From solace to success – how these three artists navigated their creative paths
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly column of Your story, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the previous 550 posts, we presented a Art festival, a cartoon gallery, world music festival, telecoms fair, millets fair, climate change exhibition, wildlife conference, boot festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
Organized by Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bangalore, the Chitra Santhe 2021 festival presented more than 1,000 Indian and foreign artists. 18th Annual Art Festival Held Virtually Due To Pandemic (see our long series of photo essays here).
See also Your story cover of six previous editions of Chitra Santhe: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, as well as compilations of Best quotes of 2020 on art in the age of the pandemic, Indian art, the appreciation and practice of art, and the beauty and trade of art.
Artist: Sheelavanth Yadagir
“Art was initially a distraction from all the pain,” explains Sravani Ramachandran, in a conversation with Your story.
“I was doing sketches in college. Then, my MBA and the eventual business life left me no time for art. But in 2011, I met an accident because of which I am in a wheelchair, ”she explains.
“After the accident, I had a lot of free time to recover and I couldn’t think of anything else that could better distract me. Not only has art acted as a source of entertainment, but it has also become a source of satisfaction and happiness, ”recalls Sravani.
She explains that life can get a bit mundane thanks to the demands of everyday life. “But if you learned to seriously consider your hobby, then it can help you add color to your life, ”she suggests.
Sravani defines success according to the reception that his art receives. “Considering the fact that I am only a juvenile artist, if i get a good review and people love the way i treat my artwork and are excited to buy my artwork, so i guess i can’t ask for anything more, ”she says.
It calls for a greater appreciation of art in society. “Appreciating art doesn’t have to be a niche thing. It should be made attractive to people of all ages and backgrounds, ”Sravani insists.
Social networks also provide better exposure to art. “People should also be encouraged to go to art exhibitions to get a feel for the art,” she adds.
Artist: Sravani Ramachandran
Sravani prepared four new oil paintings for Chitra Santhe, based on advice from a teacher to give each painting more time. His works are priced at Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000.
During the pandemic, she tried out different art forms, including sketching, as well as fun and positive messages. Sravani appreciates the wider global reach of an online exhibition.
“However, I miss seeing the actual physical works, digital signage of the work, and talking to other artists. While online is a good alternative, I guess it can never actually replace the feeling that a physical exhibition gives – that too, something as huge as Chitra Santhe, ”she said.
“Art is a great source for thinking outside the box – and it can also be a routine activity. It reflects inner thoughts and inspires expression on current topics and surrounding activities. Art comes directly from the soul, sometimes even without thinking, ”explains Bangalore-based artist Sudhir Meher.
He has been involved in art since childhood. “I always try to do my best at work, so I never think about success or failure. Art is a never-ending journey, ”he says.
He considers part of his work to be commercial, based on the demands of the business. “The second part is my thought process work, where there is an exploration without time limit or any other condition, ”describes Sudhir.
It calls for a greater appreciation of art in society through school education and visits to museums and galleries. “Art is a very simplified language that can directly inspire viewers because it represents a person’s inner thoughts, ”adds Sudhir.
His works reflect spiritual themes and views of religious sites. “All of my work is very complex in a realistic style. I use experimental techniques with my signature style, ”he says. His works cover oil, acrylic and watercolor on canvas as well as handmade papers.
Sudhir’s works are priced from Rs 10,000 to Rs 65,000, although he says it can be difficult for an artist to get the right price for different art exhibitions. He sometimes deals with buyers according to their budget.
Artist: Sudhir Meher
Although the pandemic affected exhibitions and the art world, Sudhir continued to work on his art. “The pandemic has taught me a lot about society, but of course it affected my financial situation, ”he says.
Online support allows artists to virtually participate in many other exhibitions, according to Sudhir. The reach is also more global and artists can reach an international audience directly from their homes.
“But in the physical world, I can explain my work to art lovers face to face, in front of my painting. The way these interactions happen is totally different, ”he says.
Sudhir also offers tips for aspiring artists. “Work hard and believe in yourself. Look at other people’s work, but make your style. Keep persevering, and in the future you will be recognized, ”he advises.
“Art is my life, it’s a replica or a mirror image. It’s my soul, so I don’t depend on rewards and promotions, ”explains Khadeeja Anzaba, an architecture student.
“I live in the moment when I am doing something that I really love. I’m just going with the flow, trying to find my inner peace in my messy room with the messy canvas board, ”she jokes.
“Art is about exploring myself and passing on my values and perspectives to others,” she adds. She urges people to draw artistic inspiration of family, society and culture.
There is more exposure for artists today through exhibitions and online platforms. But Khadeeja observes that there are still many unknown talent due to a lack of opportunity.
The pandemic has been a difficult time for all artists. Although she enjoys online exhibits, Khadeeja believes understanding and communication is much better in physical exhibits.
“My paintings are the ones that kept me alive during confinement. I have an emotional attachment to them, and there are even times when I say ‘no’ to someone who asks for a particular painting because I need it close to me, ”she says.
Artist: Khadeeja Anzaba
“Give time for whatever you love to do. Live your dream, and love what you do. Give your best in every area, ”she advises budding artists.
“Life is never controlled by us – if it is, then we cannot call it life. So love what you do and do what you love, ”concludes Khadeeja.
Now what have you done today to take a break from your busy schedule and find new ways to harness your inner creativity?
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