Art vs technology is a debate that has been ongoing for ages but, the fact remains that it is art that makes life better and enjoyable. In fact, art is something that has been around since the time of early humans, as proven by cave paintings found globally.
It is to celebrate fine arts globally and to raise awareness about creative arts that in 2012, the International Association of Art declared April 15 as World Art Day.
Why this date, one might ask, and the answer to that is the legendary artist Leonardo da Vinci, whose works featured a perfect blend of arts and technology, was born on this day in 1452.
The beauty of art is that it can take any form, whether visual or auditory or a blend of both; it can employ any medium and it can cater to a wide range of audience, being only limited by the limitless potential of human imagination.
Our city has had its healthy share of art and artists for centuries now and has also patronised scores of different art forms, however routine or offbeat they are. On this World Art Day, here’s a look at a few artists from the city, who are striving hard in their own creative ways to contribute to art globally and leave a legacy. They speak to Tabloid Today about their journey, art as a whole and about how the art scene is in the city.
Haleem Khan, Kuchipudi dancer
A veteran of thousands of shows in India and abroad, Haleem Khan is someone whose choice of art is as unique as his journey itself. Haleem is a city-based dancer who specialises in a rare and intricate form of Kuchipudi known as Roopanuroopam, which involves impersonating the opposite gender.
“When I started dancing more than two decades ago, I came across this form of art and it intrigued me as it presented a unique challenge because I had to change every nuance of what I had learnt, to perform as a woman. It also intrigued me because not many were taking it up and that’s how it all began,” says Haleem, who has been practising this for almost 20 years.
According to Haleem, while the city is rich with arts, there is a need to streamline the art scene. “There’s a major necessity for streamlining. For example, many artists don’t know the existence of an arts association nor do they know the benefits of being a part of it. Not many are also updated on the events that happen in the city. It would be a lot better if there is transparency in these aspects and if technology is utilised properly by the government bodies and by artists,” explains Haleem.
Dheeraj Kolla, Micro artist
Dheeraj is an artist who is known for his micro sculptures. He is famous in the city for carving faces and words on pencil leads. He took his first steps into miniature sculpting when he was in school. “I first started sculpting on chalk when I was 11 or 12 when I wrote a friend’s name on a piece of chalk to gift him on birthday. That got me hooked on to it and I slowly progressed from sculpting chalk to pencil leads,” he shares.
Dheeraj is of the opinion that if artists are able to find a selling point, then, art is a very sustainable career. “It’s all about finding a way to make your art marketable. Till I found a way to make money from my art, I faced a certain amount of opposition at home for wanting to pursue art. Once I figured out a selling point, it became easy and there’s a high chance that I’ll be a full-time artist in the future,” he explains.
Sri Priyatham, Illustrator
Priyatham is one of the most prominent faces of the new-age art community in the city, being known for his quirky caricatures and illustrations. Currently a full-time artist, Priyatham started art when he was in pre-school. He shares, “I started drawing when I was about 4 or 5 years old and my interest never faded. Later, it turned into a burning passion and I didn’t want to do anything except draw.”
Though he did his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts, he considers himself a self-taught artist as he spent most of his life drawing and experimenting. “I am 27 now and I have been a professional artist for a decade, that goes on to say how much I have been involved in art,” says Priyatham.
One of the biggest challenges that he faced and continues to face pertains to the perception people have towards art. “Most people just don’t see art as a viable career option as even now, when I tell people I am an artist, they ask me what I do for a living. While perceptions are changing about it and more people are taking up art as a career, there still is a long way to go and I’m glad that Hyderabad is headed in the right direction,” he says.
Harish Bhagavathula, Scribble artist
Scribbling and art, doesn’t seem to mix right? A beautiful blending of the two is Harish’s forte as all his art works involve seemingly random lines coming together to make a beautiful picture. According to him, the freedom that his art form allows him is what he loves about it. “I never liked smoothly-shaded works as the world itself isn’t smooth and perfect. Scribble art is a great resemblance of our lives — about how uncertain, random, yet beautiful they are. It’s very therapeutic as there are absolutely no rules. A blank sheet of paper is my playground as I can do whatever I want,” says the artist who is popular on Instagram as Mango Penciler.
However, he feels that the freedom is also a big challenge, as “having no rules is also a challenge”. “It’s all up to you on how you want to portray the picture in your mind. It is crucial to visualise the final output and keep it in mind throughout as there is a good chance of losing it during the process of scribbling so many random lines. No two scribbles are alike,” he adds.
He aspires to experiment more with his art form in the future.
Patruni Chidananda Sastry, Performance artist
Patruni Chidananda Sastry is one of city’s first performance artists as he blends Bharatanatyam and other forms of dance with various other acts for a powerful visual appeal. Many of his performances feature the artist himself as an art work and also portray less spoken-about aspects like menstrual taboos, child sex abuse, LGBTQ issues and more.
He started dancing at the age of five and right from that age, he wanted to portray feelings through his performance. “The movie Narasimha impacted me a lot as there’s a scene where Ramya Krishna locks herself up in a room and dances out of anger. I used to emulate
that and, later in life, I realised my work can be fine-tuned with aspects of performance art and expressionist art and that’s how I evolved to be a performance artist,” explains the veteran of over 2,000 shows.
Sastry believes that making art more interdisciplinary is much needed. “If two or more art forms are blended, it’ll pave the way for more collaborations between different artists and newer forms can be created, with a wider scope of audience too.”
Krishna Tejasvi, Musician
Anyone who is remotely active on social media in the city is bound to have come across at least one video of this singer. A prominent face in the music scene of the city, Krishna Tejasvi, who is known for his band Jammers, has been a musician for over a decade now.
Originally trained in Carnatic music, Krishna is one of city’s leading musical entertainers, setting club floors on fire with his powerful vocals. He is also into fusion, attempting to blend carnatic with funk and rock.
“Carnatic music is very rigid and highly structured with a lot of rules. That is one reason why I want to experiment blending it with other genres of music. The audience in the city are also being very receptive towards experimental genres of music and that is why we want to have original fusion compositions,” says the artist.