Art

Covid-19: Coimbatore artists talk about creating art during the lockdown

Use things to find at home to work with

Use things to find at home to work with   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Get creative with things found at home, say Simran Wahan, Vigneshraj R, V Jeevanathan and Jitha Karthikeyan

Bored with nothing to do during the lockdown? Four artists from Coimbatore offer tips on how to stimulate your creative side with things you find at home. Read on...

Working with colours will help reduce anxiety and social discomfort, says Simran Wahan

Working with colours will help reduce anxiety and social discomfort, says Simran Wahan   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Simran Wahan

“In tough times like this lockdown, it is essential to keep calm, divert our mind from unnecessary negative thoughts and maintain a healthy and happy mindset,” says artist Simran Wahan, adding that “working with colours will help reduce anxiety and social discomfort.” According to her, when engaged with different colours, textures, surfaces, and materials the five senses are activated and anxiety levels come down. An added bonus is that it strengthens bonds when the family works together.

Supplies, she says, are available in the house. “As Indians, we are lucky to have the inbuilt knack of makeshift or ‘jugaad’,” she laughs. “Look around the house and you’ll find things that have been around for months or even years. Make new products, upcycle or recycle them,” and she reels off a list: beads, stones, pebbles, wood, thread, buttons, jute, cotton, fabric, straw, terracotta bricks, sand, bottle caps, old plastic bottles, wires, washi tape , newspaper, magazines, feathers, dry leaves and flowers, spices, old make-up kits, nail paint, bamboo, used milk and plastic packets ...

Simran doesn’t believe there are non-artists. “Every person is an artist in some way or other. Some are fixed to a particular plan of action; others use their imagination and creativity to revamp things. I always suggest people look around their house and pick things that catch their attention first.” And she offers examples: use old bottle caps to make coasters; leftover paper and magazine pages to make scrap books or papier-mâché objects; pistachio shells to make magnets; old plastic bottles to make planters; jute and cotton fabric and sand to make pincushions and paper weights.

As for colours, powder terracotta tiles and turmeric to make makeshift paint; use an old eye-shadow palette; kajal, mascara or eye-liner can be used for black paint; and use washi tapes to make collages.

Simran is keeping herself busy with interactive sessions and discussions about art and mental health with friends, family and clients. “I have started a 21-day quarantine challenge on my Instagram page (@draw.with.sim) where I share one new form of art everyday and encourage people to work in similar lines.” She has sessions where “people take prints of my colouring pages and we all colour together on a video call.” She is also doing art therapy sessions through video calls. Lastly, she says, she’s begun reading, a new habit. “I make sure I read one page everyday.”

This is also a good time to learn a craft, says R Vigneshraj

This is also a good time to learn a craft, says R Vigneshraj   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

V Jeevnathan suggests a a family project with parents drawing the outline and letting the kids fill in the colour on a wall

V Jeevnathan suggests a a family project with parents drawing the outline and letting the kids fill in the colour on a wall   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Vigneshraj R and V Jeevanathan

“It is a stressful time for everyone. Art helps calm our minds and also keep us engaged. Why can’t we wall paint?” says artist Vigneshraj R. The full-time artist says wall art can be done with any medium available — oil pastels, markers, crayons, fabric paint or acrylic paint. “The first step is to draw the design on paper. Once you are satisfied with it, then reproduce it on the wall,” he says. The outline can be made with permanent markers. Keep the design simple if you are a beginner.

“A tree or a flock of birds are examples,” adds V Jeevananthan who recently painted a 40-foot image on the walls of a housing unit in Ukkadam. “You can make the wall painting a family project with parents drawing the outline and letting the kids fill in the colour.” Position the work at eye level. “Check the availability of colours before you start painting. If the quantity is limited, go for smaller designs.”

These paintings won’t take long to dry. “While the crayons do not need drying time, acrylic and fabric paint will need a few hours,” adds Vigneshraj.

Other than painting, this is also a good time to learn a craft. “You can do it with things that you find inside your house! For example, all you need is gum, paper and a pair of scissors to make a finger puppet. Use them to tell stories!” Old glass bottles can be up-cycled with découpage using paper.

Vigneshraj now gives free online tutorials every day on this on his Instagram page (Vigneshstr). “I had a lot of request from parents. I go live every day at 5:00 pm. If there is any change in time, I update it on my page,” he says. People should enjoy the process of making art. “There is no point stressing about the result. What is important is that you feel good,” he says.

Jitha Karthikeyan recommends watching online videos that give you step-by-step guidance

Jitha Karthikeyan recommends watching online videos that give you step-by-step guidance   | Photo Credit: M Periasamy

Jitha Karthikeyan

“With the pandemic keeping most of us indoors, it is important to indulge in some activity that helps to relax and stay positive,” says Jitha Karthikeyan, a Coimbatore-based contemporary artist. Art is a way of life for this self-taught artist who has done several shows at the national and international levels. “Art is a perfect choice to feel a sense of purpose and joy, whatever be your age,” she says.

She recommends online videos that give you step-by-step guidance to learn different techniques. “As art supply stores are closed, procuring art materials may not be possible but get innovative and create using materials at home like bottles, coconut shells, paper or simply start sketching with your pen and pencil. As for me, the lockdown has given me the solitude to pause, reflect and paint, without any external distractions.”

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 11:00:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/four-artists-from-coimbatore-offer-tips-on-how-to-stimulate-your-creative-side-with-things-found-at-home/article31256017.ece

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