Passion and profession: these artists show us how to find success through connection

In Part II of our photo essay on the Art Souk 2019 exhibition, we feature more creative works by the 91 artists, along with their insights on roles and responsibilities.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 395 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.

ArtMantram Trust recently organised the one-week Bangalore Art Craft and Design Festival 2019, which included an exhibition called Art Souk (see Part I of our photo essay here). Featuring the works of artists across India, the exhibition was held at the Promenade Boulevard, next to the Rangoli Metro Arts Centre, MG Road Metro Station.

“We circulated a call for participation and received over a hundred applicants,” says festival director Kashmira Nair, in a chat with YourStory. She also organises a number of live art shows in Cubbon Park, where people can observe professional artists at work. The next performance featuring 20 artists will be held in the park on December 8.

“We provide entertainment, education and encouragement for citizens to bring out their artistic side. We put out a huge mat with sketching, drawing and painting materials for kids to take part in art activities,” Kashmira adds. Often, adults also join in and try to brush up their artistic skills, she jokes.

“Art is not just a reflection or imagination of life, art is life itself. Art is an inner connection to the soul,” Chennai-based Susharitha Sugumar explains. She had the choice of becoming a doctor but became a full-time artist instead.

She has completed over a hundred paintings and exhibited in five shows, winning awards along the way. Her artworks are priced from Rs 1,000 to Rs 30,000.

She observes that these days, audiences are looking for details in hyper-realistic paintings and new concepts in abstract art, almost like a treasure hunt. “I was surprised when people were appreciating my pencil artworks in the exhibition, I never thought pencil could capture more attention than my colour paintings,” she says.

“Don't hide your talents just because of what others think and say. Pursue your passion as a profession to succeed in life and reach great heights,” she advises aspiring artists.

Daily life itself is a source of inspiration for artists like Madhubala Bhosale. She points to the rise of digital art as a trend in India, but still stresses the importance of original artworks done by hand.

As advice to aspiring artists, she recommends observation, practice, and perseverance. She is a teacher and conducts art workshops as well. Her artworks are done with ink on rice paper and are priced around Rs 1,000.

“Art is a reflection of my passion for wildlife which I interpret through my art,” says Yusuf Madhiya, who uses a graphic/comic art style. He sees art as a meditative balance from his fabric business; he paints from 11 pm to 2.30 am.

Yusuf has attended six art shows so far and collected over 150 artworks in the past few years. “Common people are waking up to art as an essential part of their lives, but the progress is slow,” he observes.

For the exhibition, Yusuf prepared tiger images in tempera colours on boards, with simple black frames and white mounts for enhancement. His works are priced from Rs 15,000 to Rs 50,000. He has also written a book, Guide to Chennai Heritage, which interprets heritage sites in art pieces.

Yusuf advises audiences to approach art with an open mind, and not have preconceived biases about the artist’s fame or media profile. “And please don't ask How long does it take to make this painting,” he jokes.

“I ensure that my paintings always have some social responsibility in their messages, such as the preservation of culture. Most of my paintings are based on rural lifestyles,” explains Kayalvizhi, a graduate of Bharathiar Palkalai Koodam College, Puducherry.

“Art adds character and value to people's lives,” she adds. Interestingly, she uses not just brushes for her paintings but forks, spoons, vessel-cleaning brushes, and palette knives as well. Her artworks are priced from Rs 3,000 to Rs 50,000.

Kayal was a production graphic designer and then quit to pursue art full-time 12 years ago. She has participated in shows, exhibitions and camps across India, winning awards along the way – which motivates her to keep learning and experimenting. She urges audiences to support not just established artists but young talents as well.

“Art is happiness that I can share with the world without saying a word. Art is happiness that I get by letting out my emotions, living my dreams, and creating little things I so love,” explains Sanahi Studio’s Ahila C. She finds art to be therapeutic, with the power to cure many ailments.

Some of her works focus on realistic paintings of animals and birds, with special attention to the background as well. Developing new techniques is a “forever learning curve,” she says. Ahila was a software developer for nine years and then switched full-time to art last year.

She has participated in four exhibitions and has learnt the traditional art form called Kerala mural art as well. “Living every moment of this beautiful art form is bliss. To carry forward the legacy of this incredible art form in its most authentic way is my wish,” she proudly says.

“I definitely see modern art trending more in India. But realistic artwork is evergreen as well,” Ahila observes. For the exhibition, she prepared pen and ink artworks celebrating friendship. Her works are priced from Rs 2,000 to Rs 20,000.

She feels India definitely has a long way to go with respect to the market for art, quality of galleries, and public appreciation of art. “There is no dearth of real talent in India. Given better opportunities and recognition, Indian artists will do wonders worldwide,” she enthuses.

“I wish to bring smiles to the faces of my audiences, smiles that can last for a lifetime. I wish to inspire people through art just the way I get inspired,” Ahila says. She urges audiences to interact more with artists to appreciate the beauty of this creative field, and understand how much hard work it takes to create artworks.

“Love art, for it is positive, pure and priceless. It is a moment to experience, creative energy to feel, a planet of thoughts you can transport yourself to,” Ahila explains. She recommends that aspiring artists commit themselves with sincerity and hard work.

“Don't run after fame and sales. They will pour on you anyway if your work has the purity and the power to speak to the world,” Ahila signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule, and find ways to harness the full energy of your creative soul?

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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 Suman Singh)