It’s been a hell of an year for this guy, and as his phone pings constantly with congratulatory messages, he says this day is more special to him than his birthday! Artist At Work Productions just completed an year and we had the pleasure to converse with Rahul Maheshwari, founder, Artist At work Productions.
Q. What genre of art do you belong to? Is there something you wish to take up?
I love to make short films and I’m into graphic designing as well. Apart from that I like rap music and have some knowledge about other art forms as well. I wanted to learn more art forms, but that wasn’t happening. So AAW gave me the chance to explore the other art forms and associate myself with them. Though I don’t paint but yeah, I’ve been working with fine artists and we have done a couple of events including fine arts.
Q.Was there a defining incident or moment, where you decided that AAW was going to happen?
There wasn’t a particular moment; in fact it had been in the pipeline for quite a while. You know, I used to be a good student academically, with an inclination towards art, which was only getting stronger by the day. But, I took up economics at Delhi University against the conventional of engineering. So with economics I got a chance to unleash myself as an artist, because I got a chance to meet like minded people, and since AAW was at the back of my mind since a very long time, it materialized into this eventually.
Q. Your home produced video ‘The Difference’ went viral, were you expecting that kind of a response?
Initially when I uploaded the video, I had a target of some thousand views, but I didn’t have a time frame in mind. When we were working on the ‘homophobia’ project that’s when I met people from the queer community, and I realized that there really is no difference, so I had this idea in mind, and we completed the video in a few hours, its nothing fancy, but it’s a strong video, and I felt that it could gather attention.
Q.What, for you, was the one big challenge, and how did you overcome it?
I was never a leader in life. Popular belief goes that you can’t make it without experience, but now I know that you learn with time. I just told myself not to stress out about it and I realised that being a leader is not much of a big deal really, just that one needs to be humble and you have to kill your ego. There is this quote in ‘The Alchemist’ that I swear by, “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure”
Q. Do you have any insecurity about AAW?
I did, there were insecurities about where I will be going with my career, but now I have made up my mind. I’m taking AAW forward.
Q. How has your family reacted to this adventure of yours?
My family has been quite supportive. Obviously, initially I had a hard time convincing them, but then they see that I’m working hard. Helps to have AAW mentioned in the newspapers!
Q. Industry lessons you could give to our readers?
1) Respect your artists, be patient with them. Give them space.
2) There are a lot of people out there who would like to put you down, not necessarily because you are bad. Learn to pick yourself up.
3) Don’t hunt for success secrets in a Steve jobs book.
4) Never betray or dupe your parents into thinking that your are working.
5) Never lose hope. There was this one time when I wasn’t being able to establish contact with one of my artists, and just when I thought Id have to scrap the project, we talked, that was when I organized this events in a matter of a bunch of days. I remember making posters for this particular event just a day before, sitting on a bike outside the the Delhi Tourism office.
Q. Have you had any regrets?
No, mostly no. I believe in karma, and I also strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. It’s a time tested theory.
Q. How do you tackle a situation where one of your core team members is underperforming?
We generally hold a one on one meeting and discuss stuff, we talk to them about any grudges they might be holding, what problems they are facing and if they wish to leave, then we try to ensure that there is no more lingering animosity and that we part ways cordially.
Q. Being a college student, did you ever feel the lack of corporate experience?
Well, corporate experience makes you more stiff. And I’d have to wait for years. And with time, I’ve learnt a lot about organization and organization structures, so I saved up lot of time by not waiting for the so called ‘corporate experience’.
We prefer efficiency over number of members.
“STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM AND WE HERE. STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM AND MY WHOLE TEAM HERE.”