Growing up in a small rural town of Amreli in Gujarat, Amit Parekh has enjoyed arts since his childhood. He moved to Mumbai to pursue education after high school. To improve his skills, he enrolled himself for a GD Art Commercial course at JJ School of Arts, Mumbai, in 1987. It was this course that enhanced his interest a level above. From there, his fascination for art really grew and right after completing his studies, he started working as a visualizer with FCB Ulka for over two years. Over the course of time, Amit realized that each artwork conveys a message infused by the energy of the artist. To help bring a sense of completion in the aspiring artists, he chose to divert from his field to become an art educator. Fortunately, he found his passion and profession in one, early in his career.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview where Amit speaks about his journey with HelloPost Team:
When did you think of transforming your passion into your core business?
At first, we are all unsure if we could make a proper career being an artist. For most, maybe art is just a hobby, but in my case, I didn’t want it to be a hobby, but a full-fledged career. This realization came to me while I was juggling between a full-time job at FCB Ulka and private art coaching post the work hours. And then, in a short span, I found my feet in the teaching field as an art instructor. When opportunities started flowing in, I got the chance to associate and represent my artworks to some of the finest personalities including Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh, Shazahn Padamsee, Arjun Mehta – the son of Actress Juhi Chawla, and Shrijaya Chavan & Sujaya Chavan – the daughters of the former Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan to name a few.
To find my passion and make a career out of it has taken years of hard work, determination, strong visualization, and unwavering affirmation. For me, art is not a profit-making business, but a journey with directions, developments, and desires.
How did you transform your passion into your career?
The road to transforming your passion into a career is not an easy one. It happens only when you rediscover the same passion every day with the same drive and motivation. The zeal to be an inspiration to others and impart the same knowledge that I had to aspiring artists led me into this place.
It all began when I started working as an art instructor at Villa Theresa High School, Mumbai. That experience sparked the thought that more than just teaching art at school, maybe I wanted to do something more with it. I moved on to exploring and understanding children phylogeny and their interests with regard to different art subjects. For a long while, that was my focus. That is how I managed to do the same thing over and over again with the same amount of passion I had since day one. I firmly believe, if you want more meaning in what you are doing, you need to explore how you can transform your passion into a passion for others – how you can motivate and inspire students to great lengths.
Were there any difficulties in transforming it? How did you overcome that and what advice would you give others in your situation?
I think, as an artist and entrepreneur, it is possible to get down on yourself and think you are not doing enough. There were times when I had to provide myself grace very often. To juggle a full-time job with long working hours and client orders for paintings had been intellectually challenging and stressful. But my passion for art helped me sail through it all, and I feel lucky to have found my professional passion. If there’s one piece of advice I would give to aspiring artists to climb the slippery, long ladder to success, it would be: work hard and stay focused, there’s a lot of opportunities for advancement.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
My motivation has always stemmed from my students. When I started, that was one of the most rewarding aspects of my profession: having the privilege of working with individuals of all age groups who are passionate, creative, intellectual, and devoted to art. As I gain more experience, my students are still the reason I am drawn to my work. Seeing positive and appreciative outcomes from my students and clients in exchange for what I provide is incredibly motivating. My real happiness lies beyond profits and paychecks, it’s the sight of witnessing my students succeed that drives me to do more.
In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur!
If there’s one word that can describe my life as an entrepreneur, it would be – ‘magical.’
Who inspires you?
I’d like to credit my uncle, Ramesh Parekh, for inspiring and teaching me art since my childhood. Like any other Indian family, my parents too expected me to pursue either medicine or engineering. But against all the odds, my uncle supported and helped me get into the field of art. His own journey as a poet and artist really sparked a wanderlust to see beyond the obvious.
What lessons did you learn while transforming your passion into your core business?
There’s one important lesson I’ve learned during this journey – the real art lies in time management. Whether it’s about a client order, your presence at an event, teaching students, or staying updated with the latest techniques – the time is everything.
What are your future plans?
I’m hoping to establish an art centre that will help me portray my work, conduct art workshops, run coaching classes, and host art exhibitions in the indoor space. It’s just such a big world, and there’s a lot to do and prove.
Any tips for others who want to transform their passion into their career?
The process of transforming your profession into a career isn’t going to happen overnight. If you want to get into the art teaching field, you need to ensure that you are updated with the industry trends and have enough knowledge to pass on to others. Besides, your communications and time management skills are an added bonus that will help you go far in life.