By Sukant Deepak
New Delhi, April 12 (SocialNews.XYZ) He points out that it is the ability to detach from what is happening that helps him to create, and that if he tried to connect it to what is happening in the world , it probably wouldn’t be possible to paint.
“I would go out and try to help people in hospitals or try to make myself useful depending on the occasion. However, I can’t survive. If I’m not painting, it’s a very different experience. What comes on canvas or on paper, and the imagery you paint…it starts to dictate itself. And you have to obey, you have to follow, what is the demand of the particular image or a painting”, artist Atul Dodiya told IANS, while talking about his latest ‘Walking With the Waves’, a set of intimate, small-format watercolors made by him over the last two years of the ongoing Covid crisis, currently on display at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) in the capital.
He adds that they were done almost in one go, over a year — 365 watercolors. There is no reference to a solitary figure in the landscape. They do nothing, talk to tree trunks and hold the branch. “There are shadows and touches of the pandemic that what they are going through is not in a literal sense, but in a certain tone or loneliness that one has felt during this time. Being alone, not being able to go out, not being able to experience nature, and not being able to meet friends, again, that’s very unique to me, at least in my context.
For someone who at the age of 10 knew he wanted to be an artist, Dodiya says he feels lucky to have been supported by his family and able to go to art school. . “In the beginning, that passion and that kind of interest was a wonderful feeling. It’s interesting to think about and see how things change over time. As a painter, my own style and work has evolved. I’m grateful that there was an opportunity for me to continue doing what I want to do.”
The artist, who greatly incorporates elements of popular culture, cinema and images from advertising culture, feels that a certain intertwining occurs between creative spheres such as literature, film, theater and music – all being in the creative sphere.
“When I talk about my painting, it’s in my own creative language. I try to articulate my painting which is visual, in words. Poetry is always a creative joy, in the same way that cinema is a joy visual and literature a reading One. Of course, cinema in a certain way, for me, is a complete medium. The great masters such as Satyajit Ray, Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini, Jean Luc Godard, they inspire you because they experiment so much in their own mediums.
Talk to him about how each of his shows boasts of a unique style and concept, and he says, “I’m not one style when I paint. Each time, the effort is to try something new and different. I love experimenting with new techniques and new styles. I often feel that instead of having no options, there are too many options for me. When I first tried a large scale realistic watercolor it was a 6ft by 4ft size. Now watercolor is a difficult task. medium, and the realism and scale made it even harder.”
“Furthermore, a subject like Gandhi made it even more difficult. The first time I did the Broken Branches Cabinet in 2002, it was shown at the Venice Biennale. It was the first time I did something that wasn’t actually a painting, it was more of a sort of installation of an object. Before that, I was painting on real rolling shutters on shops that go up and down. Painting on them was an unusual experience and which was shown at the Raina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and a solo exhibition titled ET and others. These strands were completely new to me. In 2001, I did an exhibition called Tearscape which was large watercolors. These works were not had no reference to specific people or places, mostly made up characters and no realism in there, they are very stylized figures.”
Mumbai, he says, is part of him, and he of the city. Emphasizing that this had a major influence on him given the various experiences he had there, the artist adds: “The extremely rich people rub shoulders with the very poor. There’s the movie world and popular movie stars who live here, the council and the billboards you see are often ugly, but that’s the part of town. You hear the sounds of the city and all kinds of diverse experiences. If I had been born and raised, for example, in Shanti Niketan, I would probably have been a different kind of person. I’m not saying good or bad, it’s not about good or bad, just a different experience. I would probably be totally different if I had grown up living in a quiet, green environment. Here in the city, surrounded by concrete buildings and concrete jungle, it’s a different kind of experience. But I believe human beings are the same whether it’s Shanti Niketan or Bombay or any other city.
Speaking of his process, the artist says that it is quite “mixed” and not simple. “When I do a specific medium like watercolour, I do something else at the same time, then I want to try cinematic images and do it simultaneously. There is oil on canvas, then references to cinema, there are small-scale watercolors — each work being done simultaneously. I find that I can easily change mediums and subjects without any challenge. It is a silent and also extremely painful process to resolve each theme of a certain way. However, that’s how I’ve worked and that’s what I like,” he concludes.