Randolph Correia is used to enthralling audiences while performing on stage, as part of Indian bands Pentagram and Shaa’ir+Func. At an ongoing exhibition, however, the guitarist performs to a different audience through a recent series of 40 illustrations. “I’ve been drawing since I was three years old,” says the Sir JJ School of Art graduate, adding that it was his schooling in art that gave him the courage to become a musician. “And being a musician makes me a better artist.” Chapter Three of the graphic novel, 69, written and conceptualised by gallery owner Karthikeyan Ramachandran, forms the genesis of the ongoing exhibition.
Aside from the illustrations for the first chapter that have been done by Ramachandran himself, each chapter is illustrated by one of the author’s friends in a medium of their choice “My parents think 69 is just an outlet for me to showcase my ‘Devdas’ side,” says Ramachandran, who wrote the semi-autobiographical novel about a graphic designer and his love troubles two years ago.
Ramachandran, who refers to the series as Pali Hill, 90210, an allusion to the American drama series, Beverly Hills, 90210 that followed the lives of a group of teenagers hailing from privileged backgrounds, explains that the book is an attempt to shed light on urban Indian relationships, instead.
“The title is a reference to the character, who may be a ‘6’ but a difference in point of view (when the character is overturned) can make him a ‘9’ as well,” says Ramachandran, adding, “It dabbles with issues ranging from generation gap, migration and culture shock to low tolerance levels in modern relationships.”
In graphic detail
“Karthik sent me the script and I tried capturing the emotional highlights of his character in the story,” says Correia about the resultant pencil-and-sketch-pen drawings, which he took just a week to work on, while on tour. “A concert lasts two hours and there is the whole day left to draw. It was more about when I would physically pick up that pencil and draw again, as I hadn’t done that in almost 15 years,” adds Correia, who doesn’t worry about having to straddle the worlds of art and music.
Ramachandran says that Correia imparted the protagonist a “whacked-out look with a crazy-cool character, making him part of a Rock star’s world”. Correia, for his part, credits Ramachandran for being the inspiration behind the look, “69 is Karthik’s world, and I tried to capture it on paper. Everything just turned into red and blue lines from then on,” says Correia, whose favourite images in the series are the “love-making ones”.
Ask him if he is keen to pursue art from now on and he replies, “As an artist, the last thing I would want to focus is on art. I look forward to meeting good people and having the best conversations over good food.” “That’s when the music gets better, and then the paintings get better,” he signs off.
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