Force, speed & power of the majestic horse fascinates artist Priyendra Shukla
Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Artist Priyendra Shukla is showcasing his works in a solo show online. Called Soulful Strides, it portrays his passion and fascination for the majestic horse. The show is curated by Manisha Gawade and presented by Ehsaas, New Delhi and Arthouse by AV, Dubai. The show is a collection of 19 of Shukla’s latest works.
Born and brought up in a family of artists, in Delhi (his father graduated from Delhi College of Art way back in 1964 and even his elder brother did his Masters from Delhi College of Art), Shukla was initiated into the world of art at an early age. “I have memories of holding my father’s hand on my way to many art competitions and it was the only exciting thing I looked forward to, during my school days,” he says, adding that it was only natural that he too join the Delhi College of Art and become an artist. Excerpts from an interview:
Please tell us more about your ongoing show, Soulful strides.
In this show, I have tried to explore the canvases through ecstatic brush movements and textures of thick strokes using scalpels and brushes. The lessons of Vastu Shatra and Fengshui for both abundance and strength have energised the underlying theme. The horse here represents beauty, courage, strength and abundance.
Horse, 24X60 inches, Acrylic on Canvas
What explains your fascination with horses?
Horses have always fascinated my creative senses. The raw, muscular beauty that defines the form of a horse has been a muse for painters and poets since antiquity. Exuding virtues of loyalty and efficiency, man’s trusted steed has always been more than an animal throughout human history.
In my paintings, I strive to portray the force, speed and power that is the essence of the animal. Through bold and forceful brushstrokes, I endeavour to reflect this essence. Using an interplay of thin, emotive strokes and bold patches of colors, I seek to encapsulate the spirit of raw power and momentum that defines the form of a horse. The prospect of painting wild stallions dashing through space, kicking up clouds of dust, never fails to captivate me.
Running Horses, 36X72 inches, Acrylic on Canvas
When all other artists are holding physical exhibitions, you are having an online show…
The world has become a smaller place with the social media and digital platforms. Manisha Gawade, the curator of the show felt that it will do much more justice if we did not restrict the audience to only the local one but expanded the horizons to be able to reach out to the global audience. It is for the same reason that this show is supported by Art house which is based out of Dubai.
From who did you draw your inspiration to become an artist?
I have been raised among colours and canvases, having been born in an ‘Art family’. I started painting at a very young age. I am a lucky child, who since the age of two, have been sharing and communicating in the language of brushes and patches with my father, D S Shukla, who is also my guru and mentor. Even now at the age of 87 years he shares his views on art and inspires me with his knowledge and spirit. I also find a connection with all artists who strive to put their creative thoughts on paper and canvases. I relate to their struggles and the ecstasy they finally create through their art. They inspire me to dig deeper and create my own artistic interpretations of my creative thoughts.
Horse, 30X48 inches, Acrylic on Canvas
How many hours in a day do you paint?
Painting for me is a very subconscious process, which gets triggered with even a subtle glimpse of a colour in the jar or just a simple touch of the rough texture on a canvas. I never paint keeping deadlines in mind. At times, I give long breaks of days and weeks, just to connect with my inner self or look at my previous works and then I start working on 4-5 canvases simultaneously. It then that my dialogue begins with my canvases and inner self, and then it’s not about minutes or hours or nights or days, it is about establishing my communication with my work of art. Most of the times it is very spontaneous and quick.
Your favourite medium – oil, water, pencil…
The entire bevy of the art material that surrounds me leaves me in a state of intoxication. The callings I receive from them and my creative flow is quite intense. From a rhythmic pencil line, to a smudged charcoal shading, to a dripping watercolor doing its own play, to a roller patch on a grainy canvas, to a realistically drawn oil portrait…. Comparing the various mediums will not do justice to the artistic bliss I experience and playing with all of these.
What one do you like more – painting or sculpture etc?
Sculpture is the best comment that a painter can make on painting – is what Picasso said.
When you create a canvas you might want to extend it to a diptych or triptych and at times you feel like going on to a different dimension all together, to do justice to your subject. That is the reason I created a 20 Ft. high, Steel Installation for the subject Five Elements as it needed a three dimensional space for its representation to be complete. Having said that, I must honestly confess that I feel more physically involved when I dip my roller in textures and my hands are soaked in colours.
What are your other interests, hobbies?
I feel art is all about visual communication and I find my creative stimulation in Nature and whilst interacting with people from different places and cultures. The dialogue that is created between my inner self and these experiences, fluidly inspires my art. So, travelling to find unexplored beautiful places in the wilderness, and exploring local culture and tradition, is not just my hobby but also food for my soul.
Soulful Strides is on till March 14, on Facebook and Instagram