Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In Love With Realistic Art

Abhijit Jiwa

Not many people have the courage to drop their profession and take up their passion. It takes great strength to put your foot down and say, "This is my passion and I want to pursue it."But city artist Abhijit Jiwa is bent on following his childhood dream of becoming a full-time artist and creating awareness about realistic art. Born in Kerala and brought up in Mysore, Abhijit completed his BFA from Sarada Vilas College in city. Apart from being a self-taught artist, he has worked as an Exhibit Designer in Bombay, Bangalore and abroad. Now back in Mysore, Abhijit shared his views on art with us.

Since when do you have this passion for painting?
Abhijit Jiwa (AJ): I was interested in painting since childhood. I feel that I was born with the talent. However, I didn't get much encouragement from my family who said it is not possible to make a living out of it. But now that I am well settled, it is time to get back to full-time painting. I have done many one-hour paintings and want to dedicate time for more complex ones.

Doesn't exhibition designing interest you anymore?
AJ: It is a very interesting field and I have learnt a lot from it. Once you know exhibition designing, interior designing becomes very easy. I have worked on many projects all over the world. We have designed for aero shows, car launches and various other events.
I have also designed shops in Garuda Mall in Bangalore. But even after working for so many years on so many designs in Bangalore, nobody knows who I am. Nobody cares about who designed the shop. The company gives you an assignment, you design, the client pays you and it's over. There is no creative feedback. But once a British called me to say that my painting of a tiger was amazing. That is what you look for. It's not always about money, but about being appreciated for your work. That is why I am trying to distance myself from my profession and follow my passion.
Snow Leopard
You have mentioned in your blog (http://stormtiger. that you want to explore ways to create artistically excellent imagery. What do you mean by that?
AJ: It means having perfection in your work; everything from how you draw a road and early morning mist to how you mix colours and all the aspects of painting, should have perfection. Your painting should look good and stay in the viewers' mind for a long time. The viewer shouldn't think what the artist is trying to convey. He should know the instant he sees your painting. This, does not happen in abstract art. It makes the viewer wonder what exactly the artist is saying. The painter should not fool the viewer by saying, "My art is so deep that it is beyond your ability to understand." In realistic art, you know what you are looking at — a vase is painted as a vase and you see exactly that; the painting of a tiger looks like a tiger.

Then what makes your painting stand out from the rest? What is your specialty?
AJ: I am interested in realistic art. Most of the artists today are forced into abstract painting. But I want to bring realistic art back to mainstream here. When you see the painting of the lady with the lamp, it stays in your mind for a long time, but abstract paintings don't. A lot of skill is involved in realistic art. The knowledge of colour combination, anatomy, perspective, expression etc. is very important.
Abhijith's entry to the Anders Zorn Master of the Month 
Why do you feel there is a need to 'bring back' realistic art?
AJ: People have a wrong assumption that contemporary or modern art means abstract art. But it is not true, contemporary means 'relating to the present time' and be it realistic or abstract, both are contemporary. My aim is to clear this misconception. In mid 1850s, art was confined to Rome — the Rome Academy of Art. Paintings had to be dark with just one light source and depict religion, angels and demons. The church controlled artists and they had no freedom. Later, a group of artists rebelled against this and started to paint what they wanted to. It was the time of impressionists. That particular period of time was great. Objects and scenes were painted on how the eye saw them. However, as time went by, there was a deviation leading to abstract and realistic. The beauty of realistic painting took the backseat and many forgot its existence. I want to create awareness about the rich heritage of realistic art.

What will be your first step towards this aim?
AJ: I am planning to hold an exhibition of only wildlife paintings by this year end. Also I have plans of starting an "Artist's Workshop" to teach what I know to others. But my first priority is to give more time to painting.

(Published in Star of Mysore dated April 20, 2011)


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