‘The Doors’ is a very novel concept. What is the story behind it?
Kumbakonam, a small temple town in Tamil Nadu, is a very cultured place. Out of the two colleges available for fine art study, I opted for Kumbakonam as it was my mother’s native place and the streets were familiar to me. When I was in college, in 1994, I would ride my cycle through a big street which was filled with old doors that were left unattended and uncared for. These doors were big and authentic. Each day I would glance at the doors twice – once in the morning and once during the sunset light. Both times, I would get a different perspective. My fascination with the doors grew by the day. Finally, in 1996, I started painting doors. Every artist needs an identity of their own and I decided that I wanted doors to be mine.
Can you elaborate on your artistic upbringing and how you decided on a career in the art world?
During my schooling years, when my peers were busy pursuing careers in engineering and medicine, I was enrolling myself in art clubs. Art was everywhere. I practised art in chemistry and biology practical record books while drawing diagrams of cockroaches, fishes, and other academic figures.
One more thing that largely pulled my focus towards art and artists were the interviews of painters in the Sunday edition of The Hindu. That’s how I learnt about the masters and the history of art. The interviews included famous Indians like MF Hussain, SH Raza, and western artists like Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso, and more. In those days, following an unconventional career route was an anomaly but with my father’s support, I began my undergrad study at a fine arts college in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. In the third year of the five year course, I chose painting as my specialisation.