Friday, 14 March 2014

The Art of the Matter

Arizona by Seshu Kiran GS, used with permission of the artist.  

What is creativity?  

Is it taking an abstract idea and crystallising it into something tangible?

And should the process of creativity also have an impact on the practitioner as 
well as the reader / viewer / listener / purchaser? 

On the face of it, writers deal in words and are distinct from artists. 

And yet... 

Many of those stages and challenges are the same. 

Here, in his own words, Seshu Kiran GS - an artist living in Los Angeles - gives an insight into his process, his beautiful paintings, and how he expresses himself on the canvas. 


1. What was it that originally drew you to painting? 

That is a bit of tough question! But yes, as a child, I was imaginative and used to draw a lot. Watercolors and color pencils happened to me when I was in fourth grade. I used to love my exploring my imagination and I was captivated by the visual elements around me. 

2. Do your works have an emotional element or story to them, whether it's apparent in the work for something personal for you in their creation? 

In terms of emotional element and story, both are important. As I always say, I derive my inspiration not just from visual reality around me, but also travels, stories, movies, etc. Most of the landscape paintings that I do these days are of an emotional element, expressed through color, texture and form! It's a struggle before a painting is born!

Having a personal experience is not always the necessary start point for a painting, but yes it is an added advantage. Most of my paintings are from my imagination without a photographic reference.

I have always seen a pattern of colors that I choose from based on emotions!! There is some connection there!!

3. Are you artistically inspired by literature? 

Maybe there is an overlap of influence and philosophy. Literature is also an imaginative art,
where the writer undergoes a deep visual process and arranges what they see and experience into words, like a jewelry of precious stones!

Words, sentences and chapters, each beautiful at their own discreet level; from expression in sub-elements, to expression in the gross level. In a similar process, the same thing happens in painting, from sub-elements to the entirety!

It sounds an atypical combination. I don't know if I actually derive inspiration from their works, but I enjoy the writing of Emerson and Thoreau, and both Hemingway and Rand for the process. 

Each distinctly stood not just on a fictitious cajolery of words, but gifted us their own philosophies and chiseled a character of freedom in this land and elsewhere. Conformists like Paul Krugman downplay the importance of their philosophy, but it is still relevant in these days!

I have yet to encounter that post-modern figure that I could find a spark from. Because these days, post-modern and progressive types thrive by shutting down your rational apparatus and subtly demanding and chaining peer conformity! 

4. How do you define your work?

I am a sauntering child amused at various things. I welcome you to share my joy, and my world, with a big smile!!

5. When you exhibit, do you offer a descriptive explanation of what the work is 
about?

In my personal experience, when most viewers stop at my painting, they look into it. And they stare for quite some time and they smile! Actually they engage with that image. That is the best reward I could ask for and I always appreciate it.

The next thing they do is look at me, and then I start to explain the background of that painting. Sometimes I even miss out the title of the painting and it sells untitled! Most of my buyers say that my paintings have a distinct and strong presence.

When you are in a beautiful place, the experience and the conversation happening inside you is your own! It is invaluable. Similarly when a viewer is 'inside' my painting, I don't want to overpower their imagination and experience with mine. 

6. Do you start with form or flow? 

That's a brilliant question! Actually a tough one again! Sometimes, I don't have time even to title my work! I feel it's a nice thing to happen. For me, grabbing that flow of emotion and quickly putting it on canvas is important.

Form and flow are intertwined. Form without flow is mundane. And flow without form is directionless. May be are they like Yin-Yang? Or the triangles in star of David?!! The counter-nature is always trying to throw you out of balance. It's our challenge, as artists, to stay in balance to counter it!

7. How has your creative process evolved and in which ways has it changed 
over time? 

Yes. I am constantly learning and implementing. I have a lot of learning to do on a daily basis, which keeps me busy. One day, I pick composition and the next day I may be drawn to human anatomy. Colors always surprise me and delight me in different ways. 

Also, I can say, I was always drawn to realism. It is not just about representing forms, but a mood, unity and meaning that I can create. The process of realism respects facts. And takes artistic liberties around that fulcrum. I can't paint clouds in green unless it means something even in its abstract sense. 

With respect to technique and implementation, I keep learning from other artists, both living and deceased. I like the aptness and joy in Norman Rockwell's paintings. I like the Italian master, Dario Campanile, who painted that Paramount Pictures' mountain! I've had the privilege to have met him and I talked to him at his show in Newport Beach.


Some of Seshu Kiran's work can be seen on his Facebook page 


He is currently exhibiting his artwork in and around Los Angeles.


1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I liked how the artist said that watercolors and colored pencils "found" him--as though they were elemental forces with minds of their own that persuaded him to use them. Do words choose us in the same way? Does the wand choose the wizard?

    I have two other artists in my family--my father and my grandfather, both cartoonists. I loved to draw as a child and always figured I would do something in the visual arts. I did, in fact, make my living for a while as a graphic designer. But I eventually grew to feel more comfortable with the "fictitious cajolery" of words.

    At its core, I suppose the creative process will always remain a beautiful mystery.

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