Artist Lester Paul explains his multiple media works being displayed in a first of its kind show in the city.
A baby in the cradle, a little girl sleeping blissfully on a cot, a child holding out a trough from her window to catch the rainwater to protect the candle from going off, her arms glistening from the droplets that have spilled from the titled roof of her house. As one goes through these works of Lester Paul at Icon Art Gallery it makes us wonder at his technique.
The 3D effect of water on canvas is as real as one sees in real life — the trickle and droplets rounding off as they come down and then splattering to make tiny waves as they hit a hard surface. Every canvas has a story and Lester being a teacher and a father of two says nothing inspires him “more than children.”
And true enough most of his canvases which are combinations of installation, painting and sculpting deal mostly with children. “I love children. Having spent a lot of my time with school children I love their company. I was also overjoyed when my wife conceived the first time. My two children are my world at home. My wife is the centre stage as my kids are her gift to us. As a tribute to the joy and happiness which she experienced after conceiving for the first time, I made the painting of a girl who is dancing with happiness,” says Lester.
The canvas that stands out in the entire off-beat show titled ‘return of innocence’, shows the pregnant woman where her womb is depicted with a video installation of a live scan with the baby moving inside the mother’s womb. “This is my wife,” he says pointing to the portrait and “when the canvas was shown to her after I completed it, she was thrilled and surprised,” says Lester.
Lester as an artist had no degrees to his credit when he set out to paint. “I told myself ‘Michelangelo, Da Vinci are some of the greatest artists who ever lived and they didn’t go to any art college,’ and I didn’t let the artist in me die. I am the eldest of six children and because of responsibilities, I could not afford to take up art as a course. Despite that I learnt and my teacher to a certain extent is my dad. I learnt a little carpentry from him and that helped me in my show. I first did a show in 2003 but art lovers couldn’t appreciate my work then. Art was at a nascent stage in the city. Now my work is much appreciated,” smiles Lester.
Lester’s use of dull browns and earthy shades are with the purpose and his explanation is “it is easier to highlight the subject of my art by toning down the shades around the subject to make it the spotlight.”
Lester’s technique of infusing wood in canvas by cutting the canvas at proper measurements and angles helps him create the best 3D effect. It is like being a part of a 3D movie.
The artist has also dedicated a canvas to society’s most frequently asked common questions:
‘When are you getting married? What about kids?’ “Sometimes couples decide to start a family cowing down to such pressures. My canvas of a baby on a cot and her blanket spilling to make the wave represents those pressures.”