He is a painter by destiny. He started to learn colours as a part-time course to kill time and eventually after much persuasion from his teacher when he exhibited his first collection, the entire exhibition was sold out on the very first day. A look at his work will confirm you why. His art will not just grip you but intimidate you with its fineness and detailing. Here’s a peek into the mind of Vikram Nayak, the maverick who not only paints but also, writes, draws caricatures and makes movies.
I feel my childhood was like a big size canvas without any frame. Each activity, each feeling, each thought, every day was a different stroke with different colors. Best strokes without brushes, best colors without any color plate; without compromise or any limitation. The best part was, those paintings were always in process even when I was sleeping. I think I am still using elements ,colors, compositions from those master pieces for my today’s work.
When people try to understand my art, they force me to define my work & style . They forced me to imbibe my work in words. They were asking me to draw a map, so they can travel my paintings but the fact is, I start my painting without any thought , story or title by end of the day it reflects me or my thought process. So, actually, I am trying to understand myself not a painting. Because it is this understanding that forces me to go for another canvas.
My work is not only about paintings because I work in different mediums & all mediums need different mindset & energy. Whether its painting, writing, films ,drawings, cartoons or illustrations. Some time, they disturb or gel with each other. My work reflects my participation, my corner, my sensitivity, my culture and my identity in the society. There is a disturbing silence…
My paintings go through trouble, friction, conflict, and agreement, all at once, as they emerge outwards from secrets of thought and visual. Just when they seem to be getting simple, they break free and approach a new form. I consciously put the known and unknown aspects of human emotions and values in a sequence, so that I can give shape to an omnipresent experience through a simple depth of lines and colors.
When I start a painting it is like a few hours or may be a few days of conversation with blank canvas, then the journey starts; where else will you find a question after every answer. Sometimes you reply with another question. The first line that I draw on the canvas is an indicator of further results. It guides me and shows the path forward. A creation takes birth here. I strongly believe as Picasso had said “If you know what you are going to paint then what’s the use of painting.”
My first exhibition was in the year 2003, in Delhi. ‘Age of innocence’- the day you always want with the first stroke on canvas. The very first day, all my paintings sold out. I got great appreciation and response from senior artists, art lovers, critics, media, galleries & collectors. I think that exhibition’s success forced me to go for a full time working artist as a profession.
When I sold my first painting in 2002, I was very happy. It was the first time someone had paid for my work because he had liked it. It transformed me. Someone had liked the work so much that he was ready to pay money, I realized I had suddenly started caring and respecting the art because now it was not just only a piece of art also my source of income.
I also went through those first emotions of pain and embarrassment when someone asks price for your painting. You say what you feel is a good amount at that time, depending upon your age, work and experience but nothing related to your creativity. Nevertheless, it helps and encourages your journey as an artist.
In fact most people, critics, even many senior artists perceive a show to be successful only by the number of red dots not by creativity.
My biggest critic is my own self! The desire to excel is exclusive of the fact whether someone else appreciates it or not …excellence is driven from inside, not outside and I trust only myself for my work and its result.
I start all paintings with the same feeling that it’s going to be my best but by the end of the day, you go for another canvas. I am still in that phase. In fact, I love this journey with each painting.
Movies are indeed a good medium to play with visual and sounds. And if that is with a message nothing can be better. Film making & direction always fascinated me. Now we have more user friendly equipments in the market which makes everything easy to imagine. In paintings and cartooning there are limitations. Till now most of films are for rural issues, like life, land, water, food etc. I want to do more experiments with other social subjects and some art short films in future.
I feel my caricatures/cartoons are not imaginary. I draw what is true. India from urban perspective is different when you interact with rural India -tribal, farmers, their problems, issues and needs. Sometimes it feels criminal that we in metros, talk about our vision, our polices and human values because the ground reality is totally different. There is always a painful laugh and I try to imbibe those in my caricatures. Cartooning was my first passion. It is an easy and effective way to convey your messages even to those who are not interested or have no understanding of the subject.
I indulge in a journey without destination. I work for myself and people pay for it. To live a life of an artist is like a phoenix syndrome. When all seems to have finished, a new journey starts. And the wisdom collected from those challenges is the wealth collected.
(The one who has been busy acquiring can never know the joy of a scattered life)
The current project that I am working on is a documentary film on monuments. My case study is Qutub Complex: postcolonial identities and contestations and two books for LAPREK series “ISHK KOI NEWS NAHI” & “ISHK MAI MATI SONA”
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