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Friday, August 28, 2015

Making Art from Scrap

By Neehar Mishra
Photography: Courtesy the artist

dancing mermaid - collage by artist ashok kumar varma
Dancing Mermaid

Kolkata-based artist Ashok Kumar Varma gives the not-so-popular art of collage-making a new raison d’ĂȘtre, which goes far beyond mere cutting and pasting... 

Combining what is otherwise discarded in a manner so precise that the final product creates an illusion of smoothness and fluidity, Ashok Kumar Varma lends an all new vocabulary to art of collages.

director's mind - collage by artist ashok kumar varma
Director's Mind
collages by artist ashok kumar varma
The Kite                                                                                                                                                    Kolkata Mobile

At first glance, his works may appear like another painting; but, a closer look reveals that he is not your run-of-the-mill artist. Labouring tirelessly over every detail for over two decades, the mechanical-engineer-turned-artist has dedicated his life to assembling bits of paper gathered from scrap shops in such a seamless manner that when put together, they appear to be printed for that very work of art.

face in the crowd - collage by artist ashok kumar varma
Face in the crowd

His notable mention in the Limca Book of Records for “creating collages so intricately designed that they look like oil or mixed-media paintings, using pieces of paper that are sometimes as small as two milimetres in size,” is evidence that there is no defined way of characterising his art.

kali - collage by artist ashok kumar varma
Kali

Bold and unrestrained, the elements in his collages range from a mellow medley to a vibrant motley of colours, shapes and figures. While the themes of his works draw from his own understanding of human relations, emotions, fantasy and mythology, the treatment is surrealistic, almost psychedelic. Any form of ink or paint has absolutely no place here; even his signature is made from paper-bits.

collage by artist ashok kumar varma
Dali: Hats off
collages by artist ashok kumar varma
Lipstick                                                                                                                                                     Folks in love

Talking about the commercial aspect and the undervaluation of the craft, Varma tells us how, in 2013, Ripley’s Believe It or Not wanted to purchase one of his works for their museum, but the deal fell through because of the extremely low price that they were offering to pay.

collage artist ashok kumar varma
Artist Ashok Kumar Varma

The artist continues in his quest with digital collages too, the medium as heady and engaging as the allure of his works.

1 comment :

  1. Deepen Soni, Interior Designer at Design ForumDecember 10, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    Superb!!

    ReplyDelete

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