From restrictions to release – how these three artists show that constraints unleash new forms of creativity
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 555 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.
“As someone who has been drawing and doodling since the time I could pick up a pencil, art has always been a part and parcel of my life,” explains engineer-artist Priyanka Murthy, in a chat with YourStory.
“It has always been a soothing experience when I start a new piece, and it’s a way to escape into another world. It’s a way to express myself,” she adds.
As an animal lover, her works revolve around the beauty and kindness of animals. “I hope humankind will be more empathetic towards these beautiful beings,” Priyanka says.
“I start by drawing the animal’s eyes, as I feel if the innocence is captured in the eyes then the artwork is complete,” she explains. Her artworks are priced from Rs 3,000 to Rs 15,000.
An engineer by profession, she tried to take up art full time for the past three years. “Being an introvert, like most artists, it was difficult to advertise and market my work. But with time, I was able to showcase my talent in various forums and galleries,” she proudly says.
She claims her website has drawn hundreds of visitors and many loyal customers. “This I consider as success,” Priyanka explains.
“Art is not just wall decor. Art has the power to change the world,” she emphasises, calling for greater appreciation of art in society. “There are thousands of talented artists in the country and all they need is fostering and appreciation,” she adds.
“There are enough walls for every artist to create as much art as their heart desires,” Priyanka affirms.
Though the pandemic was tough on artists with its restrictions on galleries, she kept herself occupied with art. “Art is therapy. I find joy every time I start and finish a piece,” she says.
She appreciates the international reach of an online exhibition, and the convenience of home viewing. “If marketed well, an online exhibition can definitely prove beneficial to artists,” Priyanka affirms.
“On the other hand, I miss the whole shebang of setting up the stall in a physical exhibition, deciding on which piece goes next to which, interacting with other artists, interaction with customers, and the joy of seeing peoples eyes light up when they see your work,” she laments.
“Hold tight to your vision. Art as a career can be hard,” Priyanka advises aspiring artists. There are times when artists feel they are not good enough, or when they feel let down.
“Compete only with yourself. Keep at it and keep getting better at it. Look at your old pieces and you will surely be happy that you have outdone yourself,” she suggests.
“Art is everything! It is present everywhere in nature. It can also be expressed as a person's way of life, perspective or soul,” Hari Prasad explains.
“If you ask me, I would say God is the best artist, since He created all these wonderful places and people. All these are a form of art in a way,” he adds.
Hari sees success for himself as an artist by the response and respect he gets for his artworks, by audience feedback and appreciation. He calls for more exhibitions and shows for artists to showcase their talent and for people to spend quality time viewing artworks.
Though the pandemic restricted external activities, Hari continued to explore his creative side. While physical exhibitions involved a lot of activities like packing and transport, online platforms allow displays with just a click of a mouse.
“But people interactions will not be that effective online as compared to physical exhibitions,” he adds.
“Just be yourself, create whatever you want to. Don't compare yourself to others. Be unique,” Hari advises aspiring artists.
“Don't be scared to try new things. Create your own style rather than copying others,” he urges.
“Art is the best way I can express my feelings. It also keeps my mind at peace and is something I find solace in,” explains Coimbatore-based artist Pooja Jain. She finds success when audiences understand what she is communicating through art.
“We should educate people that art is not just some ‘time pass’ but a talent too. It should not be seen as an activity for someone who has nothing to do in life. Art is life itself for us artists,” she affirms, calling for more meaningful conversations between artists and audiences.
Pooja’s artworks are themed on nature. “Animals teach humans a lot of things, but we fail to understand the lessons about being loving and selfless,” she laments. Her artworks are priced from Rs 5,000 to Rs 18,000.
Though the pandemic imposed restrictions, Pooja made the most of the fresh perspectives and meditation it required. “I tried my hand at pen on canvas. Even black and white can make wonders,” she recalls.
“I loved it when us humans were inside and the animals were free outside,” she jokes. Though she appreciates the broader reach of online exhibitions, physical exhibitions are a different experience altogether.
“It’s just like in the world of books – the experience of reading a physical book cannot be replaced by e-books or other forms,” Pooja observes.
“Believe in yourself and draw to please yourself without thinking about others’ opinions,” she advises aspiring artists.
“Take feedback from someone who understands art, because they are the ones who will give you an honest opinion,” Pooja 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