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Live painting is a tricky business. You have to keep a lot of things in mind—the audience,the mood and most of all,the music.

Live painting is a tricky business. You have to keep a lot of things in mind—the audience,the mood and most of all,the music. It’s improvisation at its highest level and when it’s not clear how exactly the notes and the rhythm of the musician translate into the brushstrokes of the artist,the whole point is lost. Then it just becomes an artist painting (and doing a somewhat hotchpotch job of it) with some rather loud and brash music playing in the background.

Live painting is also performance art and you need to be equal-part performer and painter. French painter Jean-Baptiste Gaubert who painted to DJ Mayur Narvekar’s mix of tabla and electronic rhythms at Volte,Colaba,seemed to be slightly more inclined towards the former with his raised collar ruggedness and shaggy locks.

“This genre of painting is certainly a different way to express myself,” says Gaubert. “It’s much easier as I’m able to derive inspiration from the public and the music.”

He began with simple strokes in vicious colours—psychedelic oranges and yellows,stepped back to survey his work,ran a paint-blotched hand through that messy hair and started getting kooky,more in his actions than in what exactly translated into the canvas.

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So the paint was tunneled out with both hands,(brushes being bothersome obstacles). Often it was splashed straight from the bottles. The strokes got wilder and frequently spilled out from the canvas. Gradually,patterns emerged (if you squinted hard enough),an alphabet here,a geometric shape there,a gaunt face stretching across the painting.

The music was packed with just enough punch to keep us on our toes. We did wish it would build to a crescendo instead of dipping and peaking and then hanging suspended somewhere in the horizon of enjoyable,bordering on enigmatic.

If anyone seemed to enjoy it,it was Gaubert (“I absolutely loved it,” he confirms) who gyrated enthusiastically to the beat,kicked off his shoes (was there a significance in that or was the room just getting stuffy?) and finished with a flourish.


And the end product? Someone once said that art is anything you can get away with. That must leave a lot of wriggling space for artists.

First published on: 27-03-2010 at 01:21:43 am
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