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Mad about myth

Goa based artist Viraj Naik shows his latest body of witty, humorous mixed-media works in Fanatical Beings, at India Fine Art.

art and culture Updated: Apr 03, 2009 16:37 IST
Jigna Padhiar

Having studied painting at Goa College of Art and done his Masters in printmaking from Hyderabad University, he has had six solo shows since 2003 and has participated in several group shows. He tells more about his obsession with animal forms and humour.

Fanatical Beings shows a larger variety of your works.. compared to your earlier shows. This show has works from 2007 and 2008, drawing on paper and some canvases. I started the works as sketches and gradually they developed into colour. I feel it was a process, which took its own path. Also in this show, the works are more human-oriented, compared to the earlier works that were more animal form oriented.

What’s your inspiration?
I am inspired by Indian and Greek mythological themes. Hybridised forms of human and animals, gods like Hanuman, Garuda and Ganesha for instance.

I wonder how the creator must have created the form and how the epic writers must have visualized the characters. I try to understand the concept of hybrid and evolve it in my visual language. I am also inspired by Egyptian art.

Witty, humorous, comic, caricature.. these words best describe your works.
I merge the humorous aspect of human with the animal instinct. I am inspired by moral stories from Indian origin. I see a lot of characters in Goa, where I belong. These are all living characters from around me. I like story telling through my works.

You studied printmaking as well as painting. Does the visual language you use merge the two?
I try to bring this quality into my drawings consciously. Initially I was struggling because drawing and etching are two different things. Today I can do a proper etching and shift to painting at the same time. I think this language that I use, brings a certain sophistication in my work.

Why mixed media works? Why not prints?
Prints have an aesthetic appeal but doing multi-coloured prints is time-consuming. With drawing, one can explore. Wherever I have traveled in India, my prints have been received well, even commercially. I feel the Indian onlooker has not been properly educated in printmaking. I often take art collectors to my studio and explain the process to them and that makes a lot of difference to how they look at prints. They start taking prints as a serious form of art.