[PhotoSparks] From a Karnataka village to Chief Artist at Fidelitus Gallery: meet Kotegadde Ravi

8th Jul 2017
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PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In this pictorial essay, we interview Kotegadde Ravi, Chief Artist at Fidelitus Gallery, and feature some of his recent works on display at the Rangoli Metro Art Centre.

In the earlier 140 posts, we brought you a wide range of creative photographs from an art fair, world music festival, painting fair, telecom expo, art museum, mobile showcase, math museum, social hackathon, bookstore, co-working space, sensorium, design week, flower show, startup roadshow, computer museum, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, Vesak, jazz festival, modern art gallery, ecopreneurs, painter-poets, health activists, eNGOs and digital innovators.

Artist Kottegade Ravi has won wide acclaim for his perspectives blending traditional Indian themes with modern art formats, and sees his journey as a spiritual evolution. “When I sit in front of the canvas, the first thing I do is to play some classical instrumental music and light an incense stick. It gives me a pleasant mood,” Ravi explains, describing his creative process, which starts off by applying one single coat of colour on canvas.

“When the colour dries, I create different textures using different tools. After that, I calmly sit in front of the canvas and try to see what is inside the texture. It is similar to cloud watching,” Ravi describes. “I let my subconscious mind create what it wants, that’s why my paintings look totally different from each other,” he adds.

Ravi has come a long way in his artistic journey. “I was born and brought up in a small village in Karnataka in an ordinary family. Since we were a big family and I was the sixth child, I felt that I was being neglected by everyone in my family,” he recalls, describing how he became an introvert.

“During that time, I felt that drawing and painting were my only escape. I used to find comfort in it. There is nobody in my family who draws and paints, it just came naturally to me,” says Ravi. He moved towards spirituality and realised that art was the only way to express his inner feelings.

“Every artist is unique in style, technique, skill and approach. I admire them as their works are the model for next-generation artists and it is their gift for art world. But I cannot take one name as my role model,” says Ravi.

Further on down the road, Ravi wants to see his paintings go across India and overseas. After Mystic Lotus, his next series is called Mysterious Land. The journey has not been without challenges, of course. “In the beginning, taking art as my profession was the biggest challenge of my life. I didn’t know that one can earn money through art. The second challenge as an artist is to convince myself, my audience, and the critics,” says Ravi. Artists need to balance audience reactions as well as the drive of their inner soul.

He does get unusual responses from some viewers. “A lady once came up to me and asked, “It must be fun to play with paint all the time. When do you actually work?” I took some time to digest this question,” Ravi recalls. “We as artists understand very well that we not teachers, lawyers, doctors or engineers. But we work very hard and consider our work to be work, not play,” he explains.

“Painting is not only colouring on canvas. It is an expression of the artist,” he advises aspiring artists. Artists should know what to express and how to express it with material, medium or style. “An artist should study lots of different situations in daily life in order to put it on canvas. Artists need to find their own style,” he adds.

Artists also need to keep themselves up to date with technology and new roles in fields like animation, and in the use of digital media for promoting and purchasing art works. “The downside is that people can easily download any painting and print it on canvas. It harms the artist’s effort and over the years it may impact the art industry,” he cautions.

“For me art and painting are spiritual processes. I believe that creativity is an intuition,” Ravi explains. He regularly conducts workshops to reach more people. “I believe that art is indispensable. Art gives a new perspective as to how people see their own lives,” Ravi signs off, urging our audience to also feel peace and energy through art – and promote the work of artists.

Here are some samples of Ravi's creative work in this edition of PhotoSparks - now what have you done today to experience and practice art?

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

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