November 13, 2010
MS Mani is a renowned South Indian artist best known for capturing the people of Badami, whom he greatly admires and loves. He had exhibited his latest work in Shrishti Art Gallery, Hyderabad recently. Enterdbase quizzes him about his work and love for people from Badami.
EDB: Since when have you been associated with art?
JMS Mani: I have been painting for the past 35 years.
EDB: From where have you studied art?
JMS Mani: I was born and brought up in Benguluru where I studied Fine Arts at Ken college of Arts. I have a long history of association with the college; not only was it founded by my guru, I also went on to teach there before I became its principal. Of course, I am retired now.
EDB: Where do you generally find your inspiration from?
JMS Mani: Nature has always been my inspiration. My paintings have a rustic theme because I have often used the people of Badami as the subjects of my paintings. Badami is a place in Karnataka and is one of the most historic places in the world. I am completely in awe of the people, their simplicity, the rich culture and heritage. It is also the birth place of my guru.
EDB: You have had numerous exhibitions both solo and group, in India and all over the world. What should the count be by now? And, one wonders why your work is so attractive to international buyers?
JMS Mani: I have had 35 solo exhibitions and many group exhibitions in India and abroad. The reason why I could have so many exhibitions abroad is because foreigners love my paintings since it is inspired by Badami, the rich culture of which attracts them.
EDB: You have attended many camp shows. What keeps you pulling back to these shows?
JMS Mani: Camp shows are very interesting and create an atmosphere of learning. We meet so many other artists, exchange ideas with them and we end up learning new things.
EDB: Are there any of your works that are close to your heart, and why?
JMS Mani: I don’t have any special painting but all my Badami paintings are special to me as the subject is endearing.
EDB: Which medium do you prefer the most to create your artwork?
JMS Mani: I don’t have a favorite medium. I use all of them—acrylic, oil, water colors. But for my recent exhibition I used mixed media—acrylic sheets on stain glass
EDB: If we had to generalize your artwork, which category would you put them in?
JMS Mani: Earlier I was creating a lot of abstract artwork. However, since I have realized my inkling towards Badami, my work has become more people-oriented.
EDB: When you paint are you expressing yourself or imitating what you see?
JMS Mani: I am expressing my emotions through my paintings. You can see it in my brush strokes. I express my appreciation of the Badami population through my paintings.
EDB: Which artists do you admire the most, both Indian and International?
JMS Mani: I really like artists who put in a lot of hard work into their paintings. I admire Vaikuntam, M.F. Hussain, K.G. Subramanium, Jyothi Bhatt from India; internationally I admire Picasso, Gleeny, Rent.
EDB: How long do you take to paint usually?
JMS Mani: Sometimes I take just 30 minutes; sometimes six days, and a few times I have taken even six months to finish one painting.
EDB: If you were not an artist what would you have been?
JMS Mani: (Laughs) I would have definitely been doing some non-creative job like going to the regular office, some sort of a typical blue collar job. I could have been working in a factory!
EDB: As a senior artist what is your advice to budding artists?
JMS Mani: My advice to them is that they should indulge into this art form with a lot of hard work. Use the number of media available and be diverse. They should know what is happening in the art scene and be constantly aware.