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Art out of control

Art out of control
Resin painting by Sanaa Merchant

Local artists talk about being 'at the mercy' of chemical reactions, colours and mediums

By Purva Grover

Published: Thu 30 Jan 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 31 Jan 2020, 1:00 AM

It's interesting how, as an author, I'm often at the mercy of my characters. On some occasions, they speak to me all night making me restless and keeping me awake. On a few others, they're at a cold war with me, and no amount of pleading helps. Recently, I shared this thought with a bunch of artists and they confessed they are often at the mercy of colours, mediums and the chemical reactions between the two. Intrigued, I decided to dig deeper and made stopovers at studios to find out the latest muse for these local artists. I learnt how these art forms are not for control freaks, but only for the patient, adventurous and the skilled.

Every action has a reaction
"Resin is a versatile medium and an artist can experiment with it across mediums like boards, canvas, wood and furniture as long as it is a sustainable and strong base," says Sanaa Merchant. And what does resin painting involve? Mixing resin and hardener. "A chemical reaction takes place, causing the liquid resin to gradually harden to a solid plastic," she says. In the end, the result can be either clear glazed or pigments.

Let it pour...
"Call it fluid art, liquid art, or acrylic pouring, the results are uplifting and dreamy," confesses Shadab Khan. In love with the vibrant use of colours, psychedelic elements, and resulting abstractness, Shadab equates the process to a meditative experience. "Using fluid acrylics is like looking into a crystal-clear glass, and sitting back to hear and watch them (elements) closely," she adds. As they move according to their will, one has to simply let them go!

How does one tame ink?
When artist Sonu Sultania sits down to work, she has no idea of the outcome. "Alcohol ink, by nature, is unpredictable and that's what made me fall in love with this medium," she says. The highly pigmented ink can be diluted with isopropyl and is also known as brightly coloured dye-based paints. "Using different shades of inks and watching the chemical reactions create a work of art is magical. At the same time, it means I have to let go of my control (over it)," she adds. Sonu describes playing with the medium as a therapeutic process, which blends meditation with artistic ideas and helps one create something that explores one's inner world.
While the beauty of these psychedelic works may lie in the eyes of the holder, the 'uncontrollable' nature of these elements do play a big part behind-the-scenes.

Liquid art by Shadab Khan
Liquid art by Shadab Khan
Alcoholic ink work by Sonu Sultania
Alcoholic ink work by Sonu Sultania

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