About Dilip De the artist

‘Art is Omnipresent’: The Artist’s Statement

By Dilip De

Whilst standing in my orchid gardens in Alibag, I felt the urge to draw these beautiful flowers on my Galaxy Notebook for my wife, Shobhaa. As an anadi with gadgets, it took me a while to learn how to use a phone stylus as a 'brush' and ‘dip’ it in the colourbox, my purported palette, which is an integral part of the Samsung phone. Soon, much to my delight, I started drawing the outlines of an orchid flower on the tiny screen – 5.2 x 4 inches which came to be my ‘canvas’! Regrettably, in my initial enthusiasm, a few of my paintings disappeared from the screen as I had unknowingly put extra pressure on the screen whilst drawing – sadly those works vanished in an instant and were lost forever. Gradually, however, I mastered the required skill and surprised Shobhaa with a painting of a Sakura!

That was the start of an unchartered journey of self-expression and this specific process of painting on a Samsung Notebook that has never been tried before. Unlike conventional art for which an artist requires a studio, brushes, paints, easel and palette – I, luckily can draw and paint at any place where inspiration strikes –be it in a restaurant, airport or bedroom – anywhere! I am merely reminding and emphasising, as I joyously discovered, that Art is omnipresent ... and artistic expression can be realised at any place and time. Art is no longer confined to a studio, but is truly the product of spontaneity and creativity achieved at ones leisure.

As a person born into a family of art connoisseurs, I learnt to enjoy and appreciate art, beauty, nature and colours from an early age. An important part of being an art collector is to read as much as you possibly can. Knowledge is your greatest tool. While reading about important European schools and artists of the 20th Century, Surrealism is the one movement that has stayed with me. Now, as I begin my own artistic journey, I can see the sub-conscious influence of Surrealist principles in my work as well. Duality and Intrigued would be what I call the ‘figurative’ school whilst Ravishing Kanchenjunga, Mumbai Sky Symphony and Alibag Sky Tango could be called ‘abstract’ surrealism, which is based on the belief that certain forms are better recognised in a superior reality, as they could often be neglected in their everyday manifestation.

I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of creating art in a restricted space without the aid of an art related, painting, drawing, enhancing image ‘Application Software’. Even though my medium is cutting edge, I draw in the traditional technique with a stylus provided by the manufacturer. As a budding artist, I am eager to learn new, complex techniques that will enable me to develop a distinctive style and unique visual vocabulary, thereby expressing my thoughts graphically, rather than sending political or confrontational messages. I am apolitical. I don't take myself seriously as an artist... but this discipline helps me to be calm, humble and eager to learn. My focus is to explore how technology can help create new art forms, thereby reinforcing the idea that traditional art, drawing in particular, can be adapted to keep up with artistic advances in our technology-focused lives, beginning with our smartphones.

I accidentally achieved this breakthrough on a Samsung Galaxy Note Series, which may well be a new development in digital art, with the help of a stylus and palette provided by the manufacturer but without the aid of any apps. Samsung India has acknowledged that they have not encountered an exhibition of art created on the Samsung Galaxy Note Series and are thus partnering me in showcasing my first solo art exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery on August 16, 2016. I have pledged to donate the entire proceeds from this sale of limited edition digital prints to the Cancer Patients Aid Association in Mumbai.

As a Collector, I have encouraged both established and emerging artists to realise their full potential and sell works for the highest prices achievable, much to the chagrin of my fellow collectors. My point was and remains simple – an artist cannot produce art on an empty stomach! Now as a budding Notebook phone digital artist, my dream is to make every budding artist in our country realise how easy it can be to follow a dream and turn a hobby into a reality. And to all those who love art: here’s yet another way that technology has made things more accessible and affordable.

This new found experience gives me happiness and it serves as another form of meditation and self-discovery which helps me to improve myself and be a better husband, father, brother, friend and a better human being… People must remember that art is omnipresent and I hope my experience will convince others to spread Smart Phone Art!

Image: Dilip De, smartphone artist. My debut exhibition - The Celebration of Love was inaugurated by film legend Amitabh Bachchan, with all proceeds going to the Cancer Patients Aid Association Mumbai.