Its All In His Hands
Kamal Bhatt is unlike other artists: he doesn’t use paintbrushes. Instead, he uses his nails to make indentations on paper to create his artwork.
Mr. Bhatt, who is from Gujarat, is currently exhibiting and selling his works at the Gurjari exhibition at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. He said he has been practising this art form, which he learnt from his father, Arvind Bhatt, for 22 years.
“Neither my father nor I have had any formal training in drawing or painting. This is something that I have inherited from him,” he said, even as he was busy creating art on a small piece of paper.
After making indentations on paper, he rubs it on a mat that has only four colours on it — blue, green, yellow and red. “I have been using this mat for the past 15 years. We use special oil colours mixed with wax to add colour to our works,” he said. Mr. Bhatt said that no painting can be recreated. His works are heavily dependent on imagination. “This is why some people may find it difficult to learn this. I have been invited to demonstrate my talent by several fine arts institutes. Some students have also approached me and evinced interest to learn this nail art. But it is difficult for them,” he said.
He also said that while making inundations, his nails often hurt. There is no option but to rest a while and start again. “This nail art can be done on paper of any size. It is difficult on a large sheet, as we have to be careful not to crease the paper. Pressure is also an important factor. With excess pressure, the paper can get damaged. This can be mastered only with a lot of practice,” he added.
The next generation
He is now teaching his young daughter the art, and hopes she can take it forward.
Mr. Bhatt’s art ranges in price from Rs. 50 to Rs. 500. Several colourful works are up for sale at the Gurjari exhibition, on till June 30 at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath.
The exhibition is open between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.