Every now and then like other artists I question what I am doing, why I do it and why I do it the way I do.
How do you describe your visual art? If I were to tag my art, the tags would be: expressionist, conceptual, outsider, colorful and political among others. The abstract textures are very gestural but at the same time, they are only a layer among others. Every layer is a whole in itself be it a shapes or color fields or text. I try to build with these layers so I get something that stands on its own without isolating its parts. And if the viewer misses a part, the remains still possess that sense of completeness.
Who are you influenced by? I must admit my inspiration of the narrative as art comes from Hindustani music. The singers take their time in unfolding the raga or a set pattern of notes. Successful presentations draw the listener’s attention to sub-patterns that distinguish the raga and presentation from others. That elicits a response from the audience.
Since the early 90s I have been affected by Northwest artists like Reid and Davidson. I was drawn to their use of specific shapes to communicate stories. It was also the same time when Kandinsky, Schiele, Picasso and German Expressionism captured by imagination. During the late nineties I lived in New York, so their work was very accessible. At that time the city still had immigrants who had lived through the wars. Following New York, my influences have been colorful: Rauschenberg, Twombly, Kahlo, Rothko, Os Gemeos, Richter, Kusama, Hockney, Gaitonde among others.
What materials do you work with? My tool set is ever expanding. I paint primarily with oils on board and draw with ink on paper. I am exploring using my drawings as under drawings to the oils in addition to layering drawings in oil. The meditative pace of my practice lends itself to working with oils. I frequently work with more than two boards at a time.
Color is very important to me… especially when not working with ink. I usually create a palette of colors from my favorite blues, yellows, reds and some base earth colors. Previously I lacked confidence in working with colors. I sketched and drew a lot with black ink. I have found that forcing myself to work with a palette has opened a whole world of color for me.
What tools do you use? Do you mix media? Of course I do but I do have to keep true to the medium. Oil based media can be layered on water based media. Unless intended, oil will rot the ground if it hasn’t been properly prepared.
By using masking tape and stencils, I am able incorporate printing techniques into the work. My favorite tools are knives and scrapers. I use a multitude of brushes and rollers too. The tools are usually laid out on the table just waiting for me to pick them up. I go with the flow… literally dancing to the music that is playing.
So music is part of your process. What ragas do you listen to while working?My understanding and appreciation of grown exponentially since I have incorporated it into my practice. I have a few favorites: Todi, Bihag, Yaman, Multani, Bhairav, Jaunpuri, Malkauns among others. They are the large and more expansive ragas. Their pattern is relatively simple allowing for complex variations to expound on theme. I would compare them to say Rothko or Gaitonde.