In his first solo exhibition of paintings 'Anitya' (2008), Siddharth Shingade did not use a single bright colour. His earlier paintings were a depiction of the stark everyday life of the people in Marathwada, Maharashtra, where he was born and raised. "I stayed in my village for 22 years but when I came away to study in Mumbai, I began to miss my village. I started painting the people I missed. The colours I used at the time were earthy, not bright," says Siddharth.
However, during his 15-year-long career, Siddharth's style has evolved. His paintings now include a profusion of bright colours, such as deep-reds and blues. His skillful mixing of colours is one of the defining features of the collection of 21 paintings 'Harbingers of Wisdom' that were on view at the Kynkyny online gallery till recently. Even the subjects in his paintings have changed quite a bit. He now includes themes of nature and divinity. Explaining the reasons for this change, Siddharth says: "The more my subjects have changed, the more I started using bright colours. The change really came about with my Shiv-Parvati series. My uncle, who is also an artist, taught me art and gave me guidance. He asked me to put more colours. I mixed four or five colours to create my own palette." He ensured that the colours he creates bear a unique style. "I have to love what I paint," he stresses.
It is not as though he has painted only stark village scenes. "I have painted bright-coloured village scenes too, not just only earthy tones."
What is remarkable is the detail and layers in his works. Talking about his 'Door' series, Siddharth says: "I was walking around my village and came across an old door. Struck with awe, I thought of how the nayak and nayikas of my paintings would look within the door."
Siddharth has won several awards, including the Maharashtra State Special Award and First Prize, Indian Royal Academy, Karnataka Royal Shield in 2006.
Inspiration from everywhere
His talent for art was encouraged by his uncle, an artist himself. "In my village, people were unaware of what it means to be an artist. My uncle saw my talent and he brought me to Mumbai." Siddharth completed his diploma in painting at the L S Raheja School of Art, Mumbai, in 2006 and a Diploma in Art Education at the Sir J J School of Art, Mumbai, in 2008.
Siddharth puts in deep thought into every painting till he is absolutely satisfied with the outcome. "When my first entry was rejected by the Bombay Art Society in 2003-2004, I spent many sleepless nights wondering what I could improve on, how I could hone my skills. I spent the next 10 years researching art. I didn't rest till I learnt to get it right. Eventually, I was awarded a gold medal by the Bombay Art Society."
Siddharth says he has been inspired by his uncle the most. "I have also been inspired by artists such as Ganesh Pyne, Jeram Patil and Vincent Van Gogh." He adds that inspiration can come from anywhere. "Inspiration also comes from people around. There is a cloth shop near my Mumbai house. That turned out to be an inspiration. I have also got inspiration from poetry and even movies that have touched me. I internalise these experiences, which I express. There is no single inspiration. You don't even know how an inspiration takes root in your mind and gets expressed on the canvas."
His solo exhibition at Kynkyny came about after his painting did well in the group exhibition held there. "I did a painting 'Banjara' on the migrants who walked back to their villages. I was disturbed by their plight."