The Synonym of Art -Jatinder Singh Durhailay

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He paints, draws, recites Gurbani, does modelling, plays classical Raag instruments and is a fashion setter! Born in London, United Kingdom, he received his degree in Art from the University Arts, London. He has been painting ever since. His paintings are a beautiful depiction of Indian Sikh Culture. He has won the People’s Choice Award – Sikh Awards, London (2013). Meet Jatinder, who has modelled for Louis Vuitton, Levis and several A-list and major brands. He is an ace creator and his artistic bent is related to his spiritual journey. The immensely talented Jatinder wants to learn everything! For this reason, he switches between different styles of work. And he draws inspiration from everything he sees. Durhailay has created an artistic world for himself filled with spiritual wealth and creativity.


How did your journey as an artist begin?
It started when I was in the University studying Digital Media Design. I had a side job working in the studio of artist Conor Harrington, where I was performing tasks such as stretching canvases, and preparing large paintings. I have been drawing and painting since childhood, but while working for Conor I decided to take my personal artistic practice more seriously, and began having confidence in my own work.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration is mainly from Sikh culture and history; I also love flowers and nature. Currently, I can’t stop thinking about the jungles of India, and therefore my recent pieces have taken more of a ‘Green’ turn.

What specific art have you learnt formally (if any)?
The only times I may have picked up oil painting techniques was while sharing the studio with artist such as Conor Harrington, Ben Jamie and Pedro Matos. We would delve into many conversations. However I have never been formally taught how to draw or paint and I am mostly self-taught.

You also create music! How did you discover your interest in music?
My interest in music was initiated when as a teenager I heard the sound of a Dilruba for the very first time. Since that day I pursued a journey into music and sound. I always loved acoustic instruments, from piano, guitar to instruments such as the Santoor or the Taus.

What is your philosophy of life?
Be kind, compassionate, calm, strong and have fun.

What does art mean to you?
Art means everything to me. It is freedom.


Did your parents support you in your endeavours?
Yes, although there were certain classic questions and comments such as- ‘How will you make a living?’ However, I have always been passionate about my field so any amount of discouragement was not enough to convince me to quit.

What is your daily routine like?
I wake up, take shower, take a moment for prayer, which grants me a positive outlook on the beginning of the day, I then enjoy breakfast with my wife Johanna. My daily routine also feels incomplete without; playing my Dilruba, painting and exercising. If I do not manage to do all these activities, I become a ruminating version of myself.

One thing you cannot live without.
I really believe that we should not be overly attached to anything, although it is easier said than done. I think it is important to adapt in each situation. Even if my Dilruba burns alongside my paintings, I believe we carry within ourselves the qualities we have and what we have learnt in life. I always have an opportunity to do the things I love. If I would have to give a simpler answer I would say ‘learning’. I cannot live without learning.

What advice would you give to a 16-year-old you?
Do more exercise, eat healthier, and join a good martial arts club.

Any interesting memory from your childhood that you still fondly remember?
I recall when I was about 5 or 6, it was ‘Toy Day’ at school, where we would bring in our favourite toys. Instead of bringing a toy I bought scissors, paper and a very large transparent tape (which was bigger than me at the time). I drew my friends as cool characters, after which I cut them out from the paper to give it to them with removable hats, coats etc., it was like making a ‘toy version’ of everyone!

Your favourite artist and reasons for it.
Henri Rousseau, because he was an untrained painter who was critiqued by the fine art world, yet what was at times described as clumsy compositions and awkward perspectives, he brought a new light to the world of painting. His pieces carry a timeless element.

You are considered a style icon too. What is your style statement?
Simply be yourself, clothes are about how you feel. Try and look your best always.

You have modelled for Louis Vuitton, Levis and Adidas. How was the experience?
It was great fun, I am never camera shy.

Most memorable modelling moment.
British GQ Style, being photographed by Mark Lebon wearing Ozwald Boateng.

Who is your favourite fashion icon?
Bruce Lee

What relationship do you see between all forms of arts that you work on?
That it is an endless pool of knowledge which one can never master, but one can aspire to get better by practicing each day. That is how an art is earned- be it martial arts, music or painting.

What is your life Mantra?
Sarbat dha bhalla. For the benefit of all living things!




(Check his work at

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