Her 'sole' concern is colourful, quirky

Nine years ago, Priyanka Oberoi was caught in a dilemma. With her father being an officer of the Indian Navy and mother an art teacher, Oberoi didn’t seem to be too sure about the career path she was going to take.

“I have always loved to travel and with my father being in the Navy, the shores and the seas always found a deep resonance in me,” she said. By the middle of 2005 though, Oberoi had found her true calling. “I chose art over anything else. I realised that while I might love to travel a lot, art was in my blood,” she said.

After spending close to six years in art colleges and three years working for others, Oberoi is the owner of Coffee Harbour, a creative unit which specialises in painting accessories that include bags, shirts and the trademark shoes.

“I am completely overbooked. I have to finish my previous orders and it takes me half-a-day to paint one shoe. Let alone the orders I receive from people who want me to paint their clothes, walls and so on,” said the 26-year-old.

It is infact the shoes that have been making a lot of noise in various social circles of the Capital. Photographs of fleet shoes sporting faces of famous personalities like Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe and socialist comedian Charlie Chaplin, have been circulating on social networking websites for quite some time. “The work is completely based on what we call ‘word of mouth’. People hear about my work and they call to place an order,” Oberoi told Metrolife.

Currently operating from her home in Noida, she told this paper, that before her joining the Delhi College of Arts, she had absolutely no experience with painting. “My friends and family were surprised to see me getting admission in a top arts college. I was surprised myself,” she said smiling. “In my college days I started painting on photographs. That was my thing and friends requested me to paint on their photographs,” she said.

Oberoi went on to do her post graduation from National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad after which she worked in the creative team of Wizcraft. In 2011 she was hired as the staff photographer at Sports Illustrator but she soon quit owing to what she referred as ‘monotony of a job’. “I dreaded the fact that I may not be able to do anything else other than my job. I decided to branch out and there has been no turning back,” she said.

After spending almost a decade working on her skills, Oberoi now is a trained painter, photographer and ceramic artist. And many of her works include the fusion of all her skills.

In February, last year, she held her first-ever solo exhibition at her grandfather’s garden which she named ‘Coffee Harbour’. Later, the name would extend to her creative unit. “Coffee symbolises essence and harbour means travel to me. Both of them are close to my heart and that’s why I served coffee at my first exhibition and not wine, which is the most preferred choice of people who come to such exhibitions,” she
told Metrolife.

Oberoi also expressed her wish to paint more on social issues, drug addiction being her top priority. Asked about the core theme of her art work, she responded, “It’s love. Just to love each other is such an uphill journey but everyone must endure it.”

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