Selva is a Melbourne-based self-taught artist who uses shapes, colours, and lines to make contemporary abstract paintings. He employs a naive untutored approach when creating the artworks.
Originally from Malaysia, Selva left his chosen profession for the love of making art. The colourful and playful paintings are intended to speak to the inner child in the audience.
My art practice comprises artworks and introspection. The two make up an inward journey towards self-discovery. The artwork is the creative outlet for what is inside me that cannot be understood in words. The contemplations (put into words) express my innermost thoughts, observations, and realisation about all aspects of my physical and non-physical self. This self-perpetuating process guides me to better understand the subjective nature of existence.
Inspiration to create comes from thoughts, feelings, or observation. I follow intuitive prompting and lay down what comes to mind without much analysis. I employ simple shapes, purposeful colours, and lyrical lines to create paintings intended to reach the inner child in the audience and arouse these oft-dormant qualities: curiosity, imagination, and playfulness.
My work combines modern and contemporary art with a subtle evocation of Suprematism, Bauhaus, De Stijl, and Surrealism. I am influenced by Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Joan Miro in respect of my painting style and artists like Cy Twombly, who use musings, poems, and existential philosophy as conceptual foundations in their abstract art.
Click HERE to read the introspection.
Southeast Asian Textile, Australian Aboriginal Art, Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, Bauhaus, Surrealism.
Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Joan Miro, Kazimir Malevich, Hilma Klimt
EXHIBITION / SHOW
Group, Artists Studio 106 (2022)
Solo, Artists Studio 106 (2021)
Group, Artists Studio 106 (2021)
Group, Space2B (2020)
Solo, Art @ St Francis(2017)
Solo, Bird's Gallery (2017)
Group, Brunswick Street Gallery (2017)
Group, No Vacancy Gallery (2017)
Warranwood Art Show (2017)
Cambridge Studio Gallery (2017)
Group, Studio 2, Northcote T/Hall (2017)
Solo, Brightspace Gallery (2016)
Group, Melbourne Exhibiting Artists (2016)
Parallax (13) Art Fair, London (2015)
Solo, Bird's Gallery (2015)
Vogue Apartments @ South Yarra (2013)
Society Apartments @ South Yarra (2013)
Group, Gallery #9 (2013)
Bluethumb (Australia) – Featured Artist
Contemporary Art Book (GAA - UK) Vol II
Artfinder (London) – 'Art of the Day'
Artfinder (London) – Featured Artist
'Lawyer's First Love' (Melbourne)
'From Legal to Semi-Abstract Realm' (Malaysia)
Click HERE to read the articles.
Q & A
Are you a full-time artist?
I am committed to making art full-time. I also work a few days in an art shop to pursue my interest in the technical aspects of the craft.
What is your background?
I was born in Penang, Malaysia. I am a second-generation Malaysian of South Indian heritage. My mother tongue is Tamil. I received primary and secondary education in a government-run school in the national language, Malay. I was taught English as a subject in school; it's my third language.
I completed year 12 in Australia with a Victorian High School Certificate under an international student exchange programme. I obtained a bachelor's degree and professional qualifications in the United Kingdom. I lived and worked in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Melbourne.. I continued practising in the same field for several years.
Have you had any formal art training?
I am primarily a self-taught artist. I have had a modest amount of instruction during a short course at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne.
However, I continuously undertake self-study and research into the methods and materials of my craft. That knowledge, put into practice, helps me bring out the best characteristics of the chosen technique, express and convey my intentions properly, and ensure the permanence of results. Often one finds it easier to rely on product descriptions and advertisements instead of learning the fundamentals (science and application) of their materials and techniques.
When did you start your art career?
I've always been creative and dabbled in making art throughout my life. As a teenager, I was keen on pursuing a fine art degree, but family obligations took me differently. After many years of practising as a lawyer, I threw caution to the wind and gave up my chosen profession to follow my dream of being an artist. I have been making art for 10 years, and loving it.
Why do you make this type of art?
The artworks are an integral part of my self-expression. Each piece captures a moment in time along the journey.
What inspires you to paint?
Mostly, inspiration comes from within. Sometimes, I am moved by artful images or interesting works by other artists.
What would you like to say to your audience?
The artworks are intended to speak to the inner child in the audience. I would be pleased if those who come into contact with my work took a little time to contemplate these three questions without over-analysing: 'Does this art engage my attention?'; 'What do I see?'; 'How do I feel?'
What art do you most identify with?
I love all forms of artistic expression. I like some artworks for their aesthetics and others for their imaginative or intellectual content. Artwork could be realistic or abstract; it's not the genre or level of skill but how the drawing, painting, sculpture, or conceptual work speaks to me that matters.
What is your attitude towards creativity in society?
Art is creativity in its purest form. Creativity is woven into everything that we see, hear and do. By making time for art, one can find relief from the monotony of everyday life and seek balance in a world driven by an insatiable desire for more.
How do you title your artwork?
Initially, I wanted the audience to have a subjective visceral experience without being influenced by a descriptive title. The artworks were sequentially numbered, for example, S261/2018 and S262/2018. The sequential numbers help the audience to gauge my direction and progress. Now that I have established a theme, I feel more open to naming the artwork within its confines; however, I will maintain the numbering system.
What is the purpose of repetition in your work?
In my work, repetition represents theme, rhythm, and movement in random juxtapositions of shapes, colours, and lines. Some artists might find repetition challenging because they consider it uninspiring and dull. However, I believe that it's not possible to explore the furthest depth of one's creativity without keeping your focus in one direction.
What’s integral to the work of an emerging artist?
I believe it's consistency. Artists who consistently produce artworks that exhibit focus, personal voice, and aesthetic sensibility show a strong commitment to their practice; they have the potential to gain a devoted following and pique the interest of serious collectors.
What’s your favourite memory of childhood?
I grew up in a small town (Taiping, Perak) in Malaysia known for its natural surroundings: tropical jungle, hills, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes. We lived in a working-class neighbourhood where most parents could hardly make ends meet, so children were left to their own devices for fun and entertainment. My fondest childhood memories are mainly of time spent outdoors playing and having adventures. Those close to me know I am still a fun-loving, playful, and mischievous kid.
How has the journey changed you?
My lifestyle has not changed much, but my wants and needs have reduced substantially. The journey has renewed my sense of liberation and playfulness.
What's your take on happiness?
Everyone has a different perspective on happiness. Some think of experiencing pleasure as happiness; others peg it to something else. I feel present, spontaneous, and joyful when my mind is free of judgment and expectation.
What does being an artist mean to you?
Being an artist is experiencing inner peace, joy, and contentment through creativity and self-expression.
What are your aspirations and goals?
As an artist, I'd like to experience the fullness of the artistic journey, wherever it might take me.