Art and non-conformism
By Abirami Muthukrishnan
Cheenu Pillai quit his lucrative big-buck software job at Altosys three years ago. He quit to start his own software company.People quit software jobs all the time, and a few start their own companies; what’s so interesting about that, you might ask.
Well, with the freedom of being his own boss, he is now a serious artist on the side. Nothing new about that, you say? But his paintings are selling – at his exhibitions as well as his internet portal. Cheenu recently conducted his third painting exhibition, titled ‘Divinity and Geometry’, at Gallery Sri Parvati on Eldams Road, Alwarpet, where Ergo caught up with him.
“I belong to the self-taught school of art. And that is a drawback when you approach galleries,” he states candidly. So when his paintings began to sell, he started conducting his own exhibitions. “Word of mouth plays a huge role in the initial days, and it takes patience to wait for your work to be recognised.”
“I quit my job when I saw that youngsters knew the difference created by an actual canvas on the wall, compared to a print. Also, they buy paintings they like, and not listen to galleries which tell them who is in, who to buy and who not to buy,” he says. With young software professionals knowing what they want on their walls and the boom giving them buying power, Cheenu feels that small-time artists not represented by the galleries have a chance.
“Software professionals these days buy real estate in their late twenties. And when they begin decorating, they research about paintings. They listen to old-fuddy-duddy gallery owners’ opinions, but in the end they stand by what paintings they connect to or find aesthetically pleasing to the eye.”
He started with the idea of showcasing his canvases online. “I was pushing others products on the Internet. I wondered, why not push my own?”
He is happy with the way the website has taken off. “People have ordered my paintings online, and I would like to exhibit other Chennai painters.”
He sometimes paints up to 10 hours a day. This in addition to running Silk Fort, his company. He goes by the name N. Srinivasan there. Wonder how he finds time at all, especially since he is a well-known quizzer in the Chennai quizzing cliques. He is also a contributor to triviapetta.com, a comprehensive movie trivia website.
Photo credit: S.S.Kumar