It’s about feelings, says painter

Winner of the Amrita Shergill national award says art is not a good career option if you’re out to make money. She also feels that a degree in arts is not necessary to become a successful painter

Madhuri Bhadhuri

Having exhibited her works in 39 solo shows and more than 89 group shows worldwide, Madhuri Bhadhuri is also the receipient of the Indian National Award - The Amrita Shergill Rashtriya Kala Puraskar by the National Institute of Fine Arts (NIFA). In a conversation with Rakshitha MN, Madhuri talks about her journey as a painter and her views on commercialisation of art.

How did you develop an interest in painting?
At 60, if I look back now, painting has been an integral part of my life. I took to it when I was in school. I was always fascinated by the different colours in nature, and hence, started working with abstract nature. I often revisit a place whenever I paint. Moreover, it is not just one place; I imagine a place which is a mix of two or more places with different colours and textures.

When does a painter become successful?
The audience has to understand the thoughts of a painter just by looking at the painting. If this is conveyed, I think a painter is successful. In other words, it is the ability to communicate beyond the canvas.

Do you think getting a degree in arts is necessary?
I don’t think it is necessary. Art has to come from within. If you are taking a class, you will be just following someone else’s ideas. Art is about one’s creation. A degree might help us understand the basics of arts, and nothing else.

Do you think a painting defines the painter?
A painter puts down his feelings in his paintings. So, yes, it does define the painter.

How long do you take for a painting?
I get asked the same question many times. It is not how many hours one takes, it is how many years one has lived in it. It is mainly about reaching the two endpoints.

A lot of artists isolate themselves before taking to something. Do you follow anything of the sort?
I don’t necessarily isolate myself, but I have a regime that I follow. I have specific timings for everything, and I strictly follow it. I devote most of my time to art.

Do you think criticism helps an artist?
It does. I believe that criticism helps one to grow. In my case, I compete with myself. I am critical about my works. Having a career in painting is not something that Indian parents easily approve of.

What is your advice to the aspiring painters?
Well, I would say that if someone is passionate enough, he or she should follow their heart. If you are looking to make money, then it might not be a good option. Because commercialising art will take away the artistic creative part of you as the focus will shift from delivering your best work to making more money.

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It’s about feelings, says painter

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