Art can be created by anyone using virtually anything. That is the beauty of art. We are all familiar with the traditional mediums such as paint, charcoal and pencil. But when the medium is something unconventional, the art becomes unique. Damith Deeptha Lahiru Senarathna is one such unique artist who creates unconventional art breaking the traditional paints-and-pencils barrier. In an interview with the Nation Lahiru confided that this strange and unique talent of his runs in the genes.
“Although I did Art for O/Ls, I didn’t pursue it any further. I consider it to be an inborn talent,” says Lahiru, whose parents can also draw well. Lahiru wanted to be different and unique in his art.
He pointed out that everyone uses pencil and paint. But he uses unconventional material such as sauce, tea dust, Marmite, soap, leaves and even burning incense sticks, along with the more traditional mediums of pencil and colour pencils.
Lahiru confided that he himself doesn’t know how he gets such quirky ideas. “Whenever something new comes to mind, I want to give it a shot. I think it’s mainly because I want to do something different every time,” says Lahiru, explaining his penchant for trying out new mediums.
Everything good entails a challenge and the biggest challenge faced by Lahiru is preserving his art done with, and sometimes on, unconventional material. Take for example, his artwork made of sauce or tea dust. How would one even consider preserving those?
“It is impossible to keep art done with food like sauce, Marmite and tea dust for a long time. Even portraits done using incense sticks fade with time unless they are laminated,” Lahiru points out.
Lahiru studied at Danthure Central College, Kandy until his O/Ls. He completed his A/Ls at Kingswood College, Kandy in the Agriculture stream. He acquired his Higher National Diploma in Agriculture from the Hardy Advanced Technological Institute, Ampara. He is currently working as an agricultural instructor at the Department Of Agriculture.
Agriculture and art being two different disciplines Lahiru manages to balance both due to his dedication to career and passion for his hobby, art.
“While I’m busy during week days with my job, I find time to explore art during the weekend and whenever I have some spare time on my hands,” Lahiru adds.
Facebook is the platform on which he exhibits his extraordinary art. “I was able to reach many people through Facebook. In fact, today many know me because of Facebook. I even get orders from foreign art lovers on Facebook,” says Lahiru, as he explains how he was able to build an audience for himself through the social networking site.
Photographs of artworks that he posts on Facebook never fail to receive favourable feedback from his audience. “Their feedback is what shapes the edges of my art,” he adds. He has met many more artists through Facebook. In the near future he hopes to hold an art exhibition jointly with other aspiring artists.
A piece of advice for the aspiring artist, “It’s my interest and passion for art that brought me this far. It is only by drawing continuously one can improve. I learnt by my mistakes through practice.”