The dark and light of it

The dark and light of it

The dark and light of it

For Chethan MC, art is more than just paints and a canvas. It is a passion that he has harboured ever since he was a child. “I can’t begin to describe how much I love art — if I can’t master a technique, I like to just see it,” he says.

He has however got the hang of a good many techniques — from contemporary portrait work to caricatures, still-life, murals and pot painting, he has it all figured. Chethan says that he can’t go a day without doing something creative. It is because of this that, over the years, he has sketched out almost 200 portraits, which are his speciality.

His works have a stark likeness to the original personalities, be it Gandhiji, Sean Connery, Kate Winslet, Amitabh Bachchan or Bhimsen Joshi. He doesn’t however stick to just famous personalities. “I have drawn a portrait of my mentor, which was well appreciated. Even if I don’t know a person, I sketch them, as long as the picture is clear.

It’s just easier to work on celebrities because there are many pictures available on the internet.”

A graduate from the Ken School of Art, he says his favourite medium is charcoal and a graphite pencil. “I frequently use the rub and smudge technique,” he says. But he also makes murals from broken tiles and paints clay pots. “I have painted pots with Sarvagna’s ‘vachanas’ and poems by Kuvempu and Nissar Ahmed on them,” he adds.

How did his passion for the arts begin? Chethan says it is something he was born with.

“My father was a theatre artiste and poster painter, so he was the first person who introduced me to various kinds of art forms. And, as a child I grew up reading RK Laxman’s work, which were an inspiration to me. After that, I began to test myself to see how good I was. That’s how art grew on me.”

He has worked as a graphic designer for various companies, including a company that worked on gaming. “Here I had to create people graphically; this is when I began to explore my options. That I had already learnt Photoshop helped me get a hang of things faster,” he says.

Now, Chethan is attempting to add ‘photographer’ to his already full CV. “I recently took up photography; I’m still experimenting with how to set the aperture and shutter speed.” He also does abstract, figurative art and stylised figurative work. “My designs are based on humans and animals, and they have a slightly South Indian touch to them. I enjoy divisionism, a style of art where the colours are a bit flat, and several dull colours are used alongside soft ones,” he says.  

When it comes to pottery, he has learnt how to shape the pots and glaze them. It is this love for things that are aesthetically beautiful that has gotten him this far. “Sometimes I just like to watch art,” he says. Now that he has explored various forms of art, he is satisfied. Having displayed his work at various exhibitions, including the ‘Caricature Group Exhibition’, he is content. Also a member of the Indian Institute of Cartoonists, Chethan has now decided to teach his skills to others. “I have a studio for myself where I teach anyone who is interested.” He sums up with, “One lifetime isn’t enough to draw
everything you want to. I can’t live without art!”

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