Paint and Positivity – Ways to Stay Home in Style
CG. What are some of the innovative ways through which you are tackling this lockdown?
Shahul. Staying at home and making art! These are challenging times, but I came up with new ideas for working at home. I'm trying my best to stay positive. I think this is a brilliant opportunity to spend time with our loved ones. This is also a perfect time to catch up with things you've missed. One of the best ways to spend time is to do what you like.
CG. Many people experience art blocks during these trying times. Have you been through something similar? If yes, could you share your strategies for overcoming them?
Shahul. Art block stems from lack of motivation and inspiration, but I create illustrations that reflect my perception of the current situation, emotions that provoked me by news, discussions and trends on social media. Therefore, I don't experience art blocks. I'm using this time to interact with my followers on social media. Through such interactions, I can understand what people like and what they want to see.
CG. You've recently painted murals on the walls of your home. Is it something which you've always wanted to do? Could you kindly share your experience on the same?
Shahul. Yes, I always wanted to share my passion with my family. By combining my art and my wife's fondness for interior designing we created something unique. I realised that we can lighten our mood by lightening others' spirits, so we did our best to remain positive and weaved little moments of happiness together. We want to spread this hope and positivity because we all need it right now.
CG. Most of us are witnessing a shift in our perspective of life and the world due to this pandemic. Have you witnessed something similar?
Shahul. This stay at home order has brought the most significant shift, especially in expats' lives. As the stay at home orders have been issued, the expats are all confined to a densely packed multi-storey building. I did a lot of illustrations to educate people about this issue.
CG. What are your thoughts on spreading awareness of this pandemic through art, especially mural art in public spaces? Could you kindly talk about your recent illustrations about CoVID 19?
Shahul. Art is created to communicate and to inspire us to act and think. I believe it has the power to change society. My recent illustrations are all about 'stay home, stay safe and enjoy comfort'. I think it is sufficient for us to sustain our health and happiness at this moment. Take measures to remain optimistic and mindful. Practice self-love, especially now. We must spread hope and positivity.
CG. Mural art would require you to go out in public places to paint. How safe is it to do so? How has this affected your projects and your livelihood?
Shahul. All my projects are commissioned by art galleries and corporate, therefore they provide the safety measures. My projects and livelihood remained safe and intact.
CG. Which is your favourite mural among the ones you have illustrated during this lockdown?
Shahul. My favourite mural created during the stay home order is 'Expat'. When our world is threatened by a pandemic, the expatriates are worried about life, security and wages. Several of them are stranded here. These are people who came as visitors, as students, as business personals to name a few. There are several uninsured patients and pregnant women. I tried to bring out these problems through my illustration. Expatriates should be treated as human beings.
CG. Why have you chosen to become a mural artist?
Shahul. It began with a simple desire to see my drawings on a bigger scale. Over the years, I began enjoying it more and started appreciating the dialogue which public spaces create between my work and the people around it. It feels great to interact with people who stop to watch me and take photographs of my works. I enjoy their interpretations. And now, I simply love this work.
CG. How does culture influence your art? What are some of the distinct features in your artwork that you would attribute to your culture?
Shahul. I believe culture impacts society and the individuals within it. I take inspirations from everyday scenes and contemporary life. My art is an aesthetic reflection of the modern age.
CG. Your works are abstract and vibrant. What is the role played by the colours in your artwork?
Shahul. I love to play with colours. My colour palette renders a unique satiating effect on the onlookers and the concept of colour gradation is pleasingly inoculated to create ripples of shades, which root to limited colours but create visual imagery of multiple hues.