Art gets a smart( phone) canvas
Comprising portraits and abstracts, debutant artist Dilip De’s exhibition gives a new twist to digital art by using the mobile phone as a canvas. Amy Fernandes takes a look
Art is omnipresent,” says freshly anointed artist Dilip De, whose exhibition Celebration of Love at the Jehangir Art Gallery opened with 24 pieces of art in a new format. That art is omnipresent is not new to De, an avid and astute collector himself. What is new is the discovery, in fact several discoveries, that a) there is an artist in most of us, if we have the patience to coax him ( or her) out, and b) artists do not have to be in a studio with a large canvas and paint lying askew. In De’ x case, the canvas is a miniature 4x5cm on his Samsung Galaxy Note.
People generally have eureka moments when they stumble onto something big. De had none of these. His art began at his farmhouse in Alibaug where anthurium and orchids bloom and where, in a relaxed state, he began “doodling” orchids in the hope of sending it to his wife Shobhaa. Alas, it disappeared. Technology, not being one of his strong suits yet, had already singled him out for boot camp. So he at- tempted another bloom and unlike the 45 other artworks that had vanished, he learnt assiduously to save and send.
Shobhaa would have been the sole recipient of all of these pieces had fate not scripted a set of serendipitous stages that led him to exhibit his works. A friend who saw them insisted these be blown into prints. But at a point Dadiba Pundole stepped in and helped choose 24 pieces that could turn into prints. Dilip Ranade, ( former museum curator and artist) who saw these said he would put words to the art. An exhibition seemed to be shaping up.
There was still the question of where to show. Naturally, it would have to be Jehangir Art Gallery. But that has a six- year waiting period. Luckily, someone had backed out. De was in. It doesn’t stop there. At dinner with a friend, he mentioned he was working on this exhibition of digital art created on his Samsung phone. “What do you intend doing about it?’’ the friend asked. “Putting it up of course,”’ he said.
“How can you be so foolish,’’ said the friend, ‘’ does Samsung know about this?’’ “No.” Then came the trump card. “I know someone there who we should show the work to.” Naturally, Samsung India was delighted with the images. Acknowledging it hadn’t encountered an exhibition or art created on the Samsung Galaxy Note Series, it proceeded to partner him in showcasing the exhibition. And that is how Dilip De got his mojo. At the packed opening, which threatened to turn into a stampede owing to Amitabh Bachchan’s presence, the 24 pieces hung proudly. “I am not some great artist, but I am happy at how things have turned out. I would like art to be affordable.” And why Celebration of Love? One is not quite sure where the love stories spring in when you see the pictures. The literature explains it though: Dilip De’s works comprise portraits of men and women depicting various moods and situations. There are a few abstracts also which show kinship with landscape. The portraitsport cover a range of characters and expressions,expr from melancholic and pensive to the more enigmatic and amorous. Though the desired characters and situations are envisaged by the artist, in the process of improvisation, the results are often amusing moods and expressions. Renderings of the head in colourc and form are not naturalistic butb are intended to complement visual impact.im The faces are delineated with jaggedja and nervous lines which heighten feelings of unrest, whereas some of th the heads with protruding chins are dr drawn in fine lines alluding to a mask. “Like art, love stories abound,” he says.say You only have to look for it and celebrateeb it.” As he does on his miniature canvas.can ( Today is the last day of viewing Celebration of Love at Jehangir Art Gallery)
Dilip De poses with his mobile phone artworks titled Mumbai Sky Symphony, ( above) artworks Vortex and Sona