As part of the continuing series on artists and their works, MyRefractions speaks to a passionate painter who works on oil, acrylic and water colours. In an email interview from his studio, Mahinth speaks of the art form he so loves. A friend, a batch mate and a hardworking artist, Mahinth loved painting since very young, the artist in Mahinth has been a work in progress and he is finally planning to come out and show his works on larger scale. His paintings, however, exhibit a deep maturity within.
Excerpts from the interview, along with some of the paintings…
MyRefractions: What inspired you to take up painting as a hobby?
Mahinth: Taking up painting was not sudden. I did have some talent to draw. My mother noticed this and took me to a professional artist, Austin Konchira and requested him to mentor me and be my guru. That’s how I started painting and the age of 12. That’s continued till date.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Well, the tools have evolved. Good quality brushes have always been high on that list. I source my brushes from the UK. Also, a studio with excellent natural and artificial lighting, space to walk around, sit and contemplate are equally important.
Is there an artwork here you are most proud of? Why?
As an artist there are no favourites… as you go through the journey there is introspection and more importantly a specific work almost always links to a certain period of time and thinking. So it’s like a diary. Some have stronger memories than others. Having said that, there are ones that get composed better than others in terms of color, composition effect etc. ‘Contemplation’ is one of my favourites.
Describe the journey to get where you are today?
Art is a journey with no clear destination. As far as where I am is concerned, I think I was very lucky to have great mentors like Austin Konchira, Locke and Murali master in Trivandrum at very early stages.
This was followed by my exposure to ‘high art’ as part of my travels around the world and exposure to master paintings inspired me persevere and learn higher order techniques. My move to the East Coast of the United States was perfect for this and gave me opportunity to seek tailored education that I felt was missing. This pertains mainly to materials, technique etc.
My painting styles have also evolved along the way, moving from realism to surrealism to abstract. It’s the same with mediums. On the whole, I am very happy with where I am as an artist.
Did you choose between abstract and a real-life painting?
I don’t think it’s possible to choose or that any artist chooses between abstract and real-life. I started off like most other artists. I drew and studied real-life objects. Slowly, I evolved as I began to understand and appreciate contemporary styles and methods.
“Painting for recreation to painting to a living”. What are your views?
Painting to make a living is a huge risk. It’s like sports. What percentage of people who play tennis actually become professional players? The second aspect is creativity. When art becomes your living, becoming commercial is inevitable. Commercial art kills creativity. In that sense, I am happy that I have taken art as a “serious hobby”. I get to decide what I want to create. I don’t particularly care about acceptance.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently experimenting with a theme revolving around patterns and nature. I would categorise it as abstract. I am trying to capture the interplay of light and the natural movement of nature. I call this the Tao of Nature. Also, I am trying to be textural in my newer paintings along with broad brush strokes.
Where else can we find you?
A short bio of the artist:
Born in Trivandrum, Mahinth was exposed to art and painting as a teenager. Mahinth took instruction under various masters and developed liking for traditional painting. After many years of painting and experimenting with various styles along with continuing art studies from some of the major art institutions in Singapore and USA, Mahinth has now shifted his painting technique to a looser way. His subject focus is a topic he returns to a lot; sustainability and nature. The idea is to capture the interplay of abstraction and realism along with the ‘Tao’ or movement of nature. Mahinth likes the mathematical patterns that repeat in nature and uses them for visual design. His paintings are characterized by liberal brush strokes and texture while maintaining the subtle interplay of tones.