Joju Dominic has discovered an inexpensive way of displaying his paintings. And how?
Artistes have always fought for space to display their art. With the Internet, space is limitless. Joju Dominic is holding his first online exhibition at www.jojudominic.com. With this gallery he can call his own, he does not have to build contacts or work on publicity. The website is one of the first online galleries of an individual artist, based in Chennai. "I used to give booklets at my exhibitions to help visitors understand my work, which was expensive," he says. "But now I can just explain my works online."He did not do a course on painting, as he wanted to evolve his own style. He works part-time at the State Bank of India, "since art alone is not enough to survive".
His works are mostly geometrical abstracts. "They have great finish, can be measured and reproduced easily," he says. Most of his paintings are on the Upanishads. "I try to convey messages from the Hindu scriptures, and not question them," he says. "Though the religion is thousands of years old, its teachings are relevant even today," he says, explaining his fascination for Hinduism. At an exhibition, when he struggled to recall the Upanishad from which a verse was sourced, a German named it for him. "A foreigner to our culture knew it better. So, I decided to learn it," he says. Joju calls himself a "coloursmith" and not an artist, since in most of his paintings, he draws and fills a single colour without shading. "My challenge is to choose the colour and create the effect," he says.Though the net gives artists display space, it also makes their works vulnerable to piracy. Many artists therefore choose to password protect their works or keep thumbnails of them online. If you print an enlarged copy of the thumbnails, they would be pixellated. Joju, however, does neither. "Let them take a copy of my works," he says. "They do it because they like my work." He was a cartoonist for Malayalam periodicals such as Kumkumam and Asadhu before he took to serious painting. Family, friends and the bank helped him pursue his passion. When he voiced his nagging doubts about his ability to make it as an artist, his wife bought him his first canvas. Once when he hit a low, journalist and friend Balakrishnan Mangad encouraged him to continue with his painting and not give it up. The paintings that he created were sold but with little profit. At the bank, his work starts in the afternoon, leaving his mornings free. "They even sponsored one of my exhibitions," he says. ASHA. S. MENON