Five upcoming artists from the city tell Lakshmi Krupa and Anusha Parthasarathy about their work and what the neophyte connoisseur must keep in mind while buying art
Former banker and broker. Works in dry pastels
My inspiration : From Class III, I have been staying in Cholamandal, which my father and graphic artist K.S. Gopal co-founded. I grew up surrounded by the city’s art stalwarts. Raja Ravi Varma is an inspiration.
My art : Women take centre stage in my work. People and relationships have always been my focus. I am sentimental and I know that women have to go through a lot in life. In today’s world, everything is camouflaged by fame, money and beauty. If you understand yourself and give yourself some space you will feel energised. That’s what I am trying to say with my art.
For the new connoisseur: I think everyone should own a piece of art. Art is a luxury, so we have to be practical. When it is reasonably priced, everyone can own a piece. Anyone who sees a nice painting—be it a landscape, something abstract or even one of Ganesha—will experience a pleasant shift in their mood. And affordable art shows help make the dream of owning art accessible for anyone.
MFA, Government College of Fine Arts. Works at Lalit Kala Akademi as a painter and sculptor in mixed media
My inspiration: I have been completely inspired by nature.
My art: I am working on a series called ‘Nest’. In my opinion, the human body is a nest. A thought stays in the body; the soul stays here too. I try to weave my worldview into my art and not just present things as they are. Which is why when someone buys my art, they are buying my thought. Money is secondary.
For the new connoisseur: Some buyers don’t know about art. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be buying. They must engage a curator and buy good art. They should research the artist, what his/her statement is and if they like it, they could even meet the artist someday and buy his/her work. Many artists survive because of galleries. Very few can hope to sell a piece on their own. While there are galleries that really invest in the artist, there are also others who do it for an income. I don’t believe in that but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. My approach is just different. So choose a good gallery and a neutral curator.
Selva Senthil Kumar
BFA, DMS LKMS Fine Art College, Mysore. Works at Cholamandal Artists’ Village on the Arnawaz Vasudev Scholarship
My inspiration: My work is about mechanisms. Every man-made object has found its inspiration from nature. An autorickshaw looks like a human face, for instance.
My art: Currently I am working on a series dealing with the water crisis. I also believe that life in metros is rushed and hence we are rarely peaceful. These issues of life collaborate with man-made objects and the two come together in my art. I am concerned about the damage pollution and over-consumption have on our environment. When someone buys my art, the fact that they have understood what I want to say makes me feel much happier than the amount they pay.
For the new connoisseur: If you are buying art make sure it makes enriches your life. Give a lease of life to struggling young artists. This way you will promote art in the true sense and help others around you understand its importance.Affordable shows are a great way for youngsters to break into the art scene. In most galleries only big names sell, but these are good entry points for both buyers and young artists.
MFA Government College of Fine Arts. Works in mixed media
My inspiration: I need the flexibility to be able to express in any way I can. I use whatever I can find; steel balls, silicon, fibre, metal, iron and so on
My art: My art is an expression of my thoughts. They don't follow a certain theme or pattern but work across genres and mediums.
For the new connoisseur: I have travelled to the U.S., U.K, Belgium, France and Switzerland but I find it difficult to find buyers here. Even Delhi and Mumbai have a good art culture, where galleries promote artists. This city does not. Most buyers don’t support local artists. They always look for big names from other places. In fact, people from Chennai who have bought my pieces, actually bought them in Delhi!
Graduated from Bharathiyar Palkalaikoodam. Watercolour artist
My inspiration: I love the city during monsoons. The cows, goats, chickens on the road, the political banners and electrical wires on top, the way the sun reflects on some buildings or the reflections of the street during the rains – everything inspires me.
My art: My art depicts daily life during the rains. I like to paint about everyday life.
For the new connoisseur: Affordable art shows help get across new artists to new buyers. The art scene here is definitely growing. In one of my shows, I sold 22 works in three days. This is not how a slow market runs. If your work is good, there is always a market for it.