Sasikrishnan is one of India’s most established contemporary artists of modern times. With his confidence ignited at an early age, his journey of artistic pursuits has attracted fame and recognition. His art delves into complex human behaviour, political scenarios and contemporary ideas, and through his strong ideals, he has built a repertoire that covers many solos, group exhibitions, and mentoring students from all over the world. To his credit are many awards received from Government and private organizations, who praise his brilliance. The Times Kuwait features him in an exclusive interview.
What are the themes and inspirations for your new show?
My themes revolve around human beings and their behaviour in the society and their dialogues with their self…without masks of variety, it seems human survival is questionable on earth. I have done around 30 paintings on the theme ‘Masks’ that I have yet to display for an exhibition. The theme for the two artworks I exhibited at Kuwait’s Museum of Modern Art was “Seekers in Red”. These paintings are Acrylic on canvas.
Can you describe the person that has had the greatest impact on your artistic career?
My father, the village architect, and my eldest brother were my earliest inspirations who encouraged my interest in art. I underwent academic training in art at the Kerala School of Arts, Thalassery; Printmaking at the Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai; Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts at Karnatak University, India. I was also fortunate to have worked at the Chettinad Vidyashram under the able guidance of Kumara Rani Meena Muthiah of Chettinad, a visionary and multi-faceted personality under whom I honed many skills that have come handy in my life.
What do you find the most challenging aspect of your work technically?
I am still experimenting with new vistas of art, but the one displayed in 64 rooms of Vivanta by Taj, Chennai has been the most challenging one so far with its intricate texture that blends with different tones of colour. The huge Indian stone sculpture at the foyer of Chettinad Vidyashram was the other one, where I employed the concept of sculpture painting.
How would you describe your creative process?
It is a spontaneous flow of thoughts and emotions. Any object, aspect of life, imagery or sound/voice may ignite my creativity. I have found the hill stations of Munnar and Kotagiri in South India to be the most inspiring. I have spent more than a decade of my lifetime enjoying and depicting the beauty of nature. I also get ideas through my interaction with other human beings, while listening to music, reading, travelling and also from the inner quarters of my own self.
How has your life changed since your work started being featured in galleries?
I became a commissioned artist for premium hotels like the Taj, Chariot Beach Resort, Las Palmas, Panoramic View Resort etc. I have also designed interiors for private homes and corporates which house my artwork too.
What’s the biggest compliment you have ever received for your art?
Appreciation from Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi Devi who honored me with a gold medal during an International Exhibition.
What is your favourite work(s) of art do you own?
The ‘3 faces in mood’. There were many interested people who wanted to buy it but I refused to part with it because it is based on the moods of 3 friends in 3 moods. The moods depicted were those of my friends and me.
What international art destination do you most want to visit?
France, England and Iran
What annoys you about the art world?
Fake demonstration of art and expression – it is unfortunate that deserving artists are not reaching an audience because of lack of exposure and awareness.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced in becoming an artist?
In the initial stages, the biggest hurdle was the expenses to hold an exhibition and get any sort of media coverage. It was nothing but consistency in my hard work in art and demonstration that I was able to become so successful.
What would you like The Times Magazine’s readers to know about you?
I am a common man who can express his feelings and thoughts effectively through colours and textures of art. I am a lover of beauty, passionate about life and strongly believe that beauty and love in human bonds has a very prominent role to play in art. This has led me to give form through my paintings to a movement called the Phil~aesthoism movement of art which blends beauty and love in human relations into art.
I also enjoy theatre, cartooning, sculpture, badminton, chess, cooking, conducting magic shows and writing poems. I am also one of the founding members of the Progressive Art Realization Troop of Kuwait (PART of Kuwait) which conducts exhibitions in the country thereby providing a platform to the resident artists here.
Of all the awards you’ve won, which award was the most memorable?
Winning awards is quite pleasing but I don’t think all my works are award winning pieces as awards are won according to different selection criteria. The one I most fondly remember in earlier part of my life was the first prize in 5 art forms: drawing, water colour, oil colour, sculpture and cartooning that I won when I was 20 years old at a youth festival in Kerala. There were many prizes I received before and hence, but this award is still the most precious to me as it was in the beginning of my art career.
How was your experience in Kuwait, and what do you think of the country’s art scene?
There are many very vibrant, talented artists here with their own unique style. I know some of them personally. Kuwait has contributed a lot to art and given a lot of importance to promote Arab artists. This has created a very positive environment for the art community here.
By Christina Pinto