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Art is a beautiful medium that helps us take the ordinary and create extraordinary works. It can change the way we perceive the world around us. There is very little which cannot be solved with some paint and a brush! Our artist in conversation today is someone who has created masterpieces. He is none other than Thusitha Godagedera, a humble artist with a passion for abstract work. We are excited to bring this conversation to you!

How long have you been painting?

I have been painting for almost 15 years now. I have been painting since I was a child. I studied art when I was at school as I had a passion for art. I mainly studied on my own and experimented with colors and styles.

Who are your greatest influencers?

My uncle is a Musician, he is the only person in my family who is involved in the creative arts. It was he who encouraged me and spoke to me about art exhibitions and got me interested in someday pursuing a career in art. I was only 15 or 16 years then. There is also Mr. Kaluarchchi, a talented artist from Moragolla, who is an acquaintance. I observed his paintings and learned from him as well. So I can say that they influenced me greatly into becoming the artist I am today.

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

Yes, I studied art for almost 4 years at the Vibhavi Fine Arts Academy in Pita Kotte. I mainly studied the various uses of colors, experimenting with watercolors, acrylics, and life drawings. I also learned a great deal on my own, so I am a product of both formal education and self-learning.

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

I am an Abstract artist by profession. I find this style of painting very interesting as the viewer is allowed to interpret a painting on their own, rather than just accepting a painting for what it is. There is a deeper connection with the painting depending on the emotions, and thinking patterns of each individual who views my art. For example, in Abstract art, I would paint a beautiful landscape in abstract shapes and colors. The reason I prefer this style of painting is that there is a deeper meaning to paint than what one sees on the surface.

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

Whenever there is free time, I use it to travel to the villages, play the guitar and relax my mind. I love to visit abandoned villages, and buildings and to be amongst the trees in the jungle. I often create sketches of the locations I visit as it helps me to paint landscape art through abstract art. My mind relaxes when I travel or play music and this helps me to paint freely. I draw so much from nature; it is such an amazing phenomenon.

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?

First of all, I create a sketch of the piece I wish to create. Next, I work on matching colors. I use watercolors or acrylics for this purpose. I always make it a point to keep the sketch I create as sometimes I am required to paint a few copies of the same piece. I use it as a reference for the paintings I create. I would say it takes me about 1 week to complete a 3 x 3 piece.

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?

Yes, I always try to find out emerging techniques and styles on the internet. Art is a field that is constantly changing and It is necessary for me as an artist to keep myself updated. I explore other new textures other artists have mentioned and also visit art exhibitions to see what others have created. Also, if a senior artist, either in Sri Lanka or overseas has created a piece of art using new styles, I try to study and experiment with their work.

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 have hosted many exhibitions and participated in quite a few as well. My work is currently on display at certain local hotels and bureaus. I have had people, locals and foreigners visit my home as they have taken a liking to my work. My art has also been purchased by many. Due to all of the above reasons, I think I crossed over to becoming an exceptionally good painter a few years ago. I specialize in creating landscape art in an abstract style.

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?

As an artist, we must have goals, they keep us moving forward and focuses. I have done many exhibitions locally, alongside international artists. My goal this year is to host an exhibition in Dubai. I want my paintings to take a message across to society and that is what I am working on these days.

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

I have been working with Aartzy for close to a year. I have been able to exhibit most of my paintings and I have been able to take my work overseas for the world to explore my art. Having an online platform is very important during this time and I am truly grateful to Janaka and his team for helping us, Sri Lankan artists.

Manesha Pieris

Thusitha's entire collection can be viewed through HERE.