Creative Blockade Helped Discover My Current Style: Hemavathy Guha

Hemavathy Guha
Starry Night-II,buttons,needle and thread and acrylic on canvas,2017
starry night-I, buttons,needle and thread and acrylic on canvas
Nebula-II,buttons,needle and thread and acrylic on canvas,2016
Inner Space II

Ashish: What is the story behind you becoming an artist?

Hemavathy Guha: I was interested in drawing and painting right from childhood. I enjoyed looking at the pictures, photographs and drawings in the school text books rather than reading the texts.

Ashish: What inspires you to put your energy into art?

Hemavathy Guha: I think the inspiration comes from within. Visual art be it painting, drawing or sculpture is a language through which artists convey their feelings. I think the urge to say something through the medium of art makes me put my energy into it.

Ashish: What materials do you use in your paintings?

Hemavathy Guha: Apart from oil and acrylic colours, I also use recycled materials like buttons, needle and thread and old newspapers in my paintings.

Ashish: How have you evolved as an artist? (your journey so far).

Hemavathy Guha: I began with paintings in college just like all other artists. But due to lack of space to store finished paintings and also because I had a small child who would sometimes spoil the paintings, I took to the medium of printmaking which I could do in the printmaking studios of Garhi artists village. The scientific aspect of printmaking also attracted me. Here, I worked in the various tenets of printmaking like etching, woodcut, and also experimented combining the various mediums and using different kinds of papers. I worked in printmaking for nearly 15 years although I simultaneously I was trying to find a suitable vocabulary in painting also. In between, I did conceptual works and print installations which I exhibited. In 2004, I went to Canada to work in the printmaking studio in St. Johns as a visiting artist in residence. The printing presses and other accessories in the graphic studio in Garhi were never in good condition which created a lot of hassles for me and I shifted towards the medium of painting from 2005 onwards. I extended what I was doing in B&W in printmaking to painting and continued till 2012. From 2009 onward, I also did a lot of social art projects in the form of blogs, artists books and also made short video films. During 2012, a creative blockade occurred and I could not create for nearly six months. I fiddled with materials and mediums and finally the right calling. It was like going back to the roots as I started working with materials which I had used as a child. I now work in mixed media paintings using buttons, needle and thread on canvas. I continue to undertake community art projects and make short video films.

Ashish: Who is/are your favorite artist(s)? And why?

Hemavathy Guha: This is a very difficult question to answer. While in college,we are fascinated by the impressionists and their works, it might change in later life. I had admired the works of Indian artists like Anupam Sud and Arpana Caur apart from Hussain and Ramkumar.

Ashish: As an artist what do you think needs to be done in order to reach out to more people?

Hemavathy Guha: In order to reach out to more people, perhaps, exhibitions should be organized in alternative spaces.

Ashish: What differences do you find in the audience of India and abroad?

Hemavathy Guha: I think the purchasing power is more in the hands of people abroad than in India.

Ashish: Is art limited to some classes in India? if so, what are the reasons behind it?

Hemavathy Guha: Yes, art seems to be limited to certain classes in India. Maybe people still think that it is elite or they think anybody can do it.

Ashish: How do you see the economics of art in India?

Hemavathy Guha: Since it is economics, it will boom back again.