Seshu Kiran is an artist based in Bangalore, India. His paintings are of nature that arises from his imagination and inspiration rather than actual landscapes. You can find out more about Seshu Kiran through his website – www.kiransart.com and Facebook
ExtraImaginary: Please give us a background of yourself and your journey with art.
Seshu Kiran: I used to draw a lot with pencil and paper in childhood. Seeing this, I was sent to a drawing instructor when I was 6. He liked my drawings and instructed me to draw from what I see. He kept a lantern in front of me and asked to draw. Then he kept his bike. After he felt I was something, he took me as his student for two weeks.
The important lesson I learnt from him was – keep at your art. Breathe your craft. Keep drawing. As I grew, watercolors happened to me. At the age of 17, I passed Karnataka higher grade art exam in first class. This made me eligible to be an art teacher at high schools in Karnataka. But I didn’t. I was also at the craft of technology and inventions. So my career is shared between art and technology. I live by both.
ExtraImaginary: Your art is primarily about nature. Tell us about that.
Seshu Kiran: I drew people, places and objects. But nothing was more juicier than a wide space of nature’s wonderscapes. In 1998, I travelled from Mumbai to Goa on Konkan Railways. It was a sheer prodigality of nature’s beauty. I didn’t turn my head out of the window for the entire journey. When I visited Sierra Nevada, there was a peak above 10,000 feet that holds trees older than 14,000 years. Some still alive. Imagine that tree as a witness for all that took place in those many years. They hold that story. For our very existence every tree around us is a witness. We live because they offer themselves in the chain.
For me nature and landscape is a celebration. An intense mood and an apparatus of life.
I also paint a series of abstracts called ‘Entropy’. It’s just my imaginative way to capture the measure of order/disorder of the universe! My story of ‘Entropy’ is still shaping up. You will see a lot more works of this kind in the coming years.
ExtraImaginary: Many of your paintings have a single source of light and light seems to play a very big part in your paintings. What is the significance of the light?
Seshu Kiran: It as a beautiful compositional element and a sheer spiritual quality. Light continues to inspire me. I stare at sunrising, sunsets, and sun or moon hiding behind clouds. Also how the atmosphere deflects and filters light in its own artistic ways. The lighting in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Singapore and Bangalore all are different with a unique quality both from the geographic positioning and the filtering effect of atmosphere.
I am happy to see people when they smile at this light. For example this painting was a compelling piece at a show in Los Angeles.
ExtraImaginary: What tools and techniques do you use to create your paintings?
Seshu Kiran: Primarily, paints, brushes and knives. Surfaces are canvas and archival papers. I haven’t gone punk with tools, but I pick what suits my situation in my painting. Brushes of different material help at different stages and elements of painting. But the core tool is imagination and execution.
Because I mostly paint from my imagination, I am intensely lost at it.
ExtraImaginary: I believe that although your paintings are mostly about nature, they do not come from existing places, they come from your imagination – Where do your ideas come from?
Seshu Kiran: I think I study the grammar of nature and the aptness and actuality. I can’t paint pine-trees in the middle of Sahara unless it is surrealist art. I can’t make some exotic mixture for the sake of it.
Yes. I subscribe to realism in art. Actually any artform, including movies. Representational and realism are bit different. With realism you want to minimize the gap between your subject and your description of the subject. I had read this treatise by a famous Kannada writer S.L. Bhyrappa. It is called “Satya mattu Soundarya”, which means “Truth and Beauty”.
It’s an enormous debate on how truth and beauty cannot exist without the other.
ExtraImaginary: You’ve done some pieces with a concert going on in the background. Do you find music makes you paint better and how does music change your work and approach?
Seshu Kiran: Musicians are great at their craft. They craft a jewel with lot of beads, gems and accessories. They being the gamut of instruments, voice and equipment. They know the value of an intrinsic individual sound and a collective effect of blend. This is called composition. Like a stock-market graph, an artist has to know the individual segment vs. overall shape. What is similar between the process of painting and music is the composition. Music strangely becomes a visual affair for me.
Painting is an unique non repeatable piece of music. When the canvas dries, it exists forever. For me live painting is enthralling. It becomes a performing-art.
ExtraImaginary: Walk us through the process of creating your art – from first inspiration to final product.
Seshu Kiran: Walk into my studio for that But let me make an effort. I’d start splashing a basic wash with a color that I am in mood with. Then I slowly scratch little details to understand.
ExtraImaginary: How do you know when a piece is finished?
Seshu Kiran: There is no finish line for a piece. A painting cannot be finished. If I say, I finished this painting it sounds abject. Ask any movie director who finished a film. He is always wondering what if I did this scene differently. He feels like filling so many gaps.
My art is never finished. It’s only a mortal’s effort to go closer to what I wanted to do. I would say, I am at this imperfection to go close to what I want. But I could only go this much close. There is miles of void next to it. On a practical realm, there is a sunset. So I’d would call it done for my sale.
Actually I created a piece that reflects this aspect of unfinished. This painting with clouds and balloons. The collector liked it so much that she was ready to trade anything for it. This had a small unnoticeable drawing of a bicycle flying along with balloons. It’s intentionally unfinished. Whenever she’d walk to her painting, she can finish that small portion in her own imagination.
Sometimes I do marathon of impressionist art. It’s like a racing competition with yourself. You got to get out of it with the last tick. I like those pieces too.
ExtraImaginary: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Seshu Kiran: Everything that triggers imagination. Landscapes, travels, forests, flowers everything on the horizon.
ExtraImaginary: What is your most memorable moment as an artist?
Seshu Kiran: I enjoy every painting I do. The most memorable moment is yet to come. I am waiting for it.
ExtraImaginary: Who are your favorite artists?
Seshu Kiran: I was waiting for this question I like realistic traditions across the globe. I like our contemporaries like Jeremy Lipking, S Ilayaraja, to deceased masters like Walter Langley, Norman Rockwell and such.
ExtraImaginary: What are your goals in regards to your art?
Seshu Kiran: To be able to completely finish a painting in it’s truest sense. To paint large murals (which I just started). And to paint every landscape of the world.
ExtraImaginary: Is there anything else that you would like people to know about you?
Seshu Kiran: Yes! Check my works on www.kiransart.com (Currently in maintenance)