Artist’s Statement

I am artist born and raised in the lush landscape of northeast India now living in the urban mega polis of Mumbai. Like millions of others life for me in Mumbai is struggle for survival. I am a simple man. I use my artwork to live. I paint to support my family and myself. For me art is not just an indulgence, but work and vocation. I paint to live and survive.

I paint the environment in which I live – my family, my home and my neighborhood. I am inspired by objects and incidents in movement of daily life – such as washing face with water or the act of bathing, a hair cut in a saloon, different activities of animals like goats and street dogs, hawkers selling objects in the streets, a newspaper vendor, a shopkeeper’s kiosk and sometime the traditional religious occasions attract me to paint. For me it is important to make the drama of daily life into an epic moment. I like the spectacle of the daily. And I want to make this spectacle into an epic.

The idea for splash series of paintings emerged when my four-year-old son had an eye infection. We had to splash water into his eyes three times a day to keep his eye clean from dirt and germs. I was fascinated by the behavior of the water – how it changed shape and size and became wild before it fell down. I was fascinated with water and its ability to detoxify. And therefore I decide to re-create this drama on the canvas.

I choose photorealism as my mode of representation, because I was interested in showing that which cannot be seen with bare eyes. I wanted to show what water does at the moment of splash. The first painting I did was to use my wife as a model and take a photograph of her as she splashed her face. I took this photograph with very high shutter speed to that the drops of water freeze in mid air. I was interested in that the moment of contact. As I developed this idea I used my son, and finally myself as the model of my work. In a sense I wanted the water to detoxify all of us.

I use the technique of drawing directly onto the canvas using the traditional grid method. Sometimes I project the image directly on the canvas. I then fill the base with acrylic colors and finish it in oil. I am a realist impressionist and I want to meticulously portray even the tiniest details with smudging, blurring and sometime with bold autonomous brushstroke technique.

Nanda Das