Forty years later, this fine arts student creates a rage for Tanjore paintings on social media and it's the perfect retirement plan

This master of Tanjore has accepted over 1,200 paintings and portraits in the last four years and has created paintings up to six ft tall
The traditional method is soon being replaced by more modern ways (representative image)
The traditional method is soon being replaced by more modern ways (representative image)

A fine arts student gave up his talents four decades ago in exchange for a conventional career. Today, 64-year-old Radhakrishnan, driven by the modern world and mastering various forms of art, inhales passion and exhales creativity in the form of artwork that is a rage with social media users across the globe. After spending his peak years in an offset printing business, he followed his passion again four years back.

Radhakrishnan’s effort is an awe-inspiring attempt to recreate his love affair with paintings. His paintings have a clientele that has no age limit. He has mastered the art of Tanjore paintings, Kerala Mural arts and Oil paintings in recent years. He says, “After college, I never really got a chance to pick up the brushes. Now that I have a studio set up to paint pictures of my dream, I am making the most out of it. I couldn’t have asked for a better post-retirement plan.” 

“Initially I kept posting pictures of my work on Facebook. Slowly, people started requesting to recreate it for them. My primary customer base is based on social media. Apart from Tamil Nadu, I get orders from Canada, USA, UK, Australia and Arab countries. Though I used to have a web portal, I have discontinued it. For me, social media is the perfect interactive platform to help a buyer purchase an artwork they desire. I have not dealt with payment issues as most of the buyers are genuine people looking for a fine piece of work that can be flaunted in their showcases,” he adds. 

Radhakrishnan specialises in Tanjore Paintings, which is seeing an influx of different modern methods replacing the traditional form. Sticking to the tedious process, he stuck a pure cotton cloth on the canvas and then processed it. The outline is embossed with Arabian gum and chalk powder while gold leaves adorn the space above it. This lining, which is the very essence of Tanjore paintings, is usually made of 24-carat gold. Tanjore paintings usually don’t lose their sheen and remain visually appealing for centuries together.

Hot Commodity: His paintings are in high demand on social media and receives requests from different countries (representative image)

“I have created Tanjore paintings of so many Hindu gods. One that I consider as my most memorable work would be Goddess Raja Rajeshwari,” he smiles as he proudly remembers creating paintings up to 6 feet tall. 

He also creates portraits in oil paintings that are hugely popular on his Facebook page. “I have worked on profile shots of people, landscape images and religious photographs when it comes to oil painting. The demand is particularly from people who like to gift portraits to their loved ones. I would have taken close to 1200 orders of Tanjore paintings and portraits in the past four years,” he says. 

“Kerala’s mural art that recreates paintings from popular temples is another trend now. I am working towards that as well since people have been requesting it. I am conducting monthly art workshops for students in Chennai, Coimbatore and Bengaluru. I might open an institute in Chennai that will teach the nuances of art to kids and art lovers if I get enough time in the future,” he adds. He also takes a 4-day Tanjore painting class which is particularly a hit amongst the locals. 

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