Colored Dreams - Nidhi Uttam the artist

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Art is all around us and Nidhi Uttam has been living and breathing it since she was a child. An actor by chance, Nidhi’s first love has always been design and hectic shooting schedules have not stopped her from pursuing her passion. In “ Yeh Rishta kya kehlata hai” she plays the demure and soft-spoken Nandini…but talk to Nidhi about graphics and her eyes light up with excitement. Tinsel Gupshup talks to Nidhi Uttam about her first love…


TG: How did you get interested in design?

NU: I think since childhood I was artistically inclined because even as a child I was always drawing, painting and sketching. I remember when I used to sharpen my color pencils, the colorful peels would inspire me to stick them together to make a flower and then I would draw the leaf and stem to complete the picture. So, basically even as a little girl I was drawing inspiration from all the abstract shapes and structures around me and then the artist in me would try and give them a perspective from my point of view!


I basically came to Mumbai to pursue a course in design and animation. I never ever thought that I would become an actor! Actually, design was my passion and I was a NIFT aspirant too. So all my life I had been working to get into the designing field but I suppose destiny had other plans for me. I got spotted by Ekta Kapoor and acting just happened. Even though I have been in the television industry for 5-6 years now, I am still passionate about designing and I keep taking up freelance work.



TG: Canvas, pencil, animation, photography....what is your favorite art?

NU: It will be very hard for me to choose any one of the above as my favorite form of art because I see each as a stage in my life, since childhood to now! Each form is incomplete without the other and I believe that I am made up of all of them. I have learnt and developed so much as an artist just because I have never restricted myself to just one art form. As an artist, I think it is very important to experiment and have freedom of imagination because that will provide the confidence in design ability.



TG: Who has influenced your work?

NU: My identical twin – Nishi has always inspired and encouraged me. She is extremely creative and a graduate from NIFT. When we finished high school, we started a company called “Twins Collection” and we used to make handcrafted cards for all special occasions. There was actually a huge demand for our cards and products because they were unique. Since we are twins, our creativity and design impressions are very similar so we always turn to each other for any kind of input and advice. When she was at NIFT, she would learn all kinds of new things and then teach me. Even today, if I am busy with a shoot and I need some help on a design project, I’ll take her advice on it. Apart from Nishi, Meenakshi di and her family have been a source of unlimited encouragement and support. Last but not the least in any way, mom and dad have been my source of energy…their love and encouragement have fuelled my creativity. Their smile is the inspiration to some of my best work!



TG: What is your design style - classic, retro, contemporary...?

NU: I feel that a designer needs to very flexible to keep pace with the client’s ideas. Most of the time, the client’s thought or vision is quite random. So, it becomes the designers responsibility to be able to understand that random thought, get the gist of it and then elaborate on it in the most creative and constructive way! So, restricting yourself to just one design style will actually be constraining to the whole process. Having said that, I do consider myself to be more of a contemporary designer but as I mentioned, the ability to adapt is key to good design.



TG: What is a typical design process for you?

NU: I don’t have a set process because it changes on the basis of different projects and requirements. I do follow a few steps when I start a new design project to get clarity and achieve the best results. So, I start with a design brief where I try and understand the client’s vision and thoughts and I’ll ask a lot of questions to get a clear picture. Then starts the research work where I’ll use my imagination to draw up a rough idea and create a path for where the design is headed. Then comes the part where I start with simple sketching and this is where I will merge my ideas with those of the client’s for basic approval on designs. Sketching really helps bring everything together and is followed by Rendering or finalizing the design after which I will work on the presentation part of the design. This is a very important step because you may have a beautiful design but if you don’t present it to the client properly it will look very unprofessional.



TG: What part of the process excites you the most and what part do you find the most challenging?

NU: I enjoy the whole process. According to me the research work is the most important and most challenging as well because it lays the foundation for the entire design. It is the part of the process where you need to finalize colors, patterns, fonts etc so there is a lot of brainstorming, going back and forth, trial and error involved. The most exciting part of the process is when all the sketch work, color patterns, fonts etc come together on the screen just as I had imagined and visualized them in my mind. It feels amazing to see my thoughts come alive on the screen. Once I start a project, I am really curious to see what the final design will look like so I can sit through the whole night till I finish it.



TG: What is your favorite piece of work from another artist?

NU: I have many inspirations so I can’t just name one artist or one favorite piece of work. Even as a child, I would get inspired by simple things that our teachers would teach us. I was inspired by my senior – Nidhi Wadhwa. She is a commercial artist and runs her own book company. She is very artistic and I do look upon her as an inspiration.



TG: How do you position yourself as a designer? Do you do what the client asks you to or do you stick to your artistic instincts?

NU: With every passing day, I am growing as a person, an artist and as a designer. I feel blessed because with God’s grace and all the encouraging factors in my life, I have managed to make my way from good to better and I am not going to stop till I have mastered all the different facets of design. I believe that there is still so much for me to learn and explore because imagination has no boundaries!


As I mentioned earlier, clients have an idea of what they want but most of the time what they visualize is a very basic design. They have a picture in their minds of what their consumers should think of in order to create a brand association. So, my goal is to blend my ideas with the clients vision and trust me, when they see their basic idea turning into a contemporary design or logo…I love the smile and nods of approval…that in itself is a huge reward for me!



TG: Have you ever seen a design, logo, ad etc on TV or print and thought that you could have done a better job at it?

NU: Yes, that happens all the time. Basically, I can’t switch my creative mind off so I do look at everything from an artist’s perspective! Not many people know this but when I was in school, I had designed an ad for a contest and it won the first prize. Since then I had always wanted to work in an ad agency and even now my goal is to hopefully open an ad agency at some point. Advertising is such a huge industry and you can be as creative as possible, both in print and visual ads. As an actor I have worked in a few ads and if they ever asked me for suggestions, I would have loved to get involved in the creative process.



Once “Rishta” completed two years, I had designed a calendar for the show. So, I took photographs of every actor, crew member, technician, spot dada, hairstylists etc and I never told them why I was taking the photographs. I compiled all the photographs and made a calendar and presented it to my producer and everyone saw it and loved it so much, they asked me for a copy. My producer, Mr. Rajan Shahi was so touched, he called me and said that the calendar was so beautiful and it was more special and precious than any award he had ever received! It took me 10-12 days to make the calendar and I remember I was up each night designing, compiling but it was worth all the effort. All those memories of this beautiful show captured in one calendar…I was able to bring together my passion of designing with my career, my friends and my life and present it to my loved ones!




Life is full of surprises! A girl who dreamt of owning an advertising agency and painting the world with her creative colors became an actor. Nidhi’s dedication and commitment are evident in her work both as an actor and a designer. Tinsel Gupshup wishes this talented and lovely girl all the best and we hope she continues to delight her fans as an actor, a designer, an artist…and most of all as Nidhi!



Photo and Graphics Credit: Nidhi Uttam


© Tinsel Gupshup

Jul 24, 2012
interesting read as usual..loved where nidhi is describing how she used to sharpen the pencil and make the flowers with its chips..things which we all have done during childhood..felt nostalgic readin

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