Colourful boats and Tom Burckhardt’s imagination

Tom Burckhardt’s abstracts painted during his art residency at Pepper House, Fort Kochi, have been inspired by fishing boats

When artist Tom Burckhardt came to Kochi for his art residency at Pepper House, Fort Kochi, last December, his area of interest was the ‘panchavarna’ colour scheme of Kerala mural paintings. That is until his first day at Pepper House, where the windows of his room opened to an array of eye-catchingly colourful fishing boats, sporting distinctive colours and patterns, parked in the waters. The sight inspired Tom to find out more about them.

The artworks inspired by what he saw and experienced here will be on display at an ‘open studio’ at Pepper House. A cardboard installation by him was part of the Kochi Muziris Biennale (2016) on display at Aspinwall.

Colourful boats and Tom Burckhardt’s imagination

As part of his research, Tom came across the State government mandate that requires fishing boats to observe a specific pattern in colouring. As per it fishing boats in Kerala are always painted blue and scarlet (red)/ orange whereas the ones from Tamil Nadu are green and the others with white as their primary colour are from the Maldives. Tom replaced his painting kit with enamel paints procured from local paint stores to use the same colour as that of the fishing boats for his abstractions to come to life.

“Abstractions are challenging,” the 55 year-old artist says, as these necessitate a heightened state of creativity to make the work feel real to the viewer. Apart form the abstractions that form part of his work, Tom maintains a sketchbook where he makes portraits of people he meets while bicycling around Fort Kochi.

Colourful boats and Tom Burckhardt’s imagination

Tom has immersed himself in colours all his life as an artist who graduated with a degree in painting from the State University of New York. Born into a family of artists, his love for art began as kid - he was interested in making comic books and clay models.

He is all set to carry his abstract art work to the State University in New York where he will be lecturing on the same.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 5:59:09 PM |

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