Born and brought up in Neeloor, a small village in Kerala, Roy Thomas wanted to be an artist ever since he was a small child. Perhaps it was the result of seeing his father making art pieces from the discarded roots and woods from his farm that impacted him. “Though he was an agriculturist, he had a great love for all art forms,” he says.
His first encounter with oil paintings came on a visit to St. George Church in Thidanadu. “I was very small at that time but I still remember the framed prints of paintings inside the church depicting the Cross. The perspective, drapery, clear sky and clouds in the paintings influenced me greatly,” he says. And this planted the seed of becoming an artist in him.
After schooling, Thomas did his graduation from College of Art, Thiruvananthapuram and then moved to Delhi for further studies. He finished his MFA from Delhi College of Art in 1993 and launched himself as an artist. Thomas is always inspired by the goings on in his immediate surroundings. “These days I have been doing a lot of drawing and painting, drawing inspiration from the print media, digital images and even social media,” he says. He has done 10 solo shows and scores of group shows in a career spanning over two decades, and is now all geared up for his 11th solo show Near the Confluence. The show which begins on Jan. 10, at Arushi Arts Gallery in Greater Kailash, New Delhi is an amalgamation of his thoughts associated with portrait paintings by Eastern and Western artists. That he is deeply influenced by the works of Raja Ravi Varma is clearly evident in his works.
“I am fascinated by the representations of Raja Ravi Varma,” he agrees, “ but I also wonder what Western artists did at that point of time.”
The juxtaposed images in his canvas speak about different time frames and ideas that shaped his artistic oeuvre in contemporary times. Through these depictions, he intends to bridge the gap between the East and the West. “Each work has a message of shaping up a new imagination. The juxtaposed images are thus both, a new avenue of viewing the platforms of artistic practices and a methodology of looking at what the great masters of art intended to convey,” he opines.
Deeply appreciative of the many private galleries, he says “that it is through these galleries that even smaller artists get recognition, otherwise it is not easy being an artist in India”.