KOCHI: Sumesh Bala’s first canvas was the wall of his house. At 19, he had just been initiated into the world of art and he turned his house into an art studio. No wall was spared. Understandably, it didn’t go down well with his mother, who let her disapproval be known in the strongest of manners. But nothing stopped Sumesh, who was utterly consumed with art. Now, at the very young age of 28, Sumesh has established himself in the art milieu with his towering wall artworks and experimentations.
Sumesh was always captivated by art. But he learned art only in his late teens. “That was mural art and I would try it on the house walls. When the census people came home, my mother showed them my work and they suggested that I be sent to learn art,” Sumesh recalls. And that was the start, as he came all the way from his home place in Kannur to Thiruvananthapuram to learn art from the Fine Arts College. And that changed everything.
Mixed media is his forte. Keen on experimenting with mediums, Sumesh would concoct paintings using acrylic and clay while studying. And it earned ire from several quarters. “At that time clay wasn’t used much and I was told we shouldn’t experiment like that,” he says. But it was this mixed medium artwork that gained him recognition, with Sumesh being selected for an exhibition in South Korea, the sole artist from Kerala that year.
Even while studying, Sumesh would take up works and for the past seven years, he has been restyling the walls of homes into elegant works of art. Mural art, doodle art, illustrations, you name it and Sumesh will craft them, turning living spaces into works of art. “The demand is mostly for mural art and illustrations,” he says. The largest canvas he has crafted is a 11 feet high and 10 feet wide mural of Krishna. It took 11 days to complete the artwork. Many homes now boast of the wall arts that Sumesh has crafted. “The people who approach me are those who are inspired and highly passionate about getting the paintings done in their homes. Once they give an idea, I develop it and show them the drawings. The work could take days or could take just hours. It is dependent on the type of painting and work involved,” he says. Now he has taken a bunch of artists under his wings and they assist him in the wall art.
Although wall art is making him famous with many restaurants, establishments and individuals seeking the artist to craft art in their living spaces, his ultimate dream is to hold exhibitions outside India. “Along with this, I am working on my paintings. Now I am experimenting with mixed media, with acrylic and clay,” he says. For Sumesh, art is everything. “My paintings are a reflection of my experiences. I think I was born just for this,” he adds.
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