Aspiration, perspiration, inspiration – how these artists describe the road to creative success
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 560 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The 18th edition of the annual Chitra Santhe art festival was held virtually due to the pandemic (see our extended photo-essay series here). Hosted by Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru, the festival featured over 1,000 artists from India and overseas.
See also YourStory’s coverage of six earlier editions of Chitra Santhe: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, as well as compilations of Top Quotes of 2020 on Art in the Era of the Pandemic, Indian Art, Art Appreciation and Practice, and Beauty and Business of Art.
“My art is an expression of myself. When I took up painting dedicatedly, two to three years ago, what I wanted to do was to find myself,” explains Pune-based artist Maitreyee Rajput, in a chat with YourStory.
“I did not feel like myself in the hectic corporate lifestyle, and felt I was missing out on what made me truly me. Painting started to help me explore my feelings, my sadness, my happiness,” she adds.
Painting outdoor took her closer to nature. “That was one more thing I was missing out on in the mundane city life. So for me, painting has been a way to explore myself first and then to express it,” Maitreyee affirms.
Success for her comes from the happiness she feels towards her art. “Awards, recognition and appreciation from masters, peers and the public, as well as commercial success, play a huge role in an artist’s journey. It definitely boosts the confidence of artists and encourages them to further express themselves,” she observes.
Maitreyee calls for greater appreciation of art in society. This should happen right from the very beginning of a child’s upbringing, by elders and teachers.
For Chitra Santhe, she presented the pastel and gouache artworks Rumi’s Fields, Waiting for Him, and Road to Heaven. Her artworks are priced from Rs 1,500 to Rs 7,500.
“I have been a lover of Rumi’s works and when I read the lines Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there, I thought of creating this painting,” Maitreyee explains. She was also inspired by the beauty of a big mango tree at her parents’ place in the Konkan, and from the tranquillity of her time spent in the Himalayas.
Though the pandemic was tough on the art world, she used the time to explore her native place in the Sahyadri mountain ranges. “I got to be closer to nature, do my readings, and apply myself more to my works,” she recalls.
Maitreyee appreciates the accessibility and broader visibility of an online exhibition. “In the current COVID-19 situation, it may be the only option. However, I miss the feeling of entering an art gallery, and getting soaked in the richness of the paintings framed, displayed, and surrounding me on the gallery walls,” she explains.
Kushal Kumar NS
“Art is meditation, it is a self-realisation like visual diary writing, and an interaction between artist and society,” Bengaluru-based artist Kushal Kumar NS explains. As a commercial artist, he has also won the Lokmanya Tilak Award (2011) and Karnataka Lalit Kala Academy Award (2010).
At Chitra Santhe, he presented works of art prepared during the pandemic lockdown, one of which is aptly titled Unlock 1.0. “It features a turtle, and reflects the proverb Slow and steady wins the race,” he describes.
Slow and steady may indeed win the fight against the coronavirus. His other works are about nostalgia and fulfilment of a child’s desires. Kushal’s works are priced from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh.
Kushal Kumar NS
He calls for more public participation and interaction in the fine arts field. “Unfortunately, visual arts are at the bottom level compared to other arts. Therefore, it is important to showcase platforms and opportunities for art display and appreciation,” Kushal urges.
During the pandemic, he started his own YouTube channel and Facebook page, along with art tutorials for kids and beginners. Though he appreciates the wide reach of online exhibitions, he feels the physical viewing experience is unmatched and should not be lost.
“Art can represent so many things – for me, it is a medium to express myself, and represents my feelings about the world in one way or another,” explains Chikkaballapur-based artist Swathi PN, whose works span terracotta, paintings and sculptures.
She has participated in a number of art camps and has won several awards for art and art teaching, including Mysore Dasara 2019 Award (for graphic work). One of her sculptures from a fallen silver oakwood tree in a Bengaluru park blends aesthetics and social messages.
“Art brings people together. Art appreciation helps open up mindsets of people, by listening to different perspectives and views as well as interpretations of the art. It encourages thoughtful conversation and understanding among the community,” Swathi observes.
For Chitra Santhe, she presented artworks themed on ecofeminism and women empowerment. “As a nature lover, I also worked on the theme of naturalistic beauty. Nature is always fascinating, and I aim to capture this in my works,” she adds. Her works are priced from Rs 4,000 to Rs 20,000.
Though the pandemic affected many physical activities, Swathi took the opportunity to strengthen her online presence. “I got the chance to participate in an international creative drawing exchange programme by Gallery Artoz,” she says.
She also conducted online classes and talks about the role of art in one’s life in collaboration with Rotaract Club. “I used the forced downtime to create new work for the future, experiment with new series, and delve into longer-term projects,” Swathi adds.
She appreciates the global reach and client networking opportunities of online exhibitions. “It reduces the extreme cost of attending exhibitions overseas. A virtual exhibition is a long-lasting exposure even after the event is over,” she emphasises.
“Exhibiting offline never comes cheap. Between the costs of stand space, the actual stand and furniture, shipping, employee time, travel costs, meals, and many more, we end up paying a big bill,” Swathi observes.
She also offers tips for aspiring artists. “Whatever you do, the only secret is to believe in it and satisfy yourself. Don’t do it for anyone else. Be what you want, be proud of how hard you are working,” she advises.
“Success is good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration, and inspiration,” Swathi signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to harness your inner creativity?
José Luis Hernández