BENGALURU: One of art’s many functions would be to make you feel. This is particularly true of SG Vasudev’s oeuvre, built over a five-decade long illustrious career.
Dressed in his trademark black kurta and brown jute jacket, the eminent artist was seen admiring artworks created by over 20 artists from around the country, at the second edition of the CMR National Art Camp-2015 held at the CMRIT campus recently.
The primary idea behind an art camp resonates with his very belief that artists should not be isolated and should be in the ‘middle of things’; they should meet people, engage and exchange ideas.
Vasudev can seem intimidating, but he is an easy conversationalist. He talks about art and making it accessible to the public, a cause he has passionately worked towards - through initiatives such as ‘Art Park’ and ‘Ananya Drishya’.
Does he feel that the city is doing enough to make art reach the person on the street? Vasudev says things have changed since the time he moved back to Bengaluru from Chennai in 1989. “We don’t have much discussions happening in art studios today. Artists don’t engage with each other often,” he said.
While discussing the art culture in Bengaluru, Vasudev is quick to add, “Kolkota has become conscious of art. We have a long way to go. Bengaluru doesn’t have a strong culture like Mysuru or Dharwad but we have many good artists here who are at a stage where they are experimenting a lot with different mediums and that’s encouraging. But, this city is certainly emerging as an important centre for visual arts in the country.”
And, do we as a society, appreciate art? “We think we appreciate art, but we don’t know how to do it,” he replies with a smile.
Vasudev says that an artist has a responsibility towards the society. “The general perception among people is that it is difficult to approach an artist. I wanted to dispel this notion, which led to the initiative Art Park. This lets the public and artists come together under a single roof, in a public space. Another initiative called Ananya Drishya, which is running into its 11th year, is an art appreciation programme conducted every month at the Venkatappa Art Gallery. The idea is to ensure that art reaches the children.”
Vasudev says that it is easy to sit in a studio, paint and later sell your paintings even. But, it’s imperative that the general public is made aware of this art.
The conversation turns to his daily schedule and what he does to unwind. “I spend at least eight hours in my studio working every day,” he says. “I listen to all kinds of music-classical, jazz, Hindustani, Western, Carnatic etc. I prefer unwinding by simply watching the work I have done during the day.”