gravitates towards the creative side. This state of being entirely invested in his creation leading to an obsession is another trait that marks Andre as a pure artist.

Other than work being reflective of a free spirit another common trait seen in an artist is striving for perfection. Perfectionism is an admirable quality to have as it allows one to be critical about what they do, surpass limitations and can be seen as a constant motivator for improvement be it on a personal or professional basis. Andre, on the contrary, says “one of the flaws that I have is that I tend to be a perfectionist.” It is the overpowering effect of perfectionism which causes Andre to be in a fraught state of mind that makes him say so. Being a perfectionist leads him to be twice as harsh while evaluating the work he puts out and missing the benchmark for a goal he sets leads to disappointment where he wishes he had done “better.”

Going back to the ad film, “even when it came to editing the video all the pieces had to be perfect” he tells me. The perfect pieces being “the hard drive with all of the media pre-recorded,” “a good workflow in place” along with “someone to do the color correction” and also knowing “how to build the music and effects into it” enabling him to begin editing without an ounce of frustration. A part of him is unsatisfied still in terms of how far he has progressed with the ad film as he is never complacent with his accomplishments and the perfectionist in him keeps aspiring for that golden standard. Andre tells me how he would like to travel back in time to “Saturday nights and keep working” on the artboard he developed for the ad film as his desire for perfection left him with a reduced amount of time in hand. Whilst most of us are entrapped in the world of pop culture on a social networking platform such as Instagram, Andre, on the other hand, says “I am trying to be conscious about the way in which I use social media. It isn’t a scrolling outlet for when I’m bored.” He follows cinematographers, directors, artists, typographers, production companies, and photographers to propel himself as a creator and supplement his brainchildren with the inspiration he draws because his visions for videography are anything but hot air.

One does not fully know Andre Vacha until they have learned of his fascination with Physics and the significant impact religion has had in his life. So thrilling is Physics for him that he has gone from attempting to delve further into the enigma of the double-slit experiment that scientists have grappled with for ages through a book to tutoring kids in his building with Physics. Andre’s initial idea of God was also developed by his understanding of science. “For the longest time I held this belief that God was like God the mathematician wherein he you know dialed in all the fundamental constants in nature, set-off the Big Bang and then since then he’s just been I don’t know laundering,” he tells me. Over time circumstances have led Andre to see a more spiritual and less rational side to God. Instead of resorting to rebellion, Andre faithfully wears a diamond studded cross around his neck at all times and spent a year writing the script for his planned short film to portray the influence of religion in his life artfully. I recall how Andre saying “I spent a year writing this script and I’m planning on making a film” during a bus ride to school was met with plain disbelief and laughter to my disapproval. A self-loathing artist will only believe in himself when the world starts applauding his ambition and stops pummeling his aspirations.

Artistry runs in the family with his mom being an interior designer, his dad an architect, and his sister an artist as well – all possessing a phenomenal skill set. Andre always attempts to “engage with art in some capacity” and with that he envisions starting his own advertising agency someday. I can undoubtedly say that regardless of where Andre is he will make the best of it. Here’s hoping that his “bold attempts” truly fill him with equal amounts of pride and happiness not only with his creations, but also when he looks at his own evolution. As for me, I couldn’t be more proud than to see him recognize the magnitude of his potential and finally try. Although Andre Vacha may shy away from the limelight, I hope his fervent work never ceases to receive the recognition it deserves. After all, he is more deserving to be on the cover of Time than GQ, which the crowd chants.


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