When he picks a brush in his hands, Vikash Kalra feels a sense of energy and motivation, one he never knew existed before he became an expert at forms and colour schemes of his own liking, says Yukti Narang
Vikash Kalra is a maestro of abstracts, blurred figures and surrealist ideas in art. Painting is equivalent to life for him, creating joy and beauty in every phase of his journey as an artist. He is a self-taught creator who went through a series of jobs and businesses before learning that art was his sole calling. No matter how much the artist paints, the thirst to create is not quenched but surges with each painting. As he started his voyage in art, he had no qualms about his vision or expertise, but his perspective towards paintings was different from what was ascertained. His paintings grew with him, an almost surrealist experience as they found colours, and myths turned into legends.
He takes inspiration from masters like Picasso, Tyeb Mehta, Francisco Goya and F.N. Souza. For him, there is a vast gap between a painter and an artist. Anyone can learn to paint, but only some can become real artists. With time, his paintings took the shape of his inspirations, a blend of motifs and reality merged with fantastical ideologies. Kalra had, as a result of these ideas, read a series of coffee table books created to understand the mind of art makers and revolutionary creators, especially when he owned a book shop as part of his former businesses. His works have been inspired from many religious hymns and sayings, holy books and scriptures, namely the Shrimad Bhagavat Gita and verses of the Bible. Biblical art has always stimulated a passion in him, urging him to learn more of modern art and practices.
When the artist picks a brush in his hands, he feels a sense of energy and motivation, one he never knew existed before he became an expert at forms and colour schemes of his own liking. He often swears by a quote by Picasso that states, “Art is a lie.” He seeks answers to the truth in art and warrants new movements, taking risks and making changes in the art expanse. He plays with the paint brush and paintings formulate their life on his canvas as a natural phenomenon. Giving examples of his work are like collecting soot out of a cold furnace, it is natural and baked, coloured and unending. Vikash Kalra’s ‘Head Series’ is a look into other people’s expressions, their ideas about one, and their plans for life. He now thinks that those paintings were never about those people, but his thoughts about them, making them a cursive idea of one’s imagination. Kalra draws inspiration from many people in his personal life, his partner and people he finds unique.
For the master himself, art phases choose him rather than him seeking new ways and forms. Landscapes and nature found him at a point in his lifecycle where he came face to face with emotional turmoil and despair. Kalra’s art is a burning furnace that cools, and ignites in bouts, but keeps asking for colour. This is one of the reasons he leaves a lot of his work untitled. He wants people to tell him their ideas of his art, rather than having one fixed idea about a painting. His newest series will be inspired from the ‘World Order Collapse.’ Research for this theme, as is the case with all themes set for his paintings, is ongoing and he has collaborated with a fashion persona to elevate the painting onto greater levels of exhibition and for a grand cause. His paintings are not only bought or auctioned, he also donates them as a contribution to the art universe and other causes he feels strongly about. Kalra has even found that nature’s elements, humans, birds, animals, grass, insects and the ecology excite him and form characters of his paintings.
He believes that art resides in him like a child in their childhood. You can grow out of it, but it remains in the mind, heart and memory. The artist now waits to give the world his best painting, the meaning of which he wishes to decipher as he learns from his own past, actions and painted pedestals.
The artist is represented by Easel Stories
Art Gallery, Noida