I’ve known Ramesh for 20 years. After being introduced by a mutual friend, we worked together, off and on, professionally, on advertising campaigns. Over the years, we became friends and discussed art now and then: meaning, Ramesh shared his art and knowledge, while I tried to learn from it. Later, when I had set up a collaborative blog project as an experiment, Ramesh had contributed his art to it happily. Interviewing Ramesh has been on my mind for a while now. This New Year, it has come true.
Over the years, you have created numerous pieces of art. Are there any themes that run through your work? If the themes are very different from each other, are there any themes which recur/repeat through your work?
As an artist, I have done both individual and set of themed artworks. My “Bricoleur of space” series is one such set of artworks with the theme of modern architectural cubism. The theme for it stays the same, but every artwork has its own creative aspect and burgeoning value in terms of art. My artworks in line drawing follow individual realistic ideas expressed in a creative flow of lines and figures. Every artwork stands discrete to a composition of deep details of a subject.
As an artist, you have worked on, or experimented with, different styles and techniques in your art. Which styles gave you the most satisfaction? Which of them have attracted most fans and art collectors?
I have worked with almost all the mediums. Experimenting with all of them to come up with my own style which I execute in ink and acrylic. I love to work with both the styles. Both of these are totally opposite in creation, medium and ideas. My pen work is adhered to reality and the acrylic cubism style is more of an artwork embracing modern imagination and creative work. The process in making both these artworks satisfy me equally in a different way.
The cubism style has attracted more fans and art collectors.
Now, have you adopted or settled on any specific style? Or, do you switch between different styles? Is switching between styles a difficult process for an artist like you?
I have been working on different styles from a young age and now have settled on expressing my art in two major styles, one in ink and another architectural style of cubism. I personally have a habit of creating multiple artworks simultaneously. Both of my art styles, being extremely different in terms of medium, style, fundamentals and thought process; makes it challenging as both of them need a different state of mind. The output of expressions and creative aspects of an art are enhanced by a certain way of thinking and observations. So switching between styles becomes a difficult process due to deliberate change in the state of mind and mental space. With a long course of practice in doing so; it does get easy to switch on some days.
We are all influenced by where we live, such as geography, culture, language, social interactions and lifestyle. How has your life in Mumbai influenced your art?
Being born in Kerala, I have been really close to nature, Indian mythology, spiritual aspect of our country and people. My childhood and learning phase of life was spent in Kerala, so my artistic interest and fundamental development in the creative space was very much nurtured by the state. I came to Mumbai in 1987 and have been here since then. The city has an influence in the growing stage of my artistic career. It welcomed me with a number of opportunities and access to the world wide spectrum of art and creativity. It helped me grow in terms of my artistic expression, observations and abundance of multicultural details. These attributes helped me with the vision in creation of my own styles in art. As a happening city, Mumbai helped me connect to many other artists and creators through various platforms and converse with them which broadened my way of thinking. My style of cubism was created after I got to closely learn the fundamentals and essentials of cubism from Mr. Kashinath Salve Sir. I’ll always be grateful to my birth place and Mumbai city for all the artistic values I was introduced to.
Has the pandemic influenced your art? Has it created a shift in your artistic aesthetic or appetite for specific subjects or stories? Is the experience of painting or creating art during a pandemic – e.g. staying indoors for long hours, reduced physical and social contact with people, fear of falling sick or the suffering of a family member or friend – different for you from creating art with more freedom as it was in pre-pandemic days?
As an artist, my subjects and base of the artworks are long thought and studied for a long term period. I am habitual to studying the subject matter and going deep in the artworks I create, which makes it a long term process. More than the subjects, the pandemic has affected the process of creating an artwork. With bizarre things happening around, keeping a positive state of mind and getting into the mental space for painting gets tough. Pre-pandemic, every family member used to be busy with their own personal work, so I used to get my time to work on artworks alone. With everyone at home now, it’s a bit difficult. Also with all the regulations, meeting people and visiting places are restricted which hinders my study and observations to some extent. With all these points, there are also positives to it. I could put in more time in my art apart from my professional career which did help me in managing to create a few artworks during the pandemic.
Thank you, Ramesh, for giving me this interview.
Ramesh Nair – in his own words
More of my art can be found here.
Born in the culturally and traditionally rich town of Thalassery (in Kerala, India), myths and legends have had a big influence in shaping and moulding me as an artist as well as an individual. I have displayed my works in group exhibitions nationally and internationally, conducted in various cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Cochin, Bangkok and Dubai.
My work has been largely inspired by the things and people that I pass by in the everyday walks of my life. I have always been in awe of nature, mythical figures and people. All these aspects have in some way or the other seeped into my works – painting, drawing and platograph, which are colour prints of my line drawings. I have exuded the idea of deconstructing physical spaces, playing the role of a bricoleur, finding beauty and recreating it through the technique of Cubism. This series of paintings focuses on different kinds of architectural spaces in an unconventional manner, finding aesthetic essence in their deconstruction.
I find solace in art in such a way that all my works are an expression of myself and what I feel.