When you think of wax, all that comes to mind is candles and the molten substance we need to scrape off after it melts. But, when you meet artist Arati Bedekar, she’ll tell you there is more to wax then meets the eye. Catch a glimpse of her wax paintings and you will never look at wax the same way again.
What started in 2005 as a hobby for her is today one of the most fascinating works of art in the city. Arati dabbles in a largely unexplored art form here, though it dates back to ancient Greece. Encaustic art, as she words it, is the skilful painting of wax to form intricate designs and patterns on canvas. Using special tools, Arati with her eye for detail, whips up complex 3D images and sketches using a mixture of pigments and waxes and modern tools in just a few minutes. Being wax, the painting can easily be reworked and manipulated anytime.
“For the first five-six years, I was concentrating more on the heating tool iron and exploring it. Now I have diversified and use a lot of other tools like the hot air gun (a powerful blow gun), the stylus (a kind of soldering tool) and the hot plate — all for finer details. Recently, I also started using cold wax where I mix non-coloured cold wax with dry pigments or oil colours and use a palette knife.”
She explains: “My most recent works including some on display were all done only with the palette knife. I thoroughly enjoyed the process.”Her favourite tool remains the hot iron with a thermostat.
“Even today, after nine years and more than 800 art works, small to big, every time I’ve taken up the iron I remain extremely fascinated,” she says. Showing an impromptu demonstration on a small cardboard using a range of colours, she quickly creates a wonderful scenic landscape. Easy to see why she is so fascinated with the art, though she quips that she hates ironing clothes. Though not a formally trained artiste, Arati says all you need is creativity and the courage to try something new. “There is plenty of room for experimentation. I’m very intuitive when I work and need to get that sense of completion.”
Looking back on what inspired her to take this leap of faith, she says she fell in love with encaustic art when she saw it for the first time on television in London where her family was staying.
“Then there was someone exhibiting it and I saw a live demo from where I picked up a starter kit. We moved to India and I didn’t do anything for two years. On the auspicious day of Ugadi, I thought let’s give it a try, started it and never looked back.”
Presenting her solo show at Thalam Gallery, she says this itself is a milestone for her. “I’ve done numerous exhibitions but this will be my first show. I really hope to promote the art and encourage more people to try it out.”
She adds that Bangalore as an arts space is really emerging. “From what I see in the last few years, art galleries and new spaces like Thalam are really blooming. People are encouraging and open to new forms of art. My experience here has been very encouraging and enriching.”
Come watch Arati’s works from June 27 to July 1 at Thalam Gallery in Domlur Layout. Call 9945516333 or 9945243130 for details.