‘Your willpower should be an inspiration for others’ – how these four artists thrive during the ups and downs of the creative journey
In a series spanning interviews with around 100 artists from the Chitra Santhe festival, we wrap up with pictorial highlights and artistic insights.
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 565 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.
“Art is everything for me, all the exploration and experimentation with infinite challenges. Success stems from my own satisfaction, then others’ reaction to it, and finally commercial achievements,” explains Bengaluru-based artist Sirisha KS, in a chat with YourStory.
He calls for more art appreciation in society through media coverage, ads, and artist awards. His works are priced from Rs 5,000 above.
“Though the pandemic was a tough time, I explored other art forms like speed painting, blindfolded painting, and even dancing while painting,” Sirisha recalls.
He also performed in online programmes, one of which featured speed painting. “I created five paintings in an hour, ranging from two to six feet in height,” he explains.
Though he feels online exhibitions are better than having no displays at all, Sirisha prefers the experience of physical exhibitions. “Never ever give up whatever the scenario is,” he advises aspiring artists.
“Your willpower should be an inspiration for others. Constant practice can make anything possible, with a positive mindset,” Sirisha suggests.
“Art means everything to me. I breathe art. Art is what comes naturally to me,” explains Chikmagalur-based artist Laxmi Mysore, who had a penchant for art right from childhood.
“An introverted and shy kid, I was always pondering in my own imaginative world,” she recalls. She has now been pursuing art for 25 years, after art school.
“Art connects you with your soul. It's an intense personal experience. For me art is like meditation. It has given me moments of inner tranquility and peace, and heals me from within,” Laxmi explains.
The process of painting itself is an exploration of one's own thoughts. “It transforms me into a totally new world. A new space where I have the freedom to explore, introspect, and implement my inner feelings,” she describes.
Success for her begins with completion of an artwork. “It's also not easy for a woman artist to pursue her professional life as she has a lot to juggle,” Laxmi cautions.
“Art is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have been able to accomplish lots of my goals successfully, including solo shows, group shows, and national art camps,” she proudly adds.
“I have been able to create my own identity as an artist,” Laxmi says, having won a series of awards including Kala Jyothi Award and Amrita Shergil National Merit Award. A number of galleries represent her, and her works have found their way to international private collections.
She calls for more art appreciation in society through exhibitions, fairs, workshops and camps. Schools and media play an important role as well. Government and private sector support can promote art even more.
“Art spreads aesthetic appeal in this otherwise mechanical, monotonous world. It adds life, beauty, meaning, colour, and joy to our existence,” Laxmi affirms.
Her recent works include the Lockdown Diaries series. They feature the beautiful sights of nature, simple pleasures of life, and even a silent conversation between humans and birds. Laxmi’s artworks are priced from Rs 6,000 to Rs 80,000.
“For me as an artist, the pandemic time has been like a new beginning, with new opportunities. Artists generally work in solitude, and I was able to explore new concepts like virtual studios, art shows and art camps,” Laxmi recalls.
She misses the positivity and close interactions of physical events, but also appreciates the global reach of online platforms. “In a physical exhibition, the viewer can get a tangible experience of the artwork, talk with the artists to understand their perception, and get a three-dimensional analysis of the artwork,” she describes.
“It is possible to feel the textures and layers of colour engineering, which can be an enriching experience to an art lover,” Laxmi describes.
“Be passionate towards your work. Being loyal, hardworking and dedicated is what is integral to the work of an artist,” she advises aspiring artists.
“Never cease to be a learner. You stop being an artist when you cease learning or experimenting. Your work should reflect a strong fondness or expression of your inner emotions which connects and engages the viewer with your work,” Laxmi emphasises.
“Art means freedom – freedom that comes from within. My aim is to create everyday. And that's the kind of success I think for myself,” Neha Raibagi explains. Her artworks are priced from Rs 25,000 t0 Rs 1.5 lakh.
Though the pandemic was a tough time, she was glad she was busy with her paintings. She misses the fun, engagement and interaction of physical events, but appreciates the fact the virtual edition of Chitra Santhe could be extended for months, and not just a single day as in the physical version.
“Never ever stop painting or creating art. Keep learning something new, and always try new ways to create art,” Neha advises aspiring artists.
“Art is a reflection of my life. Exploring my new self in every art is success in itself,” says exhibiting artist Deepali S.
“Art should reach to people, inspiring them towards creativity, reality and acceptance. Appreciation of art will then improve on its own,” she observes.
For Chitra Santhe, she prepared artworks reflecting female expressions, lifestyle, emotions, and internal creativity. Her works are in oil paint and acrylic.
“I kept working on my art and inspiration during the pandemic. My art work inspired me to be positive during the lockdowns even when I had no material to do paintings,” Deepali recalls.
She appreciates online exhibitions for being able to spread positivity all around even when the whole world was stopped. “Whatever the situation, always keep working hard,” she advise aspiring artists.
“Whatever path you choose, keep walking on it without doubting yourself. Trust yourself. Your talent is an art too,” Deepali signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?