REFLECTION OF MEDITATIVE MOODS
Hanumantha Rao Devulapalliʼs artistic expressions are like an exploration into a deep musing.
Hyderabad based artist Hanumantha Rao Devulapalli believes that simple means of communication are usually the most effective and as an artist, he always strives to keep his art form simple yet effective. The entire process of his artistic expressions are like an exploration into a deep musing, a journey through ethereal melodies in search of an element of joy, a light that brings out celestial peace and happiness. Excerpts from an interview: Did you always know you would become an artist?
One of my fondest memories of early childhood is capturing exact caricatures of my classmates, and decorating labels on my books. I was particularly good at capturing the emotions of my subjects. As I grew, the passion towards art grew in many folds and varied forms. In my second year of graduation, I secured a job in Eenadu as an artist. Later on, I moved to advertising and it was a long, successful and a satisfying career option. Over all those years, as my career shaped- up, my art evolved from cartoons to portraits to abstracts. In 2001, I quit advertising and switched to being a full-time artist!
You’ve always favoured geometric form in your painting. Do you think that the use of simple geometric forms served the purpose of being an artist? Yes, I possibly did have a special affinity towards Geometry since my childhood. Even the layouts I designed for advertisements and magazines were always well balanced in terms of space/ volume divisions, treating them like compositions with Solids and Voids.
I believe simple means of communication is usually the most effective; as an artist, I always keep my art form simple and effective. As long as the interaction between a work of art, and the viewer is complete, I think the purpose of my art is served.
Many a times my work touched the right chords and the viewers’ reaction to my work was what I wanted it to be. So yes, underlying usage of geometric forms has worked well for me.
You are inspired from the philosophy of Vedanta; does it help in enhancing your quality of work?
The atmosphere I grew up in has had an immense influence on my beliefs and thoughts.
That environment not only helped me understand life, the philosophy around it, develop a spiritual bent of mind and grow as an individual but also, matured my artistic expressions.
My paintings albeit simple and non- representational, are usually elaborate in process; with multiple layers and lacerating of colours used to bring in a luminous effect, reflecting the deep thoughts involved in communicating one single idea or expression.
The mood in the painting is meditative, so is the process and with the objective to give a joyful experience to the viewer. When a viewer shares that experience with me it gives me, a unique sense of fulfilment and achievement fills me.
How do you approach colour?
When I close my eyes in meditation, various imageries move in those Elysian passages. The colours are dreamlike, transparent, fluidic and layered. I attempt to transfer the same on to the canvas.
Generally my colour palette reflects those evanescent imageries. Accordingly I choose colours and create as many shades of the same as possible using textures and layers.
I seldom use white colour in my paintings; to maintain a transparency of the layers and sanctity of the canvas; its originality. These can be considered as unique attributes or characteristics of my art work.
You work with different mediums which one you feel is more flexible and satisfying?
To be candid, I wouldn’t attribute flexibility to any mode. However, once I decide upon a particular idea or expression, I select the medium as per the mood to be depicted/created in the painting. And, usually while selecting particular type of medium, I do explore, study and experiment on it. Only after I get convinced that it’s the right mode to communicate the expression, I start using it. For example, I use oil colours to bring out various shades of a particular colour. While when I plan to carve out unique textures and tones using multiple layers, I use acrylic colours as the medium.
Being an abstract painter, when do you know your work is complete?
Each one of my artworks is attempting to express a particular thought or an idea. Since my work is elaborate with layering and texturing, it tends to change a lot from the original thought. Most of the time it will be an improvisation on the basic idea. I stop working on a painting once I am convinced it’s the best expression of that original thought or idea.
Do you feel beauty to be an important aspect of your art?
Aesthetics and Art are largely interlinked. I lay emphasis more on expressing the thought or idea on canvas and capturing the right mood. I don’t put in any extra effort to make it colourful or beautify with external materials. I generally don’t even frame my works and advise the collectors not to frame the painting. In your view, how have you evolved over the years as an artist? I still consider myself being a student of art. Like in every other aspect of life, as an artist with each passing year, I learnt new strokes, added variety to my work, identified a niche for myself.
At the start of my career in a publication, I learnt to streamline my thought process and in a career spanning up to 20 years in advertising I learnt to simplify the Idea to communicate effectively. Similarly in Art, I started with landscapes, which led me to explore the force of my strokes, and develop a series on charging bulls in ‘figurative abstract style’ and later explored the same technique to another series which I called, ‘Volume in Motion’, which was complete abstraction. From pencil sketches to hyper realism in air brushing to forceful strokes of oil colours, culminated to this style today, where I paint first and then scrape it off to achieve this image with a deeper thought of an inward Journey.
At every stage, I evaluate myself. I am my own critic. I don’t hesitate to reject my own work.
What are your future plans? I am now working on ‘Raagas of Indian Music’, as a theme, attempting to bring the essence of a Raaga appear on canvas. We