As a little girl,Priya Ghosh knew next to nothing about art or fashion,but she was drawn to both. She would sit alone,sketching rudimentary figures draped in different designs each time. And when she wasnt sketching fashion designs,she tried her hand at sketching and painting nature. By the time she was 22,with a degree from the School of Fashion Technology in hand,fashion at least was no longer an amateur interest. While Ghosh began looking for work and fashion assignments,she decided to learn a little more about fine arts too.
I have always loved art, says Ghosh,who is now 24 and is presenting her first art exhibition at Bliss Art Gallery with a collection of warli and kalamkari art. While I was looking for work after graduation,I thought I might as well learn painting. So I joined a short course on folk arts for two months, she says.
Of all the styles,she likes warli because of its simplicity and kalamkari because it depicts a lot of nature and often tells a story. In my warli paintings,I have depicted village life. In kalamkari pieces,I have shown trees,animals and sometimes,even gods, she says.
For Ghosh,her art is not just an outlet for creativity,its also a labour of love. Not only is every single piece painstakingly painted with fine brushes,even the canvas and colours are prepared by her. Although you can easily buy readymade canvas from the market,I like to hunt for the right fabric. I always use cotton fabric and look for the right thread count and thickness. It has to have the right thickness else the colours will leak,and if its too thick,it becomes hard to paint on it, she says.
Once Ghosh finds the right fabric,she measures it and cuts it to size depending on what kind of piece she wants to paint. Then its time to mix pigments. I use pigment colours and unlike acrylic paint that is ready to use,pigments have to be mixed with a binder so that the colours dont fade or disintegrate with time, she says. Her paintings take anywhere between four days to a fortnight to complete. Even though it is a lot of effort,I like the satisfaction of looking at a finished piece, says Ghosh.
A lot of her knowledge and comfort with fabrics,dyes and colours come from her fashion background,she admits. When I was learning to paint,the knowledge and experience I had from classes on fabric and dyes earlier helped me to learn faster, she says. Ghosh says that in the future,she might even combine her knowledge of fashion and folk art to create customised clothes with hand-painted art on them. Some designers do combine fine arts and fashion. I cant say for sure when I will do it,but it is possible that I will combine them in the future, she says.
The exhibition is on till July 13