Varma paints with his heart
By Akshatha Shetty | Published: 03rd December 2012 09:35 AM |
On a warm sunny morning, as artist BKS Varma wields his brush with panache to paint a few swift strokes, a ray of sunshine caresses the wall-sized paintings in his studio in Nagavara. The rich chromatic composition of his murals adds an aura of divinity to his art. Born in 1949, Varma began sketching at the age of six. His interest in art was further nurtured by his artistic parents.
“I cannot really pinpoint the starting point of my journey with art. Since my mother, Jayalakshmi, was an artist herself, she has had a massive influence on me. She was my first guru and she is one person who I always look up to. There have been several people who have inspired me. Amongst them A N Subbarao, A C H Acharya, Dali, Kuvampu, S L Birappa, Deviprasad Roy Choudhry are a few artists I admire,” said artist B K S Varma who considers Raja Ravi Varma as his ‘manasa’ guru.
Known for his skillfully crafted paintings, Varma has a way of channeling his spiritual energy into his subjects. Ranging from mythological characters to Hindu Gods and Goddesses, his artworks are an intricate blend of organic textures and multi-coloured hues.
“In the early years of my life, as an artist, I would paint with just one intention and that was ‘happiness’. Gradually, I wanted to create works that would touch both people and the society -- something that would remain forever,” said the artist.
Be it the incandescent divinity of Lord Shiva, the beauty and grace of Radha Krishna or the meditative form of Sri Raghavendra Swami; the artist has managed to capture the innate beauty of our beliefs and faith in his work. Experimenting extensively with diverse art forms, he has been a part of several eccentric projects in the past. One of Varma’s noteworthy project is Geetha Chithra, a unique art/music performance. As one of the singers, Manasi Prasad, sings a song in Raga Kalyana praising Goddess Sharadha of Sringeri, Varma is transported into a realm of art that speaks to the soul. He then translates the lyrical beauty of the song into visual art form of a sketch/painting on stage. Using minimum accessories, primarily a string dipped in paint, Varma creates artworks that are complex and effortless.
“For me, painting is a medium of expression and I aspire to create something that would stay in the minds of the people forever. So, what matters is not the style that a person follows but what is produced at the end of the day and how it has been an influence to people. Art instills a sense of hope and awareness. However it is the spectator who has to perceive things the right way. Like the old saying by Paul Klee goes ‘Art is making the strange familiar and the familiar strange’,” said the artist.