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REALISM on canvas

Rajagopal did not study in any specialised school of art, but his works speak for themselves


HIS EXPRESSIONS take shape in his art. He feels it reaches people faster that way. There was a time when art instructor V Rajagopal did not even know how to handle a pencil. Now, he has grown enough to bag the Chitra Kala Ratna, instituted by the Lalit Kala Parishad, Visakhapatnam, during the 32nd All-India annual exhibition last year.

The 43-year-old artist says the Chitrakala Academy was his gateway to fine arts. "It helped in meeting artists and establish contacts. I also came to know more about serious competitions. It resurrected my career."


Rajagopal's painting on `Life' in oil was chosen the best entry of the South at the Art Teachers Art Exhibition 2001. The painting was also forwarded to Mumbai for competing at the national level.

"I developed interest in painting as a sixth standard student. My physical education teacher at the Veerasamy Mudaliar High School, Subbukutty, and art master, Natarajan, sparked my initial interest," says Rajagopal.

Rajagopal, working in the Devarayapuram Government High School, did not study in any specialised school of art, but was inspired in the use of colours by his father, a printing technology expert. "I learnt to use shades from him," the artist recalls.

His forte seems to be sketching personalities. Most of them bear the autographs of the subject and are his prized possessions. Temple art is another passion. "We've lost our culture and rich traditions and I wish to highlight them through my paintings," he says. Cartoons don't fascinate him, because "they have no characterisation. I believe in realism more than anything else."

Ruing the lack of art schools, the school teacher says: "Drawing is quite important both at the school and college levels. Even engineering and medical college students need to perfect their lines."


He has a suggestion, though. "As there is a music academy in every district, it is advisable to club music with art. It will help a great deal."

Rajagopal uses many media, crafting his works in oil, watercolour or acrylic. "Temple drawing requires precise information, while modern art needs form and balance, besides colour value." Rajagopal's sketch of the Perur temple is worth looking at. Made of `stump powder' (colour powder), it makes you feel you are looking at the roof paintings in close-up.

How long does he take to paint a canvas? "If I decide on the theme and if there is just one subject involved, I take two nights, but if there are many subjects, it takes me at least a week.

RAYAN ROZARIO

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