August @ M.A.P – Magical Stories

A conversation with Bangalore based artist A. Naveen Kumar


Your relationship with drawing?

First and foremost I am passionate about drawing. I always draw and enjoying looking at drawing. It has become a primary tool to put my thoughts across and enjoy adding objects to my drawing. This whole process of working, I would say, is like a sculptural installation of drawing.

Who have been inspirational to your work?

There are so many artist who have inspired and guided me that the list could run into over a hundred names easily, but then, yes, I acknowledge nature, my parents and my grandfather.

Any places you are fond of in this city?

Malleshwaram and Rajajinagar where I spent my childhood are still my favourite places in the city.

If you were to say something about yourself as an arts practitioner…

‘’I am a Silly artist’’. The word Silly did not originally refer to the absurd or ridiculous – in fact quite the opposite. The word derives from the old English word seely, meaning happy, blissful, lucky or blessed.


Magical Stories
Mixed Media ( 3D printed objects, found toys, silk screen, watercolor and water soluble graphite, glass on paper)
7 x 5 inches each
2014 (Detail)

I did my Diploma in painting from Ken School of art and Post Diploma in printmaking from Bangalore University (BU). At Ken and BU I had learnt so many media, yes of course lots of drawing. I soon realised I was using drawing, printing and sculpting in my installations. When it comes to content, I am sensitive to my surroundings. Art is powerful, not just for its beauty or skill but also as a meaning making exercise. The works do not happen overnight and most often things don’t work out the way one expects. When I make mistakes, I focus on solutions, not on regrets.

In many of my works, my grandfather and his illusionary thought-provoking stories have inspired me. As a child, my grand father would tell me lots of stories. I would listen to him almost every day, every night, and see them creating so many visuals in my mind. Each time I pestered him, he would repeat the same stores in a different way and I would visualize them differently. Different visuals every time for the same narrative. The stories mean a lot to me even today.

You are also a teacher . Could you tell us about this aspect of your practice?

I have been teaching at various places since 2005. I taught in Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, then a few private classes…later after my Post Diploma I worked at ISBD in Mysore. That is where my obsession of designing started. In 2012, I was back to Bangalore and joined BMS College of Engineering as visiting fine arts faculty for the Department of Architecture. I would love to be a full time teacher but I am not qualified. In fact, lots of prints have influences of what I teach.


A page from my dairy

Multi-plate etching
8 x 6 inches

Taking a page from my everyday sketch book I am trying to move away from the complexities of life to something mundane and routine. The picture refers to a lesson plan, connected to a part-time occupation as a teacher. This work is a meditative, combining text with talk about the drawn image.

The artist’s work Magical Stories, housed at M.A.P this month explores the delicate aesthetic of an intimate narrative, unfolding over a series of pages from a book of philosophy house fragile personal moments from the artist’s perception of the place one lives in, the city one has grown up with, the objects one has found unexpectedly, toys and dragonfly wings. Inhabiting the text in a lyrical way, the work brings in a new engagement of the social through the personal.

All images courtesy – the artist.

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