Our present day society, is a place which doesn't pause for anyone. Over the years of evolving to be a greater people, we have lost our sense of humanity and have become a part of a rat race in search of a happiness defined by society? Amidst this commotion, an Artist finds inspiration to bring forth some of the most vibrant pieces of art to life. He takes the disorders, the pain and constant battle within society to portray what is right and wrong and paints it on a canvas. Our Artist in conversation today is the talented Kuntal Barai from Bangladesh and we are privileged to share this interview.
How long have you been painting?
I began painting about 10 years ago. It was somewhat an unexpected turn in my life. It began as a hobby once I finished my schooling years and I slowly learnt that I am able to create art and the rest is the unfolding of a beautiful journey? J.
Who are your greatest influencers?
I draw from various artists and creators around the world. Bangladeshi artists S.M Sultan, Kamarul Hasan, Joynul Abedin, Shahabuddin Ahmet & amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; Mustafa Zaman to name a few, Indian, European and Contemporary Artists as well. My biggest inspiration comes from nature and the life around me.
Did you have a formal education on art and painting or are self-taught?
Yes, I have formal education on art. I studied for my Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Fine Arts, both at the University of development alternative in Dhaka Bangladesh. I think since I don't come from an artistic background, this education helped me broaden my understanding of Art and its spheres.
Do you have a particular style? How did you become so passionate of this style?
I am a visual artist; my creations range from paintings, sculptors to installations. I love drawing and my most preferred medium to use is charcoal which helps to elaborate on the many lines and layers of a piece. I believe I became passionate of this style as I am able to express myself to an audience. My words are spoken through the art I create.
What are other passions other than art? How have these passions contributed for you to become the artist you are today?
I am an ardent traveler and the present Covid-19 situation has not helped me much but I am looking forward to beginning these adventures again. I love to visit the hill country, the forest and rural villages. I draw so much from observing these beautiful landscapes and I photograph them which is my other passion. I believe these adventures help me to broaden my views of the world, I also meet different people, mingle with different cultures as well. Being a visual artist, I gather beautiful moments from each trip and later on pour it out on a canvas. Travelling is also a great stress reliever!
Could you walk us through the 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 very important for me, be it an installation or a painting. The results are visible in the final product. I spend 70 % of my time in my work and every piece of art has a process of its own. My mind needs to be cleared out so that I can think, focus and given my 100 % to the work I am doing.
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 you leave as pure fun?
An artist needs to have new ideas all the time. If not, I don't think he or she will be able to reach their potential. Looking at it from this perspective, I am always on the lookout for adventure. I want to create something or give something to people where they will remember me. In that sense, I always try to explore, go beyond my capacity and learn new techniques of presenting a piece to an audience.
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 make that leap?
To be honest, I cannot answer this question as I cannot be the judge of my work. I leave it up to my audience to decide how good I am. But I know I always give 100 % to every piece. I must that I wouldn't have been able to come this far if my work was not up to standard. My self-satisfaction is most important and I am happy with who I have become and where I am heading. J.
How do you push yourself? Do you set goals for yourself? And if so, what are the goals? Do you think setting goals is important for an artist in his/her artistic journey? If so why?
As you rightly asked, I have goals for myself. The pandemic has brought a few setbacks and delayed my plans for this year but I am hoping things will turn around. My plans for the next few months is to have a solo art exhibition and another overseas hopefully towards June. So right now I am working on these projects. Goals keep us going, helps us focus and basically keeps us going. J.
How is your experience working with Aartzy? Do you think it is a useful planform for artists?
I met Janaka - the Director of Aartzy about 1.5 years ago, where he invited me to work with him. Aartzy has helped me to take my work overseas and It is a beautiful medium through which I can convey my work to people. I think this is a very important platform and I am truly inspired and privileged to work with Janaka and his team.
All of Kuntal's work can be explored and purchased through https://www.aartzy.com/artist/kuntal-barai
Manesha Pieris (2021)