How many of you know of a certain place called Lamakaan in Hyderabad. You might’ve been there to check out some play or art showcase, or at-least heard of the name. Our story starts there, on a fine Saturday evening many months ago. This was a time when I was hardly equipped to appreciate art in the truest and the most deserving manner. I was, for a want of a better word, just a drifter. But then, as I was munching on my samosas and sipping on my tea, I overheard a conversation praising a certain artist whose exhibits were on display on the floor. Curiosity was something I was born with, and so I headed there. Initially, truth be told, I could not understand the thematics involved in the paintings. But something caught my eye. A certain painting called Dream Catcher. The name in itself reeked of an interesting theory behind it, and thankfully the mind from which it formed out, sat at a table not very far from the exhibits. That’s when I got talking to Bhargavi, the brilliant mind behind the most metamorphic art I’ve ever seen….
Hello there…I’ve always been a fan of you, and this is my opportunity to peek into your mind basically. So my first question would be – what does Bhargavi’s art stand for? And does a certain abstractness attract you in your works?
My art has never really been very abstract. It always had a symbol in the form of a face, woman, bird or elements of earth, fire etc. The doodles which I draw basically come from my state of mind like when I am stressed, bored or captivated by some moment. When I don’t have any particular subject in mind, I just start drawing few lines, connect them, give it a shape, then I get a theme in mind which I use to finish the doodle.
I have been drawing for ever. When I was in school, I did something which I think many kids used to do and still do. I used to copy comics and patterns from rangoli books my mother had at home. It was in Goa where I got into a more professional kind. A very talented artist-neighbour saw me coming back with art materials I won from a painting competition and said she could teach me. The first professional one was done with her. We were halfway into it when I moved to Hyderabad. Finished the rest myself. This happened 15 years back. I continued doing few more paintings but got distracted later. Once in while I used to attempt something. I started doodling in college in the last pages of the my notebooks. I continued doing this even during my masters course.
Later when I started working at a consultancy, i continued making doodles in the weekends. My friends at office who saw these doodles wanted me to make something for them. That’s how the journey of my wish of PEN actually happened. This was the phase when I felt I wanted to continue to draw more. Started the blog, inklinkelements, as composing elements of someone was the essence of my work then. So, I was ink-linking elements about people. Till then art was something that just happened to me like other things in life. In the last two years, I have become an illustrator. As I seriously got into doodling and painting about people I started noticing the simple natural and man-made beauties around me , in an artistic way and had a drive to capture. Today every little being amazes me. I have drawn the praying mantis, frog under a palmy shelter, a snail and so on.
The simplest of muses are what inspires you…However, many at times we look at paintings going for a particular theme or soul? Do you look for any such inclusions in yours? if yes which ones?
I find inspiration in nature, local/traditional cultures and daily conversations or current context. For example I have made two paintings of structures in Bali. I call them the weathering beauties. Something about these old structures appeals to me. They have nice texture which I am to build using watercolours. These subjects also help me enjoy the mediums I use i.e black ink and watercolours.
Continuing my wonderment on muses…What do you look in muses as such, or is it that you go for a very abstract imagination? How does it work for you?
For me the muse would be in the form of a context or just the nature of being of any kind. Every creature presents itself in a unique way. For example I have been taking pictures of people doing different things. I saw a staff person at the restaurant outside my house weaving coconut leaf baskets to cook rice. It was something new I was witnessing and wanted to capture. Its still in my list of to-do drawings. I think I have a very documentative drive when it comes to illustrations and that is how I have got into capturing places and people.
When It comes to imagination, it was about the thoughts in my head. I was in Singapore when there was severe haze. I missed going to the east coast park which was one of the few things I like in that place. So I made an ink drawing of two birds on a balcony of a Singapore apartment missing the east cost park.
Now I would assume that it takes much effort to propagate your works in present age of socialistic chaos? Now, How easy or difficult is it for a talented painter such as yourself, to make it big in India presently ? Does having an active blog help?
Social media is definitely a helpful tool. On instagram, facebook and tumblr I am able to connect with similar artists and audience who like penandink and watercolour works. But then there are sooo many artists out there, I think to have your own audience is a challenge. It is something that takes time. I think every artist has a different pace at which they reach out to their audience. There is no set method or processes that can ensure quick connection to audience that will understand your work and follow it all along.
Many at times, there’s always one painting which demands something more from you in terms of emotional involvement or intricacies of concepts. Which one would you think was that to you specifically?
There is no one painting. I did struggle to reach the style that I was comfortable with and liked, something I was imagining but was not coming out through the pen. After doing numerous doodles, experimenting with various patterns, it happened on one day. I drew this girl holding a bird. When I finished that work, I felt there it is. It was a euphoria moment for me. I even shared about it with my friend and said that was I want to draw. From then I have been working on that style of line patterns. For an external person it may not look very different from works of other pen and ink artists, But it was some discovery for myself.
When you decide to go for a painting, what are the first five things that you want to decide upon?
I can’t exactly think of 5 things. The things I think of are what are the elements I am going to put together and how I am going to patternize it.
That makes sense, now then what according to you are the five most wonderful paintings in India/World, that makes you derive soul from, time and again ?
In India I am currently following an amazing Indian Watercolour artist, Rajkumar Sthabathy and I love the Gond art of Madhya Pradesh. Internationally I like Van Gogh. Rajkumar and Van gogh inspire me to look at life around me in detail. Rajkumar captures the essence of the streets of India, the way people interact and pose. Van gogh captured in a similar way in the initial years, like the potato eaters. I admire Gond art because of the colours and the intricate lines and dots.
Now being at place where you are validly speaking out through your works, is there an advice or such you would like to give to the budding artists that want to make it big in this preferred arena?
My motto is simple – No matter what, pursue the art form you are in love with. Let it be the meditative part in you.
So that was Bhargavi folks. A brilliant mind and thankfully a generously accomodating artist. Each painting of hers has a story to tell. Do visit her webpage and blog to properly understand the soul in them. Visit : Facebook And Webpage.
A Wirally Exclusive Interview.