Action Fantastic: 7 Indian Artists with Rockstar-like Live Acts

From speed painting to sand art to painting for poetry or dance to live painting to trance painting to turning any name into a beautiful Ganeshas, here are 7 Indian artists who have transformed the private act of painting into a very public form of performance art. Get ready to get wowed.

One of the greatest painters that ever lived, Pablo Picasso, near the end of his life, was being interviewed by a journalist. When their conversation was all but over, the journalist asked the great man if he could draw a quick sketch to keep as a memento. Picasso duly took his pen and knocked out a simple little drawing.

‘You do realise’, said the journalist, ‘that this has taken you a few seconds to produce and I could now sell it for tens of thousands of pounds’. ‘That drawing did not take me seconds to produce’, the artist replied. ‘It took me eighty years’.

Watching someone (even Picasso) paint something for eighty years might be a little taxing. On the other hand, watching these painters in action is absolutely riveting.

From speed painting to sand art to painting for poetry or dance to live painting to trance painting to turning any name into a beautiful Ganeshas, here are 7 Indian artists who have transformed the private act of painting into a very public form of performance art. Get ready to get wowed.


1. Vilas Nayak

Vilas is a self-taught artist from India who started painting at the age of 3. He worked in Bangalore for about 6 years as a human resources officer before quitting his lucrative corporate job in 2011 to pursue his passion for art. Finalist of India’s Got Talent Season 3, he is currently one of the most sought after speed painting artist in the world. His performance on Asia’s Got Talent on AXN (watch the video below) will surely blow your mind.

To know more about Vilas, visit his site and follow him on Facebook.


2. Rahul Arya

Rahul is an internationally-acclaimed Sand Artist from India. Seen on over seven TV shows from India’s Raw Star to Comedy Nights, his videos have racked up millions of views on social media. Rahul has also performed live in over 700 shows. Our favourite act is one which he takes you through 100 years of Bollywood in 200 sec. Watch it below.

To know more about Rahul, visit his site and follow him on Facebook.


3. Dr. BKS Varma

Dr. BKS Varma is a painter from Bangalore, India, whose subject is mainly environment and social issues presented in a surreal form. He also specializes in painting pictures in front of a large audience, in a short span of time, usually for poetry or dance. He uses a piece of rope/thread as his brush, mainly to finish quickly. Here’s a video of Dr. BKS Varma painting a Gopi selling buttermilk thinking about Sri Krishna in under 4 minutes!!

There’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to Dr. BKS Verma.


4. Dhaval Khatri

Dhaval Jyotsnaben Kaushikbhai Khatri is unique because he is not an artist by choice, but by chance. At the age of 14, an electric shock took both hands away. His parents encouraged Dhaval to pursue art and his work is proof of the mind-boggling strides he has made despite the life-changing setback he suffered as a teenager.

To know more about Dhaval, visit his site and follow him on Facebook.


5. Shireesh Kaithale

See what develops when live paintings happen with live Indian classical music. From the last 2-3 years, Shireesh has been painting live when legendary musicians like Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, Begum Parveen Sultana, Malinitai Rajurkar, were performing live! Shireesh gets 45 minutes to an hour to paint something that is totally unplanned. Whatever the musician’s mood, Shireesh interprets it through his paintings. There is no room for correction or time for anything else. This also is trance-like in the way Shirish feels when he’s in the thick of it. See his Trance-Formation.

To know more about Dhaval, visit his site and follow him on Facebook.


6. Vinod More

Vinod sees his work as a mix of traditional and digital art. On his blog he showcases most of his projects and personal work. He is currently working for himself. He has previously worked with Prime Focus, Double Negative; London, Reliance Media Works, Pixion Studios, and Paradox-Studios, Mumbai, as a Concept Artist and Matte painting artist. Vinod has done his BFA (Bachelor’s in fine art), MDes (Masters in design) from IIT, Mumbai.

When the folks at Mercedes invited him for a live performance at their Tech Masters Event, Vinod added a twist to his speed art.


7. Venkatesh Ellore

Venkatesh can take any name and write it or rather draw out the letters of the alphabet to look like the Lord Ganesha in the matter of seconds. He tells us that he has done this for almost all the famous and popular personalities of our country. The finished Ganesha is a ‘My Ganesha’ because it is personalized in the sense that it is made up of your name or of you and your spouse. Offering prayers to this Ganesha is also considered auspicious and he adds through this he shows that there is divinity within all of us.

When Venkatesh spoke to my colleague Nimish, he noted down the names of his family members: Ekta, Nimish, Shibani, & Swati. And 5 minutes later, he sent this artwork to Nimish’s inbox.

My Ganesha by Venkatesh Ellore

To know more about Venkatesh and place an order for his beautiful products you can visit his shop on Engrave.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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