Selva is a Melbourne-based artist who uses shapes, colours, and lines to make contemporary abstract paintings. He delicately combines a naive untutored approach with understated sophistication to create the artworks.
Originally from Malaysia, Selva left his chosen profession for the love of making art. The colourful and playful paintings are designed to speak to the inner child in the audience.
My art practice - which comprises artworks and introspection - is part of an inward journey towards self-discovery and spiritual awareness. The artworks consist of paintings and the introspection expresses in words my innermost thoughts, observations, and realisation about the nature of existence. The artworks and writing appear discrete on the surface but, they are inextricably intertwined. The creative process reduces mental noise and allows me to quietly contemplate the question 'Who am I?' beyond the body, mind, and emotions, which in turn, gives birth to intuitive thoughts and guidance.
Inspiration to create comes by way of thoughts and feelings that prompt me to make art using a naive and untutored approach. I employ simple shapes, purposeful colours, and lyrical lines to make paintings that are intended to reach out to the inner child in the audience and arouse these oft-dormant qualities: curiosity, imagination, and playfulness.
My work is a blend of modern and contemporary art with a subtle evocation of Suprematism, Bauhaus, De Stijl, and Surrealism. I am influenced by painters like Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Joan Miro, as well as artists like Cy Twombly who use musings, poems, mythology, and existential philosophy as a conceptual foundation for their abstract art.
Click HERE to read introspection.
Southeast Asian Textile, Australian Aboriginal Art, Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, Bauhaus, Surrealism.
Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Joan Miro, Kazimir Malevich, Hilma Klimt
EXHIBITION / SHOW
Solo, Artists Studio 106
Group, Artists Studio 106
Solo, Art @ St Francis
Solo, Bird's Gallery
Group, Brunswick Street Gallery
Group, No Vacancy Gallery
Warranwood Art Show
Art Lounge, Cambridge Studio Gallery
Group, Studio 2, Northcote Town Hall
Solo, Brightspace Gallery
Group, Melbourne Exhibiting Artists
Parallax (13) Art Fair, London
Solo, Bird's Gallery
Vogue Apartments @ South Yarra
Society Apartments @ South Yarra
Group, Gallery #9
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. At the moment, I engage in casual employment to make ends meet.
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, which is 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 in 2005. I continued practising in the same field for several years.
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 in a different direction. In 2013, I threw caution to the wind and gave up my chosen profession to go on an inward journey of self-discovery and follow my dream of making art for a living.
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.
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 tedium of everyday life and seek balance in a world driven by an insatiable desire for more.
How do you name the artworks?
The artworks are untitled. They are sequentially numbered, for example, S261/2018 and S262/2018.
Why don't you give the artwork a title?
Art lovers tend to view artworks through the lens of the artist; often, they are influenced by names and titles. By abstaining from descriptions, I allow my audience to have a subjective visceral experience.
What is the purpose of repetition in your work?
In my work, repetition represents theme, rhythm, and movement in what seems like random juxtapositions of shapes, colours, and lines. Some artists might find repetition a challenge 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 times spent outdoors playing and having all sorts of adventures. Those close to me know I am still a fun-loving, playful, and mischievous kid.
How has your lifestyle changed since you began this artistic-cum-spiritual journey?
My lifestyle has not changed much. I enjoy what others enjoy, but my wants and needs have reduced substantially. I am more at peace knowing that everything will work out according to the natural flow of life. Spiritual awareness is a practice, not an achievement. That said, I do not believe the practice leads to a dull and restrictive lifestyle; on the contrary, it has the potential to liberate us from the shackles of misconception and renew our sense of joy and playfulness.
My most significant realisation is that life replenishes itself endlessly without preferences. Everything that exists has its place in maintaining balance. We separate ourselves from life and suffer exhaustion when we exert effort to change things according to our ideas of how they should be. Paradoxically, yielding (i.e., non-resistance) to life is the effortless way to take control of experiences. I aspire to always be centred and not get sucked into the drama of everyday life; however, that remains a work in progress.
What's your take on finding enduring happiness?
I believe the path to happiness depends largely on realising these three elements: the nature of our inner essence, the subjectivity of individual existence, and the role of attention in recurring experiences.
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 hope to produce and exhibit new works consistently. I aim to be inwardly focused and be myself - warts and all - through the ebb and flow of life experiences.