A self-taught artist, Dinesh today makes models on at least eight materials

From a bus owner to now a sculptor, the long journey has been wrought with financial uncertainty for K. Dinesh. However, now operating out a donated house by National Highway 66 at Kolya, he believes that the sky is his limit. A four-limbed gigantic Shiva statue at the entrance is sure to have caught the eye of many motorists.

On entering the premises of the house, one is confronted by a range of sculptures: from tacky animal figurines (that he says sell rapidly), to intricately designed tribal warriors, yakshagana dancers, huge metal sculpted cast iron ornaments.

Ten years ago, he was a bus owner with a penchant for gardening and sculpturing. “I was always interested about set designs in movies. And being inquisitive, I attempted to make some miniature versions for my garden,” he said.

Having studied only till Class 9, and without resources to take up art courses, Mr. Dinesh, learning from the internet, started making chairs and tables. Gradually, he moved on to miniature sculptures, made from fibre glass, plaster of Paris and was soon able to master the basics of wood, metal, fibre, marble powder, cast iron, concrete sculpting. And having learnt computer modelling software, Mr. Dinesh was ready to design his own sculptures.

“Three years ago, I decided that this is what I want to do. Perhaps, there is no one else in the city that can do modelling on so many materials,” he said.

However, then 35 years ago, with a wife and a child, he had to stave off apprehensions and opposition in his family. “The investment is high for the painting machines, drills, moulds, fibre, chemicals.

The first couple of years were under loss, and the family could not understand how anyone could make money out of this,” he said. He now has eight people working under him and overwhelming number of orders, some from resorts in Hassan to recreate Hoysala sculptures. Among his other ambitious projects is a concrete rock and pond set up – with a tiger and herons resting in it – that is up for grabs at Rs. 60,000.

A sculpture takes him a month from the order to the delivery, a process that goes from hand drawn sketches to 3D models to clay moulds and then finishing the fibre models.

Currently, business requirements dictate production of huge set pieces for weddings, garden ornaments, and themed resorts. However, the sculptor sets his sights on larger ambitions.

“I have money coming in now, and can work on my own ideas. I will soon start work on a sculpture to depict global warming,” he said, adding that the final aim would be to do set pieces for films. “It’s a childhood dream.”

Knowing that not many have exposure to the fine arts, Mr. Dinesh has approached colleges offering free classes. “Hardly anyone wants to take this up as a profession, or even learn it. But, I want to spread the word,” he said.

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