BENGALURU: Martial Robin grew up surrounded by animals, on a farm, and was naturally drawn to them as subjects for his paintings. He has done various portraits, over the years, including that of a royal pooch -- Rosina, Danish Prince Henrick’s dachshund. An exhibition of his paintings are on Sublime Galleria.
How long have you been painting?
As a young child, I loved drawing and all forms of graphic exercises… all in black and white! Colours came to me later. I am still uncomfortable with colours… some of them, I almost never use… for example, green.
While I studied accounting and worked for a while, I felt like something was missing from my life. I decided to change my life and work with dogs. Art has always been in my heart… slowly, it took more and more place in my life when I started taking art lessons from a wonderful artist - Francoise Petard.
About your journey with animals and painting them...
As a child living on a farm, I got to interact with all kinds of animals. We had dogs, but not pure-breeds. When I was 15, I saw an Afghan hound for the first time... and got a huge crush on that breed. My very first salary went into buying my first Afghan. Then I was hooked! I started to show and breed them.
Over the last 25 years, my dogs have won the biggest awards in the dog world. Nowadays, I rarely show… I have also stopped breeding them, but I still have three Afghans with me. In my paintings, I try to capture the essence of animals, with a contemporary twist. I think each animal has something special. Like each spice has the ability to express something unique, in a similar manner, animals portray different textures or colours.
What is it that you keep in mind when you start painting?
I don’t care if I am painting a dog, a horse, or even a human... I am just interested in an expressive subject that will give me the freedom to express his beauty... and also his soul. My paintings are not necessarily very detailed… I always try to leave art lover some room for his own interpretation.
I concentrate on getting, what are to me, the defining features of the animal in a painting, be it a look in the eye, the way it moves, or a deeper look into its soul. Horses have been my favourite inspiration for many years now. Then my passion for dogs and my advent into the dog world pushed me to work and represent them. More recently, I have become fascinated with monkeys as I equate many of their ways to the ways of humans. I have rediscovered clay recently along with a new expressionist dimension. My first bronze was born early 2015.
Many of the principles I adopt when breeding a litter apply equally to my art - observe, reflect, use the eye, the brain and the heart. There is little difference between the concept of the next litter and its arrival, or the realisation of the finished picture, evaluating its potential and the pleasure it will give to others.
The most memorable appreciation you have received
Strong emotions that some people express in front of my paintings are probably the best.
Where else have you showcased your work in India?
I am showcasing my work not just in India but in Asia for the first time! My art has taken me to many countries, mostly on the European and American continents.