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Affordable art

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Painting an idea “The hype created by promoters cannot be good for real art,” believes K. A. Francis
Painting an idea “The hype created by promoters cannot be good for real art,” believes K. A. Francis

‘Conversing in Colour’, a recently concluded art show, had small sized works that are easy on the pocket

What’s a painting for? For the lay person, it’s this: To see and enjoy it, the colours, the skill, the mood; perhaps look for an inner meaning and finally, find out what the artist intended it to be and maybe know the artist or what exactly was in his mind when he did it. The next step is to see if it is affordable for that ‘sad’ wall at home, yearning for some joyous colour.

Experiment

“That is why I have done small sized works this time. All are 10x8 in size, cost Rs. 10,000 each and can adorn small spaces. I did these works, in three years and exhibited here as an experiment and I must say it has been successful,” says K. A. Francis, whose 10-day solo show, ‘Conversing in Colour’ at Taj Residency ended on Tuesday. The motive was not grandiose; there was no gameplan; no hidden layers of meaning to unearth, just some contemporary paintings to sell.

There were 98 paintings, all acrylics on canvas. The styles are very different, some abstracts, some landscapes and some specially done for kids’ bedrooms! The subject matter also varies, though Francis clearly has a weakness for faces. “I observe what is around me and paint them.” Bright oranges, yellows, all sorts of greens, ‘mithai’ pink, earthy browns and ethereal blues pervade the frames. A few are titled, like ‘Mass and the masses’ in yellow and gold. Artists develop a style and it evolves over the years, but Francis does not believe in it. He did landscapes in a style that he called his own some time ago, but he found it restraining. Neither do people savour landscapes anymore, as there is a surfeit of it, he discovered. When you can paint things in any style you fancy, the works are not boring. Ideas are what matters, he seems to think. So you have the painting, ‘Surya’, which has a woman in it, not a man, as popular legends define the sun.

Son of an artist, K P Antony, Francis learnt to draw, even as he learnt to talk, later doing his art studies at the institute run by his father at Kozhikode. He has been a journalist for some time now, but art makes parallel progress. “It is a very good tension reliever,” he points out. This is his tenth solo show.

Art as an investment is something that Francis feels does not involve the ‘janta’. “Who wants to have huge works stashed away in godowns, waiting for the artist’s worth to go higher and higher? That is not the function of art. Art should make people happy. The hype created by promoters cannot be good for real art,” he feels. An artist without any pretence, Francis wants to go it alone. Therefore, he got this idea of painting affordable works that people can enjoy.

Francis has done research on tantric art and does a lot of work in that area too. The exhibition was presented by the Muthoot Pappachan Foundation.

PREMA MANMADHAN

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