Nikheel is calligrapher and graphic designer. He is passionate about calligraphy and letterforms, especially Devanagri script. Currently working at the intersection of design and art through commissioned art and commercial calligraphy projects, alongside mainstream graphic design assignments. Nikheel has designed many book covers for leading publishers from India using calligraphy & hand lettering. His calligraphy practice primarily emphasizes on the abstraction of letterforms, which further gets translated into different mediums, be it paintings, logos or products.
Nikheel is born as a mumbaikar and now working out of Delhi. Nikheel religiously collects macthboxes, vintage stuff, plain-notebooks. A avid foodie and wanderer, he is still figuring out the cliche “How someone from Bombay is liking and adjusting to Delhi”.
Tell us something about you. How did you develop an interest in Calligraphy/Typography?
My fascination with alphabets began as a child, when I first began shaping letters through handwriting. My primary school teachers noticed the good handwriting and that earned me a permanent place decorating the classroom blackboard. By college my tendency towards good handwriting turned into a full-blown passion for seeing alphabets as more than words.
It was this fascination for letterforms that connected me with calligraphy while woking full time as a graphic designer in a design studio in Delhi. After studio hours or on weekends I kept fiddling with my calligraphy tools; polishing my skills with some compositions and amateurish artworks. I started sharing them on my blog. It received a very positive response and boosted my confidence along with getting me small jobs like invites, greeting-cards, nameplates etc. And also an opportunity to participate in a group art exhibition.
After that various assignments kept flowing in and I decided to leave my full time job and focus on calligraphy as profession.
Tell us something about Leehkin. What is your vision with Leehkin.
Leehkin, was next step of formalising my practice – channelising my work and making it more of a professional business rather than the perception of a hobby.
Apart from art & commercial assignments, I am exploring another dimension where I can combine letterart with other materials. I would like to develop an exclusive product line purely based on calligraphy also to collaboarte my calligraphy with other design disciplines like furniture, textile, lighting, ceramics, landscape architecture or may be a programmer? Why not?. It’s challenging for myself as an artist to keep updating with innovation and skills and as a person to keep searching for individuality.
And what does Leehkin mean? Simply, Nikheel spells reversely. First four letters ‘Leeh’ means ‘Write’ in my mothertoungue (Marathi) – too much serendipity; this I noticed much later.