Chennai

Artist from Tamil Nadu captures his hometown in landscape paintings

Artist Puviyarasu Kannadasan's work

Artist Puviyarasu Kannadasan's work | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Every morning, before the golden hour strikes, Puviyarasu Kannadasan sets out on his trusty bike with his companions: a canvas, an easel, a black pen and some paints. When he sees a sight that tugs at him, he stops, props up the easel and begins his work.

Wielding a black pen, he traces what is before him: be it an empty, quiet pastoral field, or a temple ground that spills chaotic energy. Bits and pieces of the town he grew up in — Arani in Tiruvallur — thus sprawls across Puviayarsu’s canvases, largely black-and-white. At his first-ever solo show titled Petrichor, in DakshinaChitra Museum, 28 such creations (both sketches and paintings) are on display. 

Puviyarasu Kannadasan

Puviyarasu Kannadasan | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Puviyarasu vividly recalls his first brush with art: as an eight-year-old child, he would accompany relatives as they went around town making signage and banners. The little boy would wait on the artists, clean their brushes and run errands. When banner art was digitised, this came to a standstill.

“But I wanted to take this interest forward, by somehow enrolling in the College of Fine Arts, Chennai. I didn’t even know about the college till then,” he recalls. Under the tutelage of artist Illaiyaraja, he cracked the entrance — “that was the biggest achievement for me.” When he found himself in the visual communication department, he was disappointed because he wished to specialise in painting . It was with the guidance of his seniors that he later came to know of his knack for recreating landscapes. 

“After that, till my fourth year at the college, I kept painting landscapes,” says Puviyarasu. However, after his college days in 2007, he broke away to dabble in cinema: as an assistant cameraman. “It didn’t last long. Next stop was animation which was also short-lived. I wasn’t satisfied.” Until he started painting again. “I felt like whatever I wanted to honestly express was in my work all along. But leaving something so dear to me, I went in search of other occupations,” he recalls. 

Artist Puviyarasu Kannadasan's work

Artist Puviyarasu Kannadasan's work | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Getting back to what he loved most, was a life-changing step for the artist. Speaking of his choice of medium and material, the artist says, “Monotone always creates a greater impact. Moreover, a pen is easier to wield, I feel like I am able to express myself freely with a pen. A passing strike of a pen on paper is similar to a strike on my creative mind.” Apart from this, a determining factor for his work is the time : “Light plays a major role in my landscapes.” I usually set out at 6.30 am. My work practically stops at 11 am. In the afternoon, 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm is a good window.” It’s not often that he manages to finish a work in a day. He continues, “Sometimes, it takes me a week to capture the ‘feel’ of the sight. So I keep going back.”

Artist Puviyarasu Kannadasan's work

Artist Puviyarasu Kannadasan's work | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Now, while he works as an art teacher in a nearby school, he makes sure to continue his personal practice. “I am so happy that I am able to live as an artist among those who I grew up around. Each day, when I go around town, I am learning more and more about life. I see new colours,” says Puviyarasu.

Petrichor is on display at Kadambari Art Gallery till February 28


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2022 7:11:15 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/tamin-nadu-artist-paints-impressive-landscapes-of-arani-in-tiruvallur/article65073561.ece