ILKAL: When he see junk, his eyes light up. No wonder because he turns worthless scrap into priceless art. He is an artist who has experimented with many media but ultimately found his forte in converting scrap material into unique bird and animal forms.Moving from one medium to another for expressing his innermost thoughts and sketching and capturing the images of life around him – 38-year-old Basavaraj K Sulikeri from Ilkal (Bagalkot) -- has been experimenting with scrap and metal waste to design unique art objects. He has gained many admirers and got an opportunity to display his works in art colleges, museums and galleries.
A scrapped Honda can turn into a piece of art in his hands. Or for that matter, even an abandoned Bajaj. “My first piece was ‘two deer and a crane’ from a scrapped Honda while a camel was done from an old Bajaj M8o vehicle. For this, I had to pay Rs 4,000 for this dilapidated scooter. This was a tough piece as designing the face and the body of a camel was difficult to do. But my interest and passion has forged my growth in the field of arts,” he says.
One of the most challenging pieces that he has designed from scrap iron is this deer. The idea flowed when he was observing an old model of a Honda SS bike. Basavaraj says, “The chassis looked like an antelope and that is when the idea generated in my mind to do an installation piece. Till now, I have designed 75 art pieces. Most of the pieces are either in galleries or with art collectors.”
It all started in 2006 – when Basavaraj, a qualified artist from Hampi University with a diploma in Installation Art -- was requested by the Bijapur Art College to do an installation art piece. This was followed by a request from the art campus of Davangere University and he did two pieces for them. Once he worked on 50 pieces and finished them in just 10 days. However, he says finalising the concept itself and collecting the metal waste from a junk yard took him almost 20 days.
“The idea takes time – I look at the scrap material and only then I am able to design the art pieces based on the requirement of the customer. Depending on the size of the art piece and the customer’s requirement, these installations are designed. In fact, my smaller pieces are more intricate and it takes a lot of time and effort.”He has been fascinated by etching out and designing many animal forms and even insects like scorpions.
How does he procure the scrap material? He usually collects it from scrap yards or even waste collectors., He pays Rs 25 per kg of scrap iron.
For this unusual passion, he has received lot of support from his mother Anasuya. The first time – his mother gave him Rs 5,000 for purchasing scrap metal from the Gujari. He designed many pieces which were displayed at the Shilpa Kala Kendra. Many people who saw this art installation for the first time were so fascinated that they paid nearly Rs 25,000 for a single piece.
Apart from this, the multi-faceted artist is also into painting and photography as also sculptures. Although his focus is modern art, he has also done pictorial photography. He started from bird photography and then moved on to installation art and he is back doing photography but in the modern way.Basavaraj is now specializing in digital media as he says it is an emerging field with lot of potential. And once again, this youngster moves in search of new media to satisfy his cravings and his urge to experiment with new art forms.
In their father’s footsteps
For all his passion and interest in exploring various art forms, he says he has received full support from his family including his wife. His two children seem to be following in his footsteps. “If my daughter Ananya is into drawing, my son Aditya is into photography,” Basavaraj says with paternal pride.