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Our artist in conversation today is none other than Jayantha Silva, a renowned realist artist from Sri Lanka who has created some of the most beautiful Sri Lankan smiles! Observing his collection is mesmerizing and we are thrilled to bring his interview to you today!

How long have you been painting?

I have been an artist since my childhood. No one in my family is an artist or has any skill to paint. I believe I had a talent since my school days which was nurtured. In 1969, I took part in a competition and won 3 places. At the time, Mudliyar Amarasekera was one of the famous artists, he offered me a scholarship at his art school, but I did not take it as I thought I don't need to learn art. I regretted it much later on.

Who are your greatest influences?

I am not influenced by anybody in particular. However, I very much admire the work done by Leonardo Da Vinci and at times observe his paintings.

Did you have a formal education in art and painting or are you self-taught?

I am 100 % self - taught. As I mentioned before, I missed an opportunity to formally learn art.

Do you have a particular style? How did you become so passionate this particular style?

My style is realistic art. I became passionate about this style, as this is what I was good at since my childhood. I also draw portraits and figurative.

What are your other passions other than art? How have these passions contributed for you to become the artist you are today?

My other passion other than art and painting is singing. I listen to music, and I watch YouTube music programs while I am at work. Music helps calm myself and inspires me to create some wonderful pieces of art. If you look at my collection, you will be able to see the influence of music.

Could you walk us through your process? Percentage wise, how much time do you spend preparing for the painting and how much time on the actual painting itself? Is preparation an important part of your process?

Preparation is not that important for me as my imagination very often has created the outcome in my mind. I have a photographic memory, so if I observe a painting once, I am able to recreate it perfectly on canvas. There are occasions where I study a picture prior to beginning a painting, but most often it is through memory. At times I draw a faint sketch, I am able to imagine the finished product even before I begin painting, it may sound peculiar, but that is who I am. Only preparation I do is when I have to study the details of the subject I hope to draw.

Are you engaged in new artistic adventures? How is artistic exploration important to you as an artist and to your process? How do you then decide what to incorporate into your style and what to leave as pure fun?

I don't plan my art unless when I copy. Very often I decide what to create on paper or canvas is 'spur of the moment'.

Was there a particular moment where you could tell that your skills had just crossed over into being an exceptionally good painter instead of a pretty good painter? What did you do to make that leap?

I was a pretty good painter in my younger days. I gave up the idea of being an artist the time I left school as I thought there was no future for artists, financially. So I started my career in commercial art in Advertising. Twenty years later, after I established my own company I one day thought of trying my hand on my childhood love ~ Art. I was very lucky to realize the artist in me had stuck on inside me all that time and I was even better. So, the very first artwork of mine after an interval of twenty years was exceptional. And the best part is that I managed to make a sale out of the very first painting which motivated me to keep on working.

Over time, the Lighthouse Hotel in Galle commissioned me and invited me to have an exhibition at their hotel. The gallery was created specifically for me. The exhibition ran for 3 months. As a result, I was awarded a prestigious commission by the Sri Lanka tea board to create a 6 x 11' reception back which was to be gifted to the Airport and Aviation office in Katunayake. So, I believe my work is exceptionally good, as it has been recognized.

How do you push yourself? Do you set goals for yourself? And if so, what are those goals? Do you think setting goals is important for an artist in his/her artistic journey? If so, why?

My goal as an artist is to become the best. And I think this is the best goal anyone can have.

How is your experience working with Aartzy? Do you think it's a useful platform for artists?

Yes, I think this is a very useful platform for us artists. Aartzy was introduced to me at a time when there wasn't much overseas representation for local artists. Janaka and his team has helped bridge that gap and taken our work overseas.

His entire collection can be viewed HERE.

Manesha Pieris (2022)

06/22/2022