‘There is more to life than the market’ – artist SA Vimalanathan on sustaining creativity

Three exhibitions by award-winning artist SA Vimalanathan shed light on the importance of focus, observation, and momentum. We bring you some highlights in this photo essay.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 380 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath recently hosted a collection of exhibitions by Bengaluru-based artist SA Vimalanathan. The themes of the three exhibitions are so diverse that it almost seems hard to believe they could be the works of a single artist, but Vimalanathan is not one who wants to be typecast in only a single style or form of art.

The three exhibitions focus on city landscapes, Buddha, and urban goddesses, as shown in this photo essay. “The artist is a witness to the growth and chaos of development of a city in transit. These paintings are a record of the ceaseless flux and kinetic energy of urban environments, of the energy of chaos and change,” according to Suresh Jayaram, art historian and curator of the CityLights exhibition.

From Garden City and IT City to today’s urban gridlock, Vimalanathan represents Bengaluru’s “metascape” through a combination of grids and colours capturing aspiration as well as chaos. “It’s a reflection of what I see happening around me, and what is being done to nature,” Vimalanathan explains, in a chat with YourStory.

Thanks to mobile phones and online maps, the way people visualise cities is changing, and this is also captured in some of his paintings. The diversity of urban food is another theme in the works of this prolific artist.

With art degrees from Bangalore University and Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Vimalanathan has lived in Dubai and India, and worked with a range of materials including textiles. This layered approach is reflected in his works on the Buddha, with multiple decorative levels of textiles on top of canvas. The serenity of these paintings is in stark contrast to the loud urban dystopia of his other works.

A third series of paintings is themed on urban goddesses. Vimalanathan explains that these artworks represent the power and beauty of contemporary women. They are combined with the iconography of birds and animals that represent beauty, power and knowledge, such as owls and peacocks.

Some of the paintings take almost a month to complete, Vimalanathan says. “Just as we as humans change throughout our lives, so also my art changes,” he explains. He advises aspiring artists to stay focused and keep working hard in order to be successful. They should develop their own styles and not be swayed by others’ opinions or styles.

Vimalanathan’s artworks are priced from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. Though some artists may feel that the art market is in a slump due to the current economic downturn, they must continue to paint and create, he urges.

“There is more to life than the market,” Vimalanathan explains. “Art is like treasure. You must keep up with your creative energy, and maintain the momentum,” he signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and see how to tap the full range of your creative sides?

SA Vimalanathan

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.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)


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