From waste to art

Vathsala Jayaprakash creates art from waste. From mural paintings to metal-embossed images, her art thrives on creativity, writes Umesh Shetty K

African paintings

Some artists are born while some are made. Vathsala Jayaprakash, an embodiment of both, creates paintings of the northern and southern style wherein her unique imagination comes to life. Her masterpieces are black and white as well as colour on canvas, and mural paintings. She also creates pen and cell-phone holders, metal-embossed images, hangers, and funny creatures using throw-away stuff. The finished pieces of art are priceless.


Her artistic boundaries are immensely vast and her versatility comes out in her works. The subjects of her paintings are based on her taste, mood and imagination. On the one hand, she would paint the bodhi vriksha, twin peacocks, kathakali etc while at the same time she can dabble with another form of art.

She spends hours embossing on white metal sheets and the result is the bust forms of art like the images of horses, gods etc. Her expertise does not end there. She paints old newspapers, cuts them into small pieces, folds and twists them like coir strings. These strings are then beautifully knitted and enmeshed into small baskets, cell phone holders, miniature cradles, cute money purses, colourful photo frames etc. She reuses old newspapers, discarded beads, old clothes, plastic bottles etc and transforms them into unique pieces of art.

The most difficult work she has done is the one on the Singapore imported shola wood. The end product is the breathtakingly beautiful dancing twin peacocks. She also does stencil paintings and mural paintings.
The recreation of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings were done with wax. Lord Krishna on a banyan tree leaf, Lord Ganesha in acrylic painting are eye- catching. The beautiful fishes of madhubani, Odisha and kalamkari style of painting from Andhra Pradesh too occupy a pride of place in her collections.
Life seems to throb in the art form of Rama crossing the Sarayu River. The kathakali models are simply gorgeous. 

Mural paintings are created using colourful stones, roots, juices of leaves, barks of trees etc and she painstakingly uses the right mixture of extracted colourful juices to draw mural paintings. Among other gods, a mural painting of Ganesha hangs on the wall. As is the custom, she says, the mural painting should not be completed; at least a few lines or a couple of strokes of the brush need to be incomplete.

Vatshala is adept at oil painting, instant coffee powder painting while Mughal and Rajasthan miniature form of paintings are among her favourites.

Art of recycling

She recycles old newspapers and paints it black. She drew white lines and curves in perfect precision. The end product was Mahavir under the bodhi vriksh. Using white metal sheets, the horse's face down to its mane is embossed quite nicely and was framed and glass bound and hung on the wall. No style of art and painting is untouched by Vathsala, whose boundaries are infinite.

Her favourite pastime during breaks is listening to music ranging from Pandit Jasraj, Nikhil Banerjee, Parveen Sultana, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Rashid Khan, Vilayath Khan, and Zakir Hussain. A homemaker, she hails from the Shanbhogue family of Kudlu, Kasaragod which is famously known for art and artists, especially yakshagana. Vathsala is the niece of Shree Gopalakrishna Shanbhogue, whom she considers her mentor and whose paintings and efforts to promote yakshagana art forms are immensely rich.
His family had produced many artists of repute.

Vathsala says her greatest inspiration is her husband Jayaprakash, who is an IT officer with the State Bank of India. She has created hundreds of works with each, having a story to tell. She is the daughter of Vishnu Shanbhogue of the famous Kudlu Shanbhogue family. These art pieces of different styles are no figment of fiction, no child’s play, but serious stuff and a rare reality. Sheer innovative imagination, and talent alone could bring out such masterpieces.

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