Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shine on you crazy diamond

Bangalore: With gleaming eyes and a sprightly smile, C Triveni Vinod welcomes us with a firm handshake into her colourful and spanking clean office. Colourful because her paintings adorn the walls, lean on the massive glass window and nudge out every square inch of the wall by the door.

We're seated on the third floor of her carpeted office at the Touchstone building of
C Krishnaiah Chetty & Sons, where the multi-talented daughter-in-law of the Chetty jewellers family gives a peek into her art, and shares her views on creativity and life.

"Before that, tell me something about yourself," her inquisitive eyes lighten up brushing aside our first questions. "People," she says, "have stories to tell. We can learn so much by just listening to them. I'm a people person. I love meeting new people. It inspires all my work."

What also inspires Vinod, who hails from Shimoga, is the raw beauty of natural gemstones and colourful stones shining through a carefully crafted piece of jewellery.

Look closely enough and in her artwork are gems and precious stones twinkling through the rich, bold brushstrokes. Not too overpowering to take away from the art itself, but just enough to add a dash of brilliance and uniqueness to the work. Malachite, turquoise, agate, amethyst, lapis lazuli, diamonds and Japan pearls are some of the precious gems she works with.

Of the over 100 paintings and the 15 art shows in and out of India, Vinod has conceptualised several series; including the 'five elements of nature', '12 gems of the year', 'identity' and 'worshipping around the world'.

She has been invited to the US and France, and in India, by the Uttaranchal governor, for sell-out shows. All earnings from her art go to charity, her pet cause being "senior citizens' rights". "This is my way of giving back to society. It's charity work, so I don't have a gallery," she says.

At one of her latest art shows at a star hotel recently, Vinod invited 18-year-old violinist Aneesh Vidyashankar to give a recital. "I want to give art patrons a unique blend of art and live music," she says. Vidyashankar, young and raring to experiment with different genres of music, was game. "I walked around the hall, took in the energy from the paintings and played what I thought went with the mood and ambience," he says. Vinod explains that she was testing the waters to see how the audience takes to the idea. "And it worked amazingly," she says, and now wants Vidyashankar to play at her art shows.

Vinod is no novice to music herself having learnt to play the veena. She also dabbled in ink and nib painting for a few years. "When I got married and moved to Bangalore, my mother-in-law encouraged me to continue to play the veena and paint," she says. But family responsibilities took priority. "When my sons turned eight and 10 years, I started to play the veena again. And I began painting about six years ago," says this 44-year-old director of C Krishnaiah Chetty & Sons.

Sunday, February 1, 2009