There are a few artists out there who can create the mystical from the natural...bringing them together in great harmony and creating the most surreal paintings. Our artist this month is Kasun Wickramasinghe, a teacher and an artist who has brought new life to the world of art. We are excited to present this interview to you!
How long have you been painting?
I started painting when I was in grade 8, so since 1998/2000. It all began when I attended an art class and participated in a competition which I won. I the realized that I had some natural talent and decided to pursue it further. No one in my family is in to creative arts but they supported my choice.
Who are your biggest influences?
I follow the works of Paul Klee, Gustav Klimt and Jackson Pollock. I am inspired by the texture of the art they create and have learnt much from them.
Did you have a formal education on art and painting or are self-taught?
Yes, I have formal education, I studied at the University of visual and performing arts and received a 1st class degree and completed Bachelor of Visual Arts. I have been working as a visiting lecturer at the same University for 6 + years.
Do you have a particular style? How did you become so passionate about this particular style?
I tried different styles of abstract art by looking at various artists and paintings but I felt something was missing. I try to explore social issues and bring them to light. I played with geometric lines, figurative art and color to create a unique style named Abstract Contemporary Geometric art. When painting a flower, for example, I look at the lines which create this, and go in to detail. I enjoy this style and I believe the freedom for my imagination to run free!
What are your other passions other than art? How have these passions contributed for you to become the artist you are today?
I love photography and also graphic art. These are my passions and they help me in creating art. I photograph nature and abstract detail through them.
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?
My imagination is my sketch, everything is stored there. I don't draw it separately. I often look at the photographs I have taken to gather details for the paintings. I observe the details, the textures and use the figurative styles in my creations. It can take 4 to 5 days or 2 to 3 weeks to finish a piece depending on the size of canvas and the detail on the painting. I use bright colors and geometric forms to create a mythical expression.
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?
Art is an ever evolving form of expression. And it changes every day, something new is found or created in the world of art and every artist should have their own style. I learn new styles and try to incorporate them in to my work but unless I am 100 % content, I will not pursue it. Everyone has their own visual language and I choose what I add on. But apart from that, understanding or knowing the different styles, paintings, mediums, is always encouraged as we should go beyond our borders and explore what is out there.
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?
I used to and still practice almost every day, I believe this has helped me improve my skills and create finer work. I also participate in competitions and art sales, and share my work on social media. Through these platforms, when people purchase or admire my work I know I have come far from where I began. I cannot say I am an exceptional painter has there are many who are talented.
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?
I have goals for myself, to improve my skills and knowledge, to take my work global and to teach which I am now involved in actively. The reason I paint it because of my passion for art. And that is my biggest drive. I don't do this because someone tells me to or wants me to paint, I do it because of my love for art which is much stronger than an outside influence.
How is your experience working with Aartzy? Do you think it is a useful platform for artists?
I have been working with Janaka for about 3 years now. His platform is really useful in giving us, Sri Lankans a chance to take our work global. At a time when our art market needs a boost, a platform like Aartzy is truly a blessing. Janaka has been very helpful and I am glad to be a part of this initiative.
Kasun's entire portfolio can be viewed from https://www.aartzy.com/artist/kasun-wickramasinghe and Aartzy has launched a promotional period for Kasun which will be valid till 31st January 2022.
Manesha Peiris (2021)