Turning Paper to Life

With the stunning use of hand-torn paper and vibrant acrylics, Gopalsamy Subramanian beautifully captures the calmness of Buddha, the notoriety of Krishna, the strength and dedication of Hanuman and the innocence of young girls in his collages, says Chander Kumar

A plain white canvas can rarely appeal to anyone. Add some colours and it starts standing out. A combination of complementing colours, beautiful strokes, a little detail here and there and a lot of thought and effort can convert a plain white canvas into a masterpiece. While most of the time artists choose watercolours, acrylic or oil painting as their medium, only a few choose paper. And when we talk about paper, we seldom think of a painter using it as it’s mostly used by crafters. Bengaluru-based Gopalsamy Subramanian is one such artist who engages in the simple yet mesmerising and innovative art of collage using paper to create spellbinding works on canvas. He blends the traditional acrylics with modern collage to recreate a variety of Indian mythological characters. Subramanian was introduced to art at a very young age. He entered the world of colours, emotions, expressions and mythology in his hometown – a coastal village called Thandavankulam – in Tamil Nadu, where his father was a stage artist. The colourful makeup, iconic costumes, decorative screens, and the historical plays captured Subramanian’s curiosity in the world of art and drama.

Growing up, Subramanian observed the makeup artists enhance the beauty and expressions of the theatre artists just like a painter paints the world around him in myriad colours. He saw the regular farmers turn into various mythological characters after wearing elaborate costumes and adorning themselves with makeup. This is where he was first exposed to the graceful world of art. Subramanian starts with drawing simple silhouettes. He then fills them with different hand-torn colourful magazine photos and blends them with acrylic paint. What at first seems like a simple, child like sketch soon takes the form of a beautiful collage. It’s interesting to see a variety of magazine pictures fill in the mythological characters. The skyline of a foreign city becomes the skirt of a young girl, a colony of fish becomes Radha and Krishna’s embellishments or a piece of clock takes the place of the piece of sweet in Ganesha’s hand. The result always turns into happy faces of different mythological characters and young girls. With the stunning confluence of alluring hand-torn paper and vibrant acrylics, Subramanian beautifully captures the calmness of Buddha, the notoriety of Krishna, the strength and dedication of Hanuman and the innocence of young girls in his collages



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