KOCHI: A bulldozer, mounted on the back of a bull, is reaching its arm out, ready to dig up and destroy everything in its path. The image looks menacing, connecting contemporary political issues, including the government razing down homes of protestors. The artwork by Girinath Gopinath raises valid questions about our society’s collective consciousness.
“This is a perfect example of how art belongs to the spectators. The experience and consciousness of each viewer come to play when they interpret it. When I conceived the piece back in 2015, I had no political intentions. It was born out of my personal experience. A bull being aided by a machine to function, a human with assistive limbs. It was an interpretation of how technology and machines help people with disabilities. But with the recent political developments in our country, this piece touched a lot of people, and it received new meanings and expressions,” says Girinath.
The work has been created using modern technology — 3D printing. For Girinath, a professor at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Kannur, 3D printing is not a new area. But this is the first time he is using the process to create art. “I used to work as a designer for a Jewellery brand. They have been using 3D printing since as early as 2005. But the technology became available for personal use in recent years,” he says.
Girinath took the help of his students to render it onto the software around two years ago. The image was fed into the system with accurate measurement and features. Then, a stereo-lithographic file is created, just like in CAD (computer-aided design). This is then printed, mostly in resin-plastic material,” he says. But that isn’t all. After the printing, the artist has to chip away the supportive parts and polish the piece. “It takes a lot of time to get the printing right. Then you have to work on it. I have two years’ worth of failed projects at home — my friend calls it digital miscarriage,” Girinath quips.
The artist is planning to exhibit all these pieces in future, along with his new works, all made based on the theme of machines and animals.
Girinath has been exhibiting his works since 2005. “I used to draw when I was a kid and had a lot of support from my family. I also found refuge in it. It was my own world where I could be free from all the troubles and tribulations. It is where I could subconsciously express my thoughts,” he says.
After he finished school, it was a teacher who suggested joining the National Institute of Fashion Technology to him. So, he left for Delhi to study industrial design. “After that, I worked in many firms, designing jewellery, shoes and bags. In 2009, I joined NIFT as an educator,” he says.
However, the artist shifted to Kerala four years ago. “I grew up in Haryana. I never got to spend much time in Kerala. Four years back, I decided I wanted to experience more of my home state, live there and get to know the culture better. So I shifted to Kannur NIFT,” he says. It’s here in Kerala, he started making 3D art. “My art career started with a pomegranate,” he quips. Once, when I was having the fruit, the juice fell on the paper, staining it. My first series was made using the stains from fruits, coffee and tea. I named it Serendipity because of how effortlessly the idea came to me from just a simple human error,” he says.
Girinath never consciously plans his artworks. “I withdraw from my consciousness and start doodling, which develops into more doodles, and finally into a painting,” he says. Each of his paintings contains a multitude of images which are intertwined, acquiring a life of their own when viewed from proximity.
The artist is part of ‘Utopian Dystopia’, an upcoming art festival from July 2 to July 9 in Kochi.