Thursday, June 23, 2011

Knife becomes a paint brush for this artist

A new form of painting by artist Satyanarayana

The first thought to cross the mind the moment the word ‘Knife’ is uttered is that
it is dangerous, used only to cut something or wound a person. But Satyanaraya saw it differently. He saw that a knife can also be used like a paint brush to paint on a canvas.

Satyanarayana, a painter based in Vidyaranyapuram, Mysore, is the talented artist
who can create dexterous painting using a knife. With his unique style of painting using knife, he is able to bring out paintings that appear quite life-like and indiscernible that it was painted without using a brush.

Though the main theme of his paintings is centered on tradition and culture, he has
in a way broken the traditional way of doing paintings which everybody is familiar with, namely using a paint brush. He uses a knife like steel blade fixed to a wooden handle and uses it to paint the drawings.

It was circumstances that forced Satyanaraya to become an artist. Born on 4th Oct,
1959, he lost his father when he was quite young, forcing him to shoulder the responsibilities of the family. He took up a full-time job at Ratnam Arts
in the city when he was in 5th std. While he was working there, he came in contact with several senior artists from CAVA and other institutions who visited the place. They advised him to learn painting in a professional way.

When he was 14-years-old, Satyanaraya shifted to Bangalore and joined an
advertisement company, CM Ram Arts. Working as an assistant to senior artists of that period like Ramchandran, Narasimhan, CV Ambaji and others. Later he learned
to make cinema banners and cut-outs. It was they who introduced him to knife work.
He also worked at Mumbai, Kerala and Chennai before returning to Mysore in 2000.

While on a job at Mumbai, he learnt the sketch work on banners along with drawing
abstract paintings. He has worked for several huge cut outs of late thespian Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar, prominent among them is the 115 ft tall cut-out he made for the movie Bhaktaprahalada under the guidance of his seniors.

Practicing relentlessly for 17 hours a day, from 5am in the morning to 10 pm in the
night, he obtained perfect mastery over his strokes. In the recent years, he mastered digital photography and also photographing models.

In spite of the inherent difficulties to paint using a knife, Satyanarayana still
preferred to work in this medium. Paintings done using knife requires more time to dry and the colour rendering also varies. In fact one can feel the strokes and curves by touching it. Compared to a paint-brush, works created out of
knife is difficult and needs special techniques and Satyanarayan mastered them very quickly.

Though he faced several hardships while working as an assistant making cinema
banners, Satyarnaraya is that rare artist who belongs to the group of world class painters who were non academic artisans, but attributed their achievement to sheer dedication and continuous learning.

He has exhibited his works in several art shows held in Bangalore and also conducted
classes and demos for students. During one such exhibition held in city in 2002, he introduced a new art form called digital art.

In a recently held expo he exhibited several paintings of temples and the life of
people living villages depicting their daily chores. Satyanarayan is equally good in painting life portraits and it appears like a photograph taken from the camera. Apart from this, he has also painted portraits of poets which now adorn the walls of Kalamandira, while an 8-ft portrait of Swami Vivekananda he did in 1991 can be seen at Sadvidya Patashala.

He selected this medium to created painting is because its impossible to replicate
them and work can't be reproduced in any other medium by others. Even the same artists cannot create the replica of his painting again.

Sometimes he also paints using a combination of brush and knife, with just 30% brush
work and the remaining using knife. He takes around two days to complete one painting.

`The patterns obtained using a knife are quite different from that using a paint
brush. With brush it is easy to obtain a very smooth and soft finish. It's not the same with knife. Also such strokes cannot be done using computer and software. They are always unique,' says Satyanarayan.

I am happy and have totally involved in the art and want to come out with good
abstract paintings with a modern touch. Even when I die, I will be alive through my paintings, he adds.

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