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Burnett's Pops displays iPad paintings at the iPops exhibition

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | June 13, 2011
The paintings are being displayed at the Scarecrow Art Gallery, Mumbai. Two special previews were held for the city's advertising/media professionals and art appreciators on June 10 and June 11, respectively. The art show is on till the end of June.

Leo Burnett's national creative director, K V Sridhar or Pops as he is popularly known, displayed his first lot of 28 paintings created on the iPad. The collection is being showcased at the Scarecrow Art Gallery at Mumbai on June 10 for advertising and media professionals, and on June 11 for art appreciators. The paintings will be showcased at the venue till June 30. Later this month, Pops will conduct workshops for young artists from the Fine Arts and Commercial Arts streams.

For Pops, who has spent 30 years in advertising, the exercise was like going back to his roots. Few are aware that Pops' love for painting began at the age of three. Following his graduation in Botany, Zoology and Chemistry from the Osmania University, Hyderabad, he enrolled to study art at the Ideal School of Art, in Gulbarga, Karnataka. He spent six years there, training to be an artist. At the time, he drew inspiration from the works of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Between 1976 and 1981, he held several solo exhibitions and group shows to showcase his painting talent. Pops' paintings are a part of the collections of the Andhra Pradesh Lalit Kala Academy, Hyderabad Art Society, Modern Pavilion at the Salarjung Museum, Hyderabad, the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority, and of several private collectors in India and overseas.

Such is Pops' passion for painting that in his early days as an artist, he has spent many an hour painting at local railway stations, amongst other such interesting locales. "A career in advertising interrupted my painting," he laughs. "Now, I've gone back to my first love," says Pops.

Regarding his iPad paintings, Pops tells afaqs! that it took him around two-to-two-and-a-half hours to create each painting, insisting that the procedure is akin to creating a regular painting on canvas. "It's just like any other painting; it's not like your usual digital stuff," Pops explains. "I painted on the iPad exactly as I would on real canvas, except that this is much faster. You have to simply take paper or canvas, select your pencil or charcoal, dust it off, and start painting on the iPad." Pops used the stylus to paint on the iPad.

Listing out the advantages of painting on an iPad viz-à-vis the traditional canvas, Pops enthuses, "There's no need to clean your brushes, search for your colours (as all the colours are right there in front of the user), or clean up after you're done, as there's no mess!" Needless to say, there's no need to let the painting dry for hours after completion. Mistakes, too, can be easily rectified. He admits, however, that he missed the familiar smell of linseed oil and turpentine.

The Fountain Pen drawing application on the iPhone, triggered Pops' interest in this style of painting around a year back, and more recently, the Art Rage application fuelled this interest further. "The best part of this is that you still need to be a trained, skilled painter to paint on an iPad," he clarifies.

Most of his paintings are sensuous images of rural women, and have a very rustic, village look and feel to them. When quizzed about his fascination with painting women, Pops answers, "I've always been inspired by human beings; ninety nine per cent of my previous exhibitions comprised paintings of human beings, barring one with landscapes. Moreover, women in particular, inspire me; they're the most wonderful creatures. I think in times of crisis, women are so much stronger and more resilient than men!"

Pops has done many sketches of women across the country, mostly in the interiors of Andhra Pradesh. He attributes the earthy tone in his iPad paintings to these rural experiences. In the past, Pops has created a lot of oil paintings and ink drawings, all of which were portraits of women.

These iPad paintings have been curated by Niyatee Shinde, who informs afaqs! that though they've been crafted on an iPad, the treatment (exhibitions/sales) they will receive will be the same as that fetched by regular paintings. She adds that the paintings are priced at Rs 25,000 to Rs 90,000 each, depending on their size. The sale proceeds of the iPops art show would be donated to an NGO, which works for the welfare of marginalised children, a cause Pops feels strongly about. This initiative has also garnered support from Tata Capital.

afaqs! spoke to some creative professionals about Pops' efforts. Particularly appreciative of Pops' paintings of chairs, Ravi Deshpande, chief creative officer, Contract Advertising, shares, "They have a nice, intriguing, 'Van Gogh-ish' feel to them, with a touch of impressionism -- something very close to my heart." Agreeing that technology does take away certain elements of traditional art, he nonetheless, says, "Art, in general, is evolving and digital art is growing. Many galleries around the world are increasingly adapting to this form of art."

Santosh Padhi, aka Paddy, chief creative officer and co-founder, Taproot India, has a practical take on Pops' iPad paintings. "Traditionally, Indians think art is art only in its pure form, but the world is moving fast; a combination of technology and art is an advantage today simply because of the amount of time it can save!" Paddy reasons that Pops might not have been able to churn out so many paintings this quickly had it not been for technology. "Technology helps speed up the art process," he says.

The next iPops exhibition is scheduled to take place in Delhi, between September and November 2011.

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