Portrait of an Artist... Interaction with Bharti Sharma
|Artist Animesh Roy in his studio.|
Noida, Delhi India Feb 2015
"You are either an artist or you are not. Here there are no in-betweens."
That is how Animesh Roy defines an artist. Animesh insists upon not being read as an artist with a chosen truth to profess through his works. His reason to paint is as simple as happiness. In his words, “I paint because I like to portray the happier side of life.” Animesh’s works affirm his motto. The breezy landscapes laden with painterly impasto bring to life the simple rustic rhyme of colour and light in nature. There is a rich play of textures, hues and poetic strokes in his works. His life, much like his art is a beautiful unison of the Orient and the Occident, given that he divides his time between India and Poland. What dominates his persona is his vibrant bohemian demeanour, his hunger for travel. His childhood years, much like his growing years, have seen the myriad hues of numerous streets of numerous cities which he resurrects in his works. He thrives on meeting people, visiting villages, monasteries, temples, churches, mosques... even graveyards....
Bharti Sharma: Your subject matter is quintessentially simple. How far does the subject determine the splendour of an art work? Or does it do that at all?
Animesh Roy: For me the painting is beyond the subject. I feel the painting is important not the subject. Subject is immaterial. Cézanne, the founding father of modern art, started painting apples. He said he would shock the Paris Art World with an apple. He wanted to bring revolution with just an apple. Look at the simplicity of the subject.I believe if a work is to be described to the onlooker then it kills the very work. A work is self explanatory.
BS: Art is often seen as a means to express the deepest meanings. Do you view or want your works to be viewed at a metaphysical level?
AR: I don’t believe in attributing a transcendental meaning to my works, what inspires me is something as pure as nature. Cézanne said that whenever he was in doubt and he wanted to know if the painting was good, he held it against nature. He knew where the master was.
The master was nature. My travels also inspire my work. Be it the Polish landscapes or the Indian Sadhus, I paint what I see. I love to Travel because that’s where the so called inspiration comes, so I hope to travel, paint more and be generally happy.
BS: When you paint nature, do you exaggerate the characters that catch your eye or paint the scene as it is?
AR: Exaggeration comes naturally while painting. Exaggeration comes from what you like. If I am painting a nude, my perception of the size of the breast is what I will paint regardless of how the model looks. Yes you may call it perception or exaggeration, but this comes naturally with each canvas I do.
I would say an artist paints not so much by perception but by his own limitations.
BS: I can see a lot yellow around you. From the door to the studio walls, yellow is the colour that dominates.
AR: Yellow is my favourite colour. A painting is about how you put the colour. Colour is the soul of the work. You see colours differently. What orange you see, I see another orange, you can look more towards the yellow and I can look more towards the red. That is the beauty of colour.
I have worked in charcoals, water colours, oils but I don’t believe Acrylic to be a colour.
BS: Whom do you turn to when in doubt about a work?
AR: I taught in a school for some months. I used to show my work to my students, the youngest lot. They would then ask me questions and give me the right ideas. So the most innocent were my favourite critics. That is how I use to look at it.
BS: How far do you agree with the art education system of the country?What changes do you wish to see in the education circuit in India that can help art students to flourish better?
AR: I am not very impressed by the art education scene here. I feel art colleges should be run by artists. For me an artist is the one whose fundamentals are strong and is talented. To have your fundamentals one must read a lot. In my time all we had were books. One could always find me in the library sifting through books. Now there is the Internet. One must navigate as much as possible.
I also believe there is a lot of unlearning required. One should try to unlearn the learnt so as to learn the new.
BS: Do you intend to give your viewers a message through your works?
AR: I don’t pretend that I paint to convey a message. I paint because I like to portray the happier side of life-beautiful landscapes, flowers for example, because I think there are enough artists to paint the morbid side.