Friday, February 04, 2011

Interview with ArtIndea- Part 1

Last year, this time, we at Saffron Tree ventured into books on Art Appreciation and exploration. India is a wonderful treasure trove of different genres of art and we are pleased to present this passionate duo doing their best to promote Indian art.

This is a two part series- Part 1 will introduce these inspiring ladies, Srivi Kalyan and BindhuMalini, their thoughts on Art and a peek at their work in the publishing arena. Part II will take you into their ArtIndea project, a novel approach to promoting Indian Art.

You are both so multi talented... tell us about your work- what drives you?
: As a writer and an illustrator, I enjoy the book as a medium of art. The ability to create ideas, explore them visually and translate them into a journey excites me. I believe picture books are for everyone and I have always enjoyed reading them whether they are designed for children or adults. I explore different media, styles and forms. Each book I work on enriches my learning process and in turn drives me to create more.

I find illustration both a reflective and creative process, where I can enter the worlds of characters and bring their dreams, imaginations and stories to life.

Bindhu: I am a singer, illustrator and graphic Designer. As a singer I enjoy exploration. But the joy about music is that its an ocean and you are forever a student. I am driven by the passion to learn.

The other strong factor in the process of learning is the act of teaching. A good teacher becomes a good learner and vice versa. So with each exploration, lesson and tutoring, there is a lot of discovery of the process of how knowledge is imbibed and its exciting through and through. When I teach, that’s when I can actually reflect on what I have learnt and harness it.

What are your favourite picture books from around the world?
Srivi – Quentin Blake’s books particularly Clown, Books illustrated by Pulak Biswas(Mahagiri), Mickey Patel (Snake Trouble), Suddasatwa Basu (Shangmiyang the tanghkul giant), London Jungle Book By Bhajju Shyam, Waterhole by Graeme Base, Calvin and Hobbes, Martin Pebble by Jean Jacques Sempe, Dotting the eyes on a painted dragon, illustrated by Lu Fusheng,
Poky Little Puppy by illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, Mr God, This is Anna, Illustrated by Papas, Little Prince by Antoine De St.Exupery, many different Russian illustrators esp Yevgeny Charusin and Nikita Charusin’s My Animal Book… This list is endless.

Bindhu – Quentin Blake of course, like Srivi mentioned. Apart from the names that Srivi has listed, I also like a Lot of Indian Illustrators, there is one Srividya Natarajan who is a great inspiration for me, I also like Atanu Roy and Nancy Raj.

There are so many children who attend art classes nowadays. Is that a healthy trend? Can anyone become an artist with practise? What about individuality? Personal style?
Art classes are largely in the informal sector and there is no specific methodology that is being followed in all of them. Different teachers approach the subject differently. While attending art classes could be really healthy and gives the children a greater command over the media, it would be ideal if the classes are striving to help nurture children’s individual potential rather than moving them towards a factory production of art.

We often find in our workshops that children who have gone to art classes exhibit both positive and negative practices. Many of them are very confident about using media as well as creating forms and hence are able to bring out very good quality work. Some of them are highly imaginative. Combined with their confidence and the ease with art which comes from their regular training, they create really good art.

On the other hand, we also find some students, whose imagination has been suppressed and who are afraid to create on their own. So they continue to have good quality production, but an inability to explore their own ideas or style.
Hence it is essential that art classes bring out the best of both worlds by giving students time to explore their own approaches, while also learning the basic elements of art and creating copy works.

Being an artist is a very natural and innate ability that we all possess as human beings. Akin to language, it is a form of expression. How far we choose to explore is left to our individual choices and situations. However it is definitely possible to be an artist if one chooses. While each person’s style or nature of creativity may vary, it is possible to nurture art in others as well as oneself.

Willingness to learn, passion, discipline, practice and a will to keep trying till we achieve our expected results are all valuable qualities that can ensure one’s growth as an artist. Art is also a personal journey, there can be hundreds of opportunities and avenues present to all of us, the urge to pursue and dapple is mostly from within. Inspirations are all around us to pick up anything that interests us.

What do you feel about the anti-colouring movement?
It is a great idea. However we believe in giving children a range of options and opportunities. While colouring in adult art need not always be colouring within the lines or using traditional colours, it can provide an exciting structure for children to explore their colouring styles as well as understand the contours of different forms.

The freedom that can be created within the coloring exercises would make a lot of difference to children’s uninhibited exploration of their colour sensibilities and unknown styles and forms.

Colouring could be a healthy activity when there are other parallel inputs that will also encourage the imagination of child to explode.

Now with computers and art software and what not, where does it leave traditional methods?
While computer generated artwork is finding a lot of place, traditional methods still inform the core work of the individual artists. Even though a variety of tools like the pen and tablet simulate traditional drawing tools and softwares provide everything from charcoal to oil paints as options, the traditional methods and a person’s practice and knowledge of these methods definitely brings out a better quality/ individuality in his/her works. They also provide a lot of fun hours of exploration for children not just affecting their creative skills, but their motor and cognitive skills as well.

Infact traditional methods need to be encouraged more and more for people to see the extraordinary quality and exclusive nature of work they can create as they explore these methods.

Art is a sensibility and computers, software are part of the modern range of medium that could hold art. Art shapes the medium and medium shapes the art.

Watch out for the second part of this Interview, coming up in a few days.


sathish said...

Artnavy, wonderful interview as always.

btw, What is anti-colouring movement? have not heard about it.

artnavy said...

Thanks Satish

gives a bit about anticolouring

Vibha said...

loved the pictures you have posted Art. Very interesting QA session and especially liked her answer on the art classes for children.

Arundhati said...

Echo Vibha's comment

Unknown said...

Very interesting read! Lookin forward to part 2. Its wonderful to see that traditional methods are being kept alive! Wishing your future projects the very best!

Unknown said...

Very interesting read! Lookin forward to part 2. Its wonderful to see that traditional methods are being kept alive! Wishing your future projects the very best!

Siddhartha Joshi said...

Very nice to read the interview Bindhu, but my usual complaint remains...When do I hear you sing???

nanands said...

"...the traditional methods and a person’s practice and knowledge of these methods definitely brings out a better quality/ individuality in his/her works." well said!

artnavy said...

Thanks all and I loved their take on Art. Art has entered our homes so much more than in the past...

Madhavan Gopalarathnam said...

My daughter was part of this workshop (Prasanna) - i can see the sense of achievement in her face when 'her' book was 'released' - a great idea...goes a long way in promoting confidence in children. Thank you Srivi, Bindhu, Preetha :)

Madhavan Gopalarathnam

artnavy said...

Thanks Madhavan for your comment. It is heartening to see children enjoy art and delight in their feeling of accomplishment about their work...

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