An Indian Watercolour Artist
The Interview : Kangkan Das
(The Wise Owl, an international Literary & Art E-magazine talks to Kangkan Das)
The Wise Owl talks to Kangkan Das, a gifted, self-taught, watercolour artist from Tinsukia, Assam (India). “Colours have always fascinated the creative space of mind,” says Das who has participated in several exhibitions in prestigious galleries in India, including the International Exhibition, IWAS, India (2018), National Exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai (2017), National Exhibition at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata, West Bengal (India) and the International Exhibition, IWS, Shillong (2019).
Das has been honoured with various awards for his artworks including Best Painting Award amongst 50 in GAWA International Watercolor Online Contest (2018), Judges Choice Award for Technical Excellence in Composition in GAWA International Watercolor Online Contest (2019), Silver medal in National level art competition, Silchar Assam (2016).
Hi Kangkan. Thank you for talking to The Wise Owl.
TWO: For the benefit of the readers please tell us what made you gravitate towards painting. Who or what were the creative influences in your life that inspired and encouraged you to pick up the brush to paint.
KD: The beauty and colours of Nature have always been my biggest inspiration. If observed closely, Nature offers immense beauty and vibrancy. My desire to capture that charm is what draws me to painting because that is the best possible way for me to document it all.
TWO: You are a watercolour artist. Watercolours are a difficult medium to control. What attracted you to watercolours and how did you learn to wield control over this medium?
KD: Not difficult but rather I would call it a very intense medium. The purity, transparency and impressionism that watercolour holds fascinates me the most. Practising the medium diligently over the years has taught me that you cannot be one-on-one with watercolour if you want to command and dominate it. Watercolour is a medium beyond control. One can just get swayed by it.
TWO: Nature is the main theme of your watercolours. What inspires you to recreate nature in your artworks?
KD: A very unique aspect of nature is its ability to adapt and evolve. The aesthetic and emotional appeal of nature is just ineffable. My longing to record the vast array of colours, textures, shapes and patterns is why I recreate nature in my artworks.
TWO: I was looking at your gallery of artworks. I notice that apart from the landscapes, you have done some beautiful urban-themed works. I especially loved ‘abandoned’, ‘kd1’, ’kd5’ etc. Tell our readers a little about the creative process behind these works.
KD: I’ve only recently developed an interest in this subject. The main reason as to why I’ve started exploring uncharted waters is to expand my horizons and deepen my knowledge of the medium of watercolour. Practising and working diligently on this theme helps me understand new ways to study the existing tools like light and shade, texture, proportions, perspective etc and use them in creative ways. Also, chaos is the natural state of the universe and it is relatively easy to portray plain and organised surroundings on a canvas than the chaotic and abandoned frame, thus giving me the space to work on something more in depth.
TWO: You are a self-taught artist. Who are the artists (traditional or contemporary) who influenced your work or from whom you imbibed your technique of painting?
KD: There a lot of painters who have helped me discover my own style of painting. Arthur Streeton, John Singer Sargent,NamchaiSaensupha being few of them. In fact any and every painter, small or large, is an inspiration, as everybody has a unique perspective of things and of representing their perception of the world through Art.
TWO: The life of an artist is tough as he/she has to wrestle with finances and also survive in the commercial and competitive world of Art. What are the challenges you have faced as an artist?
KD: I feel that artists are still very undervalued. Lots of people don’t understand the value of a painting which includes not only the cost incurred on account of the canvas and the colours but also the creator’s hard work and creativity. I have received a lot of criticism as buyers of artwork feel I have overpriced my work. But it takes me days to think about the subject of my painting and then executing my idea on a canvas. At times, the finished canvas does not meet my expectations, so I strive to re-work it till I am satisfied by the end-product. Painters are more or less freelancers. We don’t have employers who would pay us on a regular basis and without regular exhibitions and workshops, it is very difficult to survive in the market. Just fame doesn’t help and there have been days during and after covid when even buying a canvas was a major financial decision.
TWO: What quick tips can you give budding watercolour artists?
KD: The things that I would recommend the budding artists would be to waste a lot of colours and paper, work unplanned and never start a painting with a serious mindset of making a masterpiece because masterpieces cannot be planned. A painting turns out to be a masterpiece only when the painter works with an unchained mind and puts his/her soul into it.
Thank you Kangkan, for taking time out to talk to The Wise Owl. We wish you the best in all your creative pursuits and hope your passion for Art grows by leaps and bounds.