Art of the matter

Art of the matter

Unique Hobbies

Art of the matter

It is often believed that collecting paintings is a prerogative of the privileged. However, Raji Narayan, an avid collector of Indian contemporary art pieces, feels otherwise.

Her collection boasts of art pieces by prominent as well as lesser-known artists from the country, which have been displayed all across her house. For her, art is not an investment but a passion.

“Although I have never painted, I was always interested in various forms of art for a long time. I have done a lot of craft-related works, attended workshops with rural artisans and was involved in art some way or other. I started collecting art pieces 15 years ago and it has been going on ever since,” says Raji.

She started thinking about collecting art seriously only when she had some time for herself. “I started collecting art as a hobby only after my children grew up. I try and collect contemporary works of Indian artists. Often, when I go abroad for a holiday, I pick up paintings by European artists,” she explains.

She also makes it a point to interact with the artist so as to get a better understanding of the piece she is buying. “I always interact with the painter, whether he or she is a well-known one or not. Art is for everyone and getting to known an artist is pretty interesting. You get to know his or her side of the story which often translates into the artist’s creation,” she says.

Her collection is varied and she likes to play with textures and colour. The collection boasts of oil on canvas, water colour and fabric paintings while the genres she has, include abstract and non-abstract. “My first cherished buy was a work by a popular artist and I went on to collect various other artists from different parts of the country.

I have picked up a lot of pieces from Kolkata. I have been collecting art pieces for the past 15 years and each piece holds equal importance for me. My children know of this passion of mine and often take my advice before they invest on a piece of art,” she informs.

Raji feels that a person has to like a piece before actually buying it. “Many of my friends know that I collect art pieces but I prefer not to get paintings as gifts because one has to like the work to accept it as a gift. It is a personal choice,” she explains.

She believes that art pieces can be picked up anywhere and don’t necessarily have to be expensive. “One needs to have an eye for it,” she says. “I visit art galleries whenever I get time. If I am meeting someone and the person is yet to arrive, I walk to the closest gallery and take a look at the paintings there.

So my hobby does not require me to devote a dedicated period of time. In fact, I feel one does it because one has a keen interest in it. I like bright hues and it is very pronounced in my collection.”

“Most of the paintings I have are around 3/3 in length and breadth. I enjoy art at the eye level and buy whatever appeals to me. I often place two works by the same artist in a single space. I feel that people who paint focus only on their work while people who collect try to incorporate all the works possible,” concludes Raji.