Editor Meiporul Art Magazine






Outside the mainstream

Mixing software and programming

Languages to create line,colour,

Texture,light and space,N Srinivasan

Breakes all the rules. 

Anjali Sircar

Indian Express   February, 01.2004


N.Srinivasan’s paintings defy certain canons of contemporary art, their painstakingly semi-realistic execution is anomalous in a gestural age. The subject they treat – the village in which he was born, the farmers, their celebration of the land all through the year, festivals and temples – may strike some as quaint. Yet Srinivasan’s aesthetic is not that of the native or the neo primitive artist. Just where do these renderings of life and ritual fit in? What sort of art are they?


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Born in 1972 in a small Thanjavur village called Rajamannarkudi, he grew up with an immense feeling for art. In every family in the village there was a painter who painted either the walls of houses or a temple in beautiful vegetable colors. Others produced terracotta pottery or sculpture. To the young boy, the entire village appeared like an art form. He spent time with the farmers, learnt the practice of vegetable dyes and developed visions of painting Indian mythological figures and designs.


                    By the early 90’s his work began to mature, and dealt with the harmony of life expressed by the village culture he was drawn to. He joined the madras college of arts and crafts in1991 to do a five-year integrated course in painting. At the end of an excellent academic training, he returned to Thanjavur where the main character in his paintings became the village farmer.

Be it oils on canvas, watercolors on paper or pen and ink drawings, the villager dominated his creativity. He also painted from nature – birds, animals and vegetation – and earned the rare privilege of sitting inside a temple and painting.


In 1998, Srinivasan switched over to the computer to create his works of art. He never attended a computer course but spent time with highly qualified professionals in the field who talked to him about “COMPUTER ENABLED PROFESSIONS”. Curious about this expression, he plunged into research. At one of the lectures he attended, he was told that after the 20th century, any profession could be converted to a “ Computer Enabled Profession”, Srinivasan was impressed with the idea that with the computer, any professional could claimed the leader of success both nationally and internationally.


 He realized that technical and formal means were deliberate – what was innovative was the mind-set and pictorial devices beyond the mandated form. The artist discontinued painting manually and got down to understanding the computer as a machine that would help him reach the height of creativity. After dissecting the fastest-processing machine and its hardware, he mastered the software. This familiarized him with the technicalities of ink cartridge, laser printers, and print rollers. His aim was to work directly on the computer, not just draw, scan and transfer the image.


                    Soon he began mixing various software and programming languages to create line, color, texture, light and space. To form a line took four to five hours, to create a color took the mixing of ten to fifteen software and to finish one painting took 400 hours. After months of experimentation, whatever he visualized as a painter became a piece of art on the printer.   


                                  Commenting on his current level of creativity, he says, “My Creativity is endless because I can produce millions and millions of colors in my works of art. But my theme remains my village and the main player in my work is the Thanjavur farmer. My art emanates from my land and after encompassing the globe, all its technological development, professional and technical sagacity, returns and rests there. Ihave spent thirty long years studying my village and its people, their traditions, religion and happiness in a simple life, and these are all reflected in my work.”


While he works with the most modern equipment, Srinivasan’s emotions and feelings bring life to his pictures. At the same time, his work is so innovative that even a professional will not be able to analyze the process of creation.

None of these sensibilities is central to the spirit of contemporary art and that is one reason why Srinivasan’s work remains outside the main stream. If such an observation sounds confounding, it also hints at the highest artistic accolade which happens to coincide with the characteristic of Srinivasan’s  work -  defance of canon and time.


N.Srinivasan has exhibited all over India, participated in national level workshops and is slated to have an early show of his new works in Chennai.