Nikheel Iyer is an artist who has been hearing impaired since birth. He does not know any sign language. He grew up in India and studied, using hearing aids and oral communication in English, in mainstream schools in New Delhi. He has been here in the USA for almost a decade. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Parson’s School of Design, NYC. He is currently pursuing an Advanced Certification Course from the New York School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture, NYC.
“It has been a long and arduous journey filled with challenges and hard work, especially as a disabled student,” Iyer says. “I have learned a lot and continue to learn new life lessons every day.”
Communication with the hearing world has always been a bit of a challenge for Iyer, especially due to the diversity of accents and pronunciation styles different from his own. His art is his link to the world. He is interested in Neo-Expressionism, Pop Art and Conceptual Art. His multiple identities of being a disabled, Indian millennial artist who relies on Technology heavily in his day-to-day functioning, help him to create a fusion of traditional art and technology. His interests in Japanese comic art, together with his cultural background, give rise to a unique creative expression.
“Art is a tool that transcends all barriers of communication, language, culture, and vocabulary,” he says. “It is here to stay, now and forever, waiting to be explored and expanded to greater heights and depths of human emotions and experiences. Human angst and universal issues of the self and our cosmos, need artistic expression.
In his solitary world, he explores the conflict of the individual versus the community, and the self versus the cosmos, in myriad ways. He sees the world in various hues and shades depending on whether he is in silence or noise. His achievements and struggles make for a whole host of questions, fears, doubts, anxieties, and opinions. He aspires to interact and communicate with viewers and audiences who can help him grow and learn along the journey.
His themes center around human emotions, strengths and vulnerabilities, uncontrollable rage and frustration due to intelligence colliding with rage and frustration, and a lack of meaningful human interactions and fulfilling bonds. It also delves into multiple personas hidden inside the human psyche, threatening to come out and breathe free
Despite his struggles, Iyer sees his life as one that has been successful. He has overcome his disability to gain a prestigious education in a country that he is not from and has so much more that he plans on achieving.
“ Success, for me, is the ability to confront and deal inventively with the obstacles that come my way,” he expresses. “Success lies in finding ways out of a labyrinth of hazy issues in a strange world. Success is knowing I am different and rising up like a phoenix out of my own charred remains.”
Iyer’s pieces could one day be some of the most revered in art. He has the drive and determination to succeed, it’s now just a matter of continuing to push through his life’s obstacles to achieve his goals.