- Rajan Seth
taking it back to the beginning.
Updated: May 30, 2020
Find out more about how I got into abstract painting, the artists that inspire me, and where it all started.
There comes a time in everyone's school life when you have to decide what you actually want to do with your life. Many of us didn't know then (and still don't know now!) but making the all important decision on which subjects to choose to study for my A-levels was fairly simple for me. A relatively unacademic student, and painting since the age of 14, it was a pretty easy decision to follow my creative passion and study art, despite the customary resistance from the parents.
I would eagerly look forward not only to my art classes but spending time in the studio after school hours, where I would have all the tools available for me to experiment and try new things. There was no limit to what I could do, nor time restriction, and I used to spend hours upon hours after school practicing new painting techniques. Looking back, I was exceptionally lucky to have all the resources available at my disposal and to use so freely.
During my studies at school, I was inspired by the works of abstract artists Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, whose use of colour was eye-catching and meaningful. There was something about this abstract expressionism that portrayed more than just colour, and I was interested in learning about the emotional connection the artists had with their work. It was that emotional connection, as oppose to the colour palette's of their work that I would take forward and implement in my work.
It was not only abstract artists that I drew inspiration from, the techniques of the famous painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer and Banksy regularly arise in my work. Kiefer frequently used raw materials such as ash and straw in his pieces, and Banksy, whose use of spray paint as a media and mesmerising stencils were so unique and intriguing.
One project I thoroughly enjoyed working on was the study of nature through water reflection. As part of this work, I would find small puddles in a whole host of places and take pictures of the images they reflected.
I was intrigued by how something that is so common to our everyday world could present an object or material from a different point of view. This is no better illustrated when I came across a big puddle which reflected an image of an elegant colourful stained glass window on a church. The irony was that stained glass windows were primarily introduced to beautify religious settings and now I was seeing this beauty through something on the floor in the road.
It was this photography project that really inspired me to start experimenting with materials that could reflect on canvas, and I began to incorporate this into my work, challenging perspectives and vision with angles and reflection. So if you ever wondered why I have an obsession with metallics in my abstract art, it was this influence that shaped my future outlook.
In summary, it is an amalgamation of the artists above and the findings from my projects and studies that have led me to develop my technique and style today. This continues to evolve and develop over time, and there is no right or wrong with abstract painting, it is about documenting your experiences and thoughts in the way that feels right.
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