Does art influence life, or is it life that influences art? Art inherently represents the world, existence, and intricate particulars. But is art truly endowed with such profound significance? A decade ago, Gabriel Campanario, a visual artist, established the global community of Urban Sketchers in Seattle, providing a platform for artists worldwide. Urban Sketching involves creating drawings or paintings while situated in the cities, towns, or villages one resides in or visits. It entails capturing a specific moment in time through a distinctive and artistic lens.
Drawing inspiration from this movement, India has embraced and celebrated this artistic endeavour. In February 2023, Vizag joined the bandwagon, launching its own Urban Sketchers community. Preethi Gajula Sangita spearheaded the establishment of this community, aiming to provide a space for artists in the City of Destiny. Encountering Gulzar Hussain, Aditya Phanni, and PV Hanumanthu, Tanya Narayan, Srikanthi Paketi during her time at an art gallery, Preethi conceptualised the idea of establishing this community in Vizag with their collaborative support.
Preethi highlighted the abundant artistic talent the city harbours but noted the lack of dedicated platforms for showcasing their skills. She comments about the lack of a comprehensive understanding of the true essence of art and the viable career in the field despite a university in the city offering fine arts education. “A significant challenge confronted by artists is the lack of recognition for their artwork when requested to contribute without compensation. The lack of awareness about art among the general populace results in a dearth of the audience when artists seek to showcase their artwork or offer their paintings for sale”, emphasised Preethi. Vizag Sketchers, she stressed, offers a much-needed platform for these artists to display their work and nurture their creative passions.
Also read: Serenity in Pages: The unique Vizag Reads community
“Insufficient public awareness about art often compels artists to redirect their passions, as the city offers limited opportunities. Consequently, many artists feel reluctant to emerge and display their abilities. A platform that enables us to exhibit our talents without constraints is essential”, expressed Aditya Phanni, a digital illustrator of Vizag Sketchers. Aditya opines that the continuous influx of artists into the community provides a chance to explore and experiment with their skills. “Vizag Sketchers has evolved into a haven for numerous artists who eagerly anticipate the weekend as an opportunity to paint, exchange narratives, and share their artistic journeys with fellow creators,” he says.
“Vizag Sketchers extends a warm welcome to artists of all backgrounds, ranging from highly skilled practitioners to beginners, encompassing watercolour enthusiasts, pencil sketch artists, and digital illustrators alike,” according to PV Hamumanthu. Specialising in watercolour art, he had initial reservations about painting in public. But Vizag Sketchers changed his approach and infused art into his weekly routine. “I eagerly anticipate every weekend,” shared Hamumanthu, who transitioned into a full-time artist.
“After about 20 sessions, it’s heartening to witness individuals with a genuine appreciation for art interacting with fellow participants. It’s equally heartwarming to observe people forging connections and openly exchanging their personal stories with fellow artists”, expressed Gulzar Hussain, a pencil sketch artist from the community.
Vizag Sketchers is blossoming into a large family of artists, with almost 30 individuals attending each weekend meeting. It’s heartwarming to witness the unwavering passion artists harbour for their craft, as they travel from distant locations to gather at 6 am every Sunday, fully committed to expressing their creativity.
To become part of the Vizag Sketchers community, all you need to do is gather your sketching materials and essentials, then head to the location they announce on their Instagram page for their Sunday sessions, which run from 6 am to 9 am. The community extends an invitation to all aspiring artists who seek to learn and evolve alongside them, during their painting sessions.
Stay tuned to Yo! Vizag website and Instagram for more interesting stories.