February 25, 2012
We find plenty of artists, writers, poets, musicians, painters and singers who seem to be in touch with the subtlety of life and bring it out creatively. Many of them are happiest in doing what they like the most as it is their creative outlet to express their inner feelings. Young and up-and-coming artist Wilson Jesupriya D'Souza, known to everyone by his signature name “Wilson Kayyar”, is creating quite a stir as an artist with a difference, in the coastal region of Karnataka. As a professional contemporary artist, known for a distinctive style and strokes, Wilson Kayyar is slowly but strongly rising in the art scene showing promise of making it big on a much larger canvass rather than confining himself to this coastal region.
His emergence as an artist of caliber is something to cheer about mainly because the people of the city who are quite apathetic in their response to art, have been evincing keen interest in his creations. Other seasoned artists of this region too have been quite liberal in their admiration for this young artist, which is quite a healthy sign as far as art is concerned. His passion and forte is landscaping and portrait painting and the style he adopts is semi-abstract. He however says “ style cannot be permanent and may change over a period of time”. He works extensively with oils and prefers oils for its smoothness, rich texture and vivid colours.
Dinesh Holla, writer, environmentalist and painter has nothing but praise for this young lad in whom he perceives everything that would make him an artiste or repute. “His paintings are different, he does more of figurative sketches and his brush strokes are very unique. That kind of work is very rare. For the background he uses light shades and the focus is on the abstract work. Though his work is abstract it is able to convey the meaning merely through expressions. He is good not just in landscaping but in all types of paintings. I like his strokes. Most of his paintings depict women and the persecution they undergo and this is shown effectively by using right colour combinations”.
For those who might wonder what abstract art is all about, abstract uses a visual language of form, colour and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Wilson has made his presence felt as an abstract artist known for his figurative sketches drawing inspiration from nature and day to day activities around us. He has drawn inspiration from none other than the legendary late M F Hussain, though his exposure to his work is quite recent. Soft spoken that he is, Wilson allows his art to speak rather than the other way round. Nonetheless, he says an artist should be able to defend his work when faced with criticism. Being born with a keen sense of colour and visual awareness he constantly keeps reinventing bold themes and tries out different colour combinations.
Born in Kayyar, in Kasargod district, 28 year old Wilson seems to have painting in his genes. His father was Peter D'Souza was a Carpenter and that must have fueled his sensibilities at a young age finding recourse in painting. He says he never realized he had any special talent until late in high school where his teachers realized he had good hand movements that resulted in good final products as drawings. While his interest in studies was quite pathetic as he showed little interest, he showed great interest in paintings.
Art for Career
Naturally he opted for graduating in Art from Mahalasa College of Visual Art, Mangalore, soon after his SSLC. Though in this coastal area there is a feeling regnant throughout that only conventional form of degree has value and status, (medicine and engineering topping the list) Wilson decided to listen to his heart than to go by the views of the general public. His father had died when he was in hardly 16 and his mother Juliana supported his decision to join art school and provided necessary financial help. She runs a ration shop at Kayyar and Wilson being her only child she decided to shower all her love and affection on him supporting him in his pursuit to be an artist. He also recalls the support given by his High school teachers and Parish Priest of Kayyar Fr Bonipas.
“Going to art school is quite expensive, almost like doing MBBS as we need to spend lot of money on the stationery and painting material required to learn art. Even the paints are quite expensive. It was my mother who gave me the required support and financed me all through the five years”, Wilson asserts. Wilson was quite conscious of the fact that there was fear lurking in his mother and also within him as to whether he will be able to make a career as an artist. Whether one can call it self-confidence or lack of gravitas that made him take art as career, is unclear. Considering that he dabbled in photography to the extent of even opening a studio in Kayyar last year which he closed down within a year, it looked as though he wasn’t quite sure of sticking on to art alone. That period of uncertainty is gone now and he looks quite serious about concentrating only on his paintings.
William Pais, Proprietor of Orchid Art Gallery, which keeps some of his paintings, says “Wilson has a very good future as an artist and is growing constantly. He has a unique style and is uninfluenced by other artists. He is a quick artist, bold with his strokes and can draw on any blank space. He is like a dual personality who completely transforms when he paints and the normal Wilson you talk or meet is different from the one you find when he works on his canvas”.
Flak for Nudity
An omnipresent aspect in Wilson paintings has been nudity especially the female form and there have been many who are animadvert about the portrayal of nudity in art. But criticism or praise will not alter his style, his sketches or the way he portrays his characters, says Wilson. “Nudity has been a part of my art and I use women as my major characters. We know flowers are beautiful and I equate flower to a woman and I respect them when I represent them in my sketches. Whenever we see something beautiful we compare it to a woman. I believe everything around us is nude and inside his mind a person is always naked but he pretends to be goody-goody. My art depicts this inner mind of a person”, he asserts. His soft-corner for women might be the upshot of the stellar role played by his mother in shaping his life and career. Being the only son, who had lost his father at a young age, it was his mother who nurtured him all these years and he has none other than her to bank upon for emotional support.
Wilson prefers the silence of the night and prefers to be alone when he paints. He says the final outcome of the painting depends on the mood of the creator. If he is happy or sad it gets reflected in the work accordingly. “Suppose a painter is in love or romance with a girl and if by chance this romance comes to a premature end that feeling of sadness will certainly come out in his paintings” says Wilson. At the time of creating a work of art, Wilson says, the thought of the commercial aspect doesn’t come into the picture. “I don’t do painting with an idea to sell. The final product of my work should satisfy me. That is most important. Other things are secondary”, he ripostes. Wilson’s works of art like “Kudla Kambla”, “The Last Supper” and “Cock Fight” are some of the works which have come in for lot of appreciation.
H M Pernal, Editor of Kittall.com and also a critic opines “abstract works of Wilson Kayyar are quite unique because of the intense and off-white colours he uses in his paintings. He is a new age abstract artist who always prefers bold themes. He has covered r contemporary themes like pub attack, moral policing, SEZ and traditional themes like Last Supper, Cock Fight, Kambala but with an entirely new perspective. Subjects apart, his paintings appeal to me for the intensity of the colours he uses”.
Solo Exhibition Soon
Wilson has a collection of over 75 paintings with him and is now toying with the idea of having his solo exhibition. He is used to group exhibitions but is yet to hold a solo exhibition, which may become a reality as Orchid Art Gallery is planning to hold his exhibition in April this year. In the “Chitra Santhe” exhibition held in Bangalore recently, 3 of his paintings were sold off, which is quite an achievement as many had failed even to open an account.
Though Mangalore is just waking up to appreciating art, Wilson has enough admirers for his work. Giselle Mehta has used one of the paintings of Wilson for the cover page of her book “Blossm Showers”. There are a few art lovers who order for his paintings directly, rather than waiting to pick them in exhibitions. It means that people are becoming aware of the uniqueness of his paintings. Surely Wilson has a long way to go and he is sure to become a name to reckon with in the art scene of the country.