“My compositions are derived from my observations and experiences in everyday life and objects around me. I have always been fascinated by simple mundane things, various shapes, forms, textures, and early architecture. I love bringing these objects to my canvas to elevate them from the mundane, into something magnificent. These still life compositions are not traditionally arranged for a drawing or painting, rather they tell stories of lives lived and take us back in time and moments. My goal is to render the morphology of objects on canvas in such a meticulous manner that they manifest the real ones. I want people to experience the objects and to let the silent music and sounds of these objects tickle our personal memories of association. I consider my work as a documentation of our cultural heritage,” says artist Divya Chinni.
For artist Divya, the process of painting involves taking visual notes through photography, rough sketches in her sketchbook, and experiments with composition of these documented elements as per her visual imagery to create a unique aesthetic appeal. The final outcome of her work on canvas is with acrylic as her main medium. She uses acrylic paints primarily as a medium. She feels it is a flexible medium to get the desired effects and in certain instances her work also expands into other mediums such as graphite, charcoal, woodcut. Most of the details Divya adds in the compositions are from her own memories. She uses realistic techniques, adds light and shadows, intricate details in the compositions that create the illusion of movement, depth and mood to allow the viewer to imagine the work and experience in a manner where they almost live and feel the moment.
What’s your artistic background?
I am from Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. I have done my post–graduation in fine arts at Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.
What role does the artist have in society?
Art exists everywhere in our life. Artists can inspire people and make the world more pleasurable.
What art do you most identify with?
I most specifically identify with hyper realistic, still life paintings.
What themes do you pursue?
My compositions are derived from my observations and experiences in everyday life and objects around me. I have always been fascinated by simple mundane things, various shapes, forms, textures, and early architecture. I love bringing these objects to my canvas to elevate them from the mundane, into something magnificent. These still life compositions are not traditionally arranged for a drawing or painting, rather they tell stories of lives lived and take us back in time and moments.
What’s your favourite artwork?
I am a fan of many artists and artworks. I admire ‘Amrita Sher-Gil’ and ‘Vincent Van Gogh’ the most. However, my all-time favourite works are ‘Self Portrait’, ‘Brahmacharis’ by Amrita Sher-Gil, and ‘Potato Eaters’ by Van Gogh.
Describe a real life situation that inspired you?
Since childhood, I used to doodle on walls and papers, even in my masters I used to doodle on question papers. I actively participate in all art activities including drawings on boards and decorations in classrooms. I used to draw science diagrams in my lab manuals and drawings, paintings in art class. Everyone appreciated my art and encouraged me to do more those days. My art teacher told me once about a painting of an apple that was so realistic and detailed, and how people are enjoying it and appreciate it. As a child, those words were very inspiring to me to move further towards art. I started observing artworks and collecting pictures. I used to participate in art competitions locally and visit art exhibitions in my city. I was inspired by seeing all other artists’ works and have collected many paintings from newspapers, magazines, and pasted them in two books. I observe every painting in that book regularly and try to copy the same. At that time there was no access to the mobile or internet. That book was the only source for my practice and the best inspiration to develop an interest in art.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
My childhood dream of being a teacher came true when I taught art and craft in an international school in Visakhapatnam for two years after my bachelors in fine arts. That was the time I decided to study further and learn more about painting, become a full-time practicing artist, and I received masters in 2018 from Andhra University.
Art is my strength and it gives me an immense joy. The whole process of creating art is a therapy that heals my soul and gives calmness to my mind. The best thing that has happened in my life is that I have entered the art world unknowingly without any plans.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I have had a very good response from viewers and people tell me that my paintings make them feel nostalgic and recall their memories. I feel so happy when people connect to my work and enjoy them as much as I do.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
I am always inspired by the rich cultural diversity of India. I am a vegetarian and love a variety of food in Indian cuisine. Music is a part of an artist’s life. I listen to different types of music when I work.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
An artist always connects with his/her inner self and communicates with their soul. There is no question of being consumed with loneliness. I love being alone in my studio. It allows me to enjoy the process to the fullest.
What do you dislike about the art world?
There is nothing to dislike in the art world, it is so beautiful and I want to explore.
What do you dislike about your work?
I enjoy the whole process of creating artworks, so I dislike nothing.
What do you like about your work?
I like every work because I create all works with same love and passion. The most interesting part about my work is the minute details involved in my compositions.
Should art be funded?
Definitely. It allows artists to think and work beyond the boundaries.
It is very difficult for young and emerging artists to practice and make a living without any funds.
What is your dream project?
My dream project is to build my own art studio and design it with natural and traditional elements with greenery all around.
Name three artists you would like to be compared to.
Every artist has their own style and thought process. I want to be original.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
Always my art studio which is surrounded with so much art material.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Keep working and be the best version of yourself.
I am planning for a solo show in the near future.