Young artists pitch in with their heart and art to support deserving initiatives in the city.

There are splashes of colour; bright reds and cheery yellows, mellow greens and sober browns. There are animals and birds, gods and mere mortals, men and women. There are acrylics and watercolours, oils and sketches. There is art, expression and emotion flowing unplugged. There is philanthropy, there is good will and there is the joy of giving.

Different Strokes — Art for a Cause, is made up of just that — colour, expression, joy and passion.

Powered by art

Founded by artist Padmini Vasudevan, the team of young artists uses their skill and passion to make a change in the world around them. Every year, they come together to sell their paintings, making sure the proceeds go towards a social cause, an organisation that could use the support to make the world a better place.

What began in the living room of one of the artists has now grown to include a pre-sale workshop for beneficiaries, with scores of paintings on sale, both online and otherwise.

The artists themselves work full-time or, in some cases, are still students. Just like so many of us, they spend the day in the world out there, interacting, working, and performing. What sets them apart is this shared hobby that draws them all together, spurring them on to “reach out of the world of our existence, to make a small difference” in the words of Pavithra Prasad, lawyer and artist.

With art in general usually associated with hefty price tags, it comes as a pleasant surprise when this group confesses to having enjoyed a brilliant response from the word go. In the words of founder Padmini Vasudevan, “Both exhibitions saw people from all walks of life supporting us. Art isn’t only for the rich but also for those rich at heart.” Surya Ramkumar, a student and the youngest member of the team, goes one step further. “Art doesn’t always need to be expensive. It depends on what you are working with. Pen and ink don’t cost much and paper and pen cost next to nothing. There is so much one can do with just that!”

Another question that constantly dogs artists is the feasibility of art as a profession. Considering most of them work full-time, do they believe they can turn to art as a livelihood? “To some, art is a way of living. To others, it is a means of living. While our thoughts are sincere and our efforts dedicated, at Different Strokes, we are not looking to make art our means of living” is how Pavithra puts it, speaking on behalf of all the artists, each of whom make a conscious effort to include art in their lives.

With causes that support women and children close to their heart and the only prerequisite while choosing the beneficiary organisation is sincerity and a good track record, this group of young artists ensures that, rain or shine, there is an annual painting extravaganza in the city.

Supportive

After having supported the Velachery Health Post in 2010 and Madras Dyslexia Association in 2011, Different Strokes is all set to lend its support to RASA in 2012. This year, apart from the annual sale of paintings, the artists went one step further and conducted a workshop for the special children in the school, creating works of art themed around nature, colours and dance.

The one single phrase that echoes constantly from all artists is the lack of recognition. “We are not recognised artists and that makes it hard to find sponsors. We would like people to take notice and place faith in us. We are trying to make a difference. Sometimes, garnering support can be challenging,” says Anita Hariharan, HR professional and core team member.

They are each inspired by different things. They all get different takeaways. Some are in it for the love for people, others credit their drive entirely to the enthusiasm of the founder. Some of them talk of unquestioning support from family and friends and others look at it as an effective stress buster after a hard day.

Yet, irrespective of the inconsequential details, the artists at Different Strokes work towards the same, shared goal — making the world a happier place to live in, one painting at a time.

Check out their work at: www.facebook.com/differentstrokesart