Photo by Vijat Mohindra

In 2009, his eponymous jewelry line, House of Waris, was a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, but Waris Ahluwalia remains best known for his acting in films like I Am Love and The Life Aquatic.

What contemporary art event or exhibitions are you most looking forward to in 2014?

Now, I don’t know if this qualifies as contemporary, but I love the Master’s Exhibit at Frieze. Other than that I’m just slowly working my way into 2014.

Favorite portrait of you?

I may have sat for a portrait or two in my time. My favorite ones are by Sandro Kopp. Our sittings last anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. We’ve done them in NY, Connecticut, Paris, Milan and one on skype where I was in Istanbul and he was in Scotland. He leaves them at my place so it’s slightly embarrassing to have these portraits of myself sprinkled throughout my home. A close second is the one by Nate Lowman done while we were rowing in the lake in Central Park on a beautiful summer day. Don’t ask why we were rowing in central park.

Has Sandro ever painted a childhood object of yours?

Indeed he has. Sandro did a portrait of Joe, my teddy bear from when I was a wee lad. Joe will be going to Scotland soon so Sandro can spend some more time with him.

Why are there so few Indian artists with traction in NY art world?

Beats me. Get it together fellas (and ladies).

What was your first experience or awareness of experiencing art?

I think it was Yogi Berra- a Christmas special.

Advice to a new collector?

Collect what you love. That was Don Rubell’s advice to me.

Tell us about art collaboration you’ve done.

I did a project with the artist Andrew Zuckerman. I picked 7 birds from his work and translated them into enamel, silver and gold. The beauty of his photographs in the hands of my craftsmen was magic. They said it was the most challenging work they had ever done.

What are you working on now as far as upcoming projects or collaborations?

Besides the jewelry, a lot of my attention now is spent on HOUSE of WARIS RARE- it’s little boutique in the lobby of the glorious Gritti Palace in Venice Italy. It’s a selection of limited edition objects created either in collaboration with us or made just for us by artisans around the world- currently 14 countries.

Waris in front of photo by Christopher Wray McCann. Photo credit: Ysanya Perez

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