Given the fact that art has no boundaries and can be created out of the most mundane things and settings, artists across the world have often ventured away from the world of paints and dry colours to create great works of art out of mediums that would have never struck the most of us as art worthy!
Thanks to the widespread reach of social media, we come across videos and articles on various artists who experiment with a variety of mediums on an almost day-to-day basis. While materials like fabric, wood and even rocks are now quite common, some skilled individuals dare to go even further and have created art using toast, lipsticks, net fabric and even old dolls!
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that artists are beings from another planet, as their thought process and creations are often otherworldly and transcendental.
Sometimes simple, while at other times intricate and thought-provoking, what truly needs to be celebrated is the vision of these artists, that encases random objects in narrative frames and whole new perspectives!
Sticking to the same narrative, we have zeroed in on 12 contemporary artists from India, whose experiments with art and chosen subjects will not just blow your mind but also inspire you to explore new mediums to dabble in art:
1. Parth Kothekar
If there is someone who can create magic out of paper, it is 26-year-old Parth Kothekar from Ahmedabad whose artworks are a treat for the eyes. Starting with conceptualising intricate, hand-drawn designs, Parth painstakingly carves each work with the help of surgical knives, and voila, there is a papercut masterpiece right in front of you!
2. Latha Maheshwari
A self-taught artist from Chennai who has also dabbled with more than 150 art mediums, it was with sand that Latha Maheshwari honestly found her forte. Quite possibly one of the very few women sand artists across the country, the turning point for Latha was when she was featured in a video for ‘Raunaq,’ AR Rahman’s 2014 album. In the video, she was shown creating a work of art, which perfectly showcased her incredible proficiency with sand art!
3. Midhun R
Sometimes people create art from unlikeliest of mediums and 23-year-old Midhun RR from Kerala is no different. The young man creates brilliant works of art using human hair! Yes, you read that right. Each work is a result of painstaking concentration and hard work and takes Midhun nearly three hours to finish.
4. Subhashini Chandramani
For a person who has dabbled with craft, soft-toy making, poetry and photography, using flowers and leaves as subjects in her otherwise two-dimensional artworks was more like a refreshing start to a creative journey for Subhashini Chandramani. Today, her handle which goes by the name, ‘neelavanam’ has a vast fan-following on Instagram!
5. Bornali Bhattacharjee
Can bacteria like Staphylococcus or Salmonella be turned into art? Well, Bornali Bhattacharjee from National Institute of Biomedical Genomics did not only prove that this is possible but also won the second place in an international contest organised by American Society of Microbiology (ASM) society. Grown in a petri dish on a layer of agar-agar—which is the growth medium for most bacteria—different microbes of different colours are grown and ‘trimmed’ to fit the rendition of the artist and here’s what Bornali made.
6. Shrikant Ingalhalikar
Originating in the Japanese village of Inakadate where people plant different types and colours of paddy to create images across farmlands, Rice paddy art is unique and indeed a sight to behold. Thanks to Engineer-turned-botanist, Shrikant Ingalhalikar from Pune, even India has its own paddy art village now, and it sees spectacular artwork raised by Ingalhalikar every year-end.
7. Ramdas Kajave
Some of the best portraits in the world have been created using oil paints or dry colours, but after viewing Ramdas Kajave’s magnificent works of embroidery, you would begin to believe that threads can work their magic too! An embroidery artist from the town of Ichalkaranji in Maharashtra, Kajave has spent over 30,000 hours spanning six decades in embroidering 60 portraits, including that of Chhatrapati Shivaji, Lata Mangeshkar, APJ Abdul Kalam, Swami Vivekananda, Aishwarya Rai, etc.
Working in the R&D Department of a Defence firm by day, Hyderabad-based Saad creates edgy, yet brilliant sculptures in his spare time and any item from the recycling dump, ‘chor bazaar,’ and automobile spares form a considerable part of the raw material that he uses to create brilliant sculptures.
9. Deepa Melkote
The 82-year-old homemaker is a woman of many talents, but her speciality lies in the intricate collages she has created over the last four decades—using postage stamps! Each piece comprises vivid stamps that have been segregated, cut into tiny pieces and glued neatly onto a sketch that ranges from historical monuments, dancers in colourful lehengas, brightly coloured birds and mythological figures.
10. Shaikh Salimbhai
While it took 22 years to build the Taj Mahal on the banks of the Yamuna in Agra, while its miniature recreation using matchsticks by an Ahmedabad based artist Shaikh Salimbhai in 2011 took one year and 19 days to complete! A detailed structure like the Taj would seem almost impossible to recreate using the tiny sticks of wood, but Salimbhai paid full attention to the original’s detail and carefully crafted it using 75,000 matchsticks!
11. Vivek Patil
Believed to be India’s only Light Painter, Vivek’s rare talent of drawing on luminescent surfaces by rays of light found nationwide acclaim when he got the opportunity of showcasing his light painting skills on popular television shows like India’s Got Talent and Entertainment Ke Liye Kuchh Bhi Karega. Besides dabbling with light, Vivek is also proficient in sand art and speed painting.
12. Reshmi Dey
Growing up in the by-lanes of Assam, glass had always been the singular medium of expression for Reshmi Dey, who today is amongst the top glass artists in the country. She quite literally broke the glass ceiling by foraying into a male-dominated industry when she founded India’s first and only fully functional Glass Art studio called ‘Glass Sutra.’
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)