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ME…tal.

From the beginning of time, almost all living beings around us have evolved through their continuous learning and adaptation, seeking and gaining the power of wisdom. Humans in particular, through their ability to observe, comprehend and process their experience, have always been fascinating. Emotion is one of the vital elements that have helped us grow and respond in our lives. It also binds us to almost everything that exists around us.

As an artist, I see ‘Art’ as an emotion expressed through my work. It is also many times the result of how I have connected to everything around me – animals, birds, things and obviously people; and their stories and experiences. My work is the reflection of my evolution as an artist through the years.

I have been fortunate to rub shoulders with some of the eminent artists through various group shows in over decade and a half of my journey as an artist. Yet, one of my most memorable and cherished experiences would be as that of an art teacher in a reputed institution uncovering boundless imagination and curiosity of the tiny tots and how I have uncovered some of my own creativity by working along with them; by becoming a child again showcasing their art works.

The corner stone of my journey perhaps is when during my own high school days, I drew my favourite grandmother and was sucked into the mesmerising world of portraiture. Presumably, I was drawn to the depths of the creases in her forehead more than herself. I saw her life and her experience through those wrinkles; like endless waves on the sand dunes shaped by the desert wind.

In fact, my journey of getting into an art school to gain a formal education is no less than a search for oasis in the desert. I fought with myself in and out of the battle to acquire a ‘recognizable’ academic qualification. Nevertheless, I am happier of the journey, than the destination itself.

During my education in multiple stints, I did portraits as an academic study. I always chose the elderly whom I knew personally rather than public personalities. I progressed to represent their core characteristics in a way to evoke emotional response from my audience. I wanted my subjects to convey the story through their expressions. I mostly use the backgrounds to communicate the story of the subject’s life while the choice of colours and elements indicate their characterization. My subjects involve the humblest of the people around me who inspired me in myriad ways with their ability to withstand life’s challenges and come away smiling (The series “My Celebrities” is a way to honour their experience and life’s story, and my own “Self-portraits”). “Medium” is nothing less than a personality trait for any artist. I work on mixed media – Dry Pastels, Acrylic, Newspaper, Metal etc, although my favourite is dry pastel and metal.

Before I could realize, ‘Metal’ took a central path. The ‘bass relief’ which can be brought about on a metal repousse is just an amazing feeling. Minus the colours which are not a necessity in this medium, it has the strength to show depth and highlight on its own. It is also most challenging form of art considering the fact that one has to work reverse to bring to life the contours on the front. Yet again, lives of artists who stir me from inside are my subjects. Working on metal is meditative and gives immense satisfaction as it has unlimited avenues while trying intricacies. The process of creating a metal repousse is a joy in itself. Be it aluminium or brass, the malleable quality of the metal makes one experiment on the details and intricacies unlike any other medium I have worked on. Although the tools used in the process is minimal, the output is always rewarding. I use simple metal nibs and some basic wooden tools on a metal sheet. The actual process involves the desired drawing on the metal sheet and later creating a depth using these tools. The picture in the mind slowly emerges out through the bass relief. To me, my metal work is a partial sculpture as it is beyond the 2D surface showing off its 3-dimension.

I initially attempted with gods and goddesses and later moved on to traditional animal and bird forms. Eventually, my ‘muse’ the portraiture caught me again. I have been trying portraits of my favourite artists ‘Frida’, ‘Dali’, ‘Van Gogh’, ‘Hussain’ and a few more.

It makes me feel elated when my audience ask " is this handmade or you use a mould?" And I happily reply "of course it is 100% made by my hand! I have tried colouring my works which also has a great response from my audience. Hope to continue in this medium more as it has become a mutual love between Metal and Me!!!

Japanese Vegetable Tempura