Bengaluru: A new form of art is trending on social media for its beauty and novelty: resin art. Not only is it fun to watch a resin art piece take shape, but its result is catchy. As shown in Instagram reels, the pigmented resin flows on a canvas smoothly under the control of the artist to form a distinctive shape.
"Every piece has a different view. I mean, you cannot even replicate your work. No matter how you pour the liquid on the canvas, after it dries in a day, the result will surprise you. So, that surprise is mesmerising. That's why I fell in love with resin art and will continue to love it. I ask my students, too, to be ready for the surprise. The surprise is my happiness and keeps me going," says Sonali Singh Rao, a Bengaluru-based resin artist with over 10,000 followers on Instagram.
Without anyone to teach her in India, more than three years ago she experimented on her own with different materials and slowly mastered the skill. "It was hard to learn online, but now, if my students bring me an image of an art piece, I know every step of making it. My balcony is cluttered with many of my practice pieces. Whenever a piece doesn't turn out the way you wanted it, it goes to waste, but I look at it as an investment because I would've learnt what not to repeat. About 200 kg I've wasted — or you could say invested — in the learning process. Now, you name anything in resin, and I can do it; that's because of the investment I have made."
Considering how expensive high-quality resin is, many artists are apprehensive of stepping into this field. Asked how she covers her costs, the army wife said: "My workshops are going good. I generally hold three or four workshops in a month. I cater to custom pieces which keep me from worrying about expenses. I have enough surplus to take risks."
The artist whose workshops attract students from across the world advises budding artists to explore, develop their techniques, and not be stuck with what she teaches them.
Unlike Ms Rao, Nita GK is a resin artist who refrains from conducting workshops. At an exhibition in China in November 2019, artists worldwide were selected to showcase their pieces, and she was the only one there to have sold all of her paintings. Since she was a novice in the field, she "never anticipated" the response she got.
Asked what inspired her to pursue this form, she said: "I have always been fond of shiny items such as diamonds. Resin paintings have a glossy finish, and my paintings are uniquely studded with precious gemstones. I also sometimes add glitter to them."
As a self-taught artist, she, too, had to try, fail, and succeed before becoming a master. "In the beginning, I couldn't achieve a clear, glossy finish. A few pieces did go waste while learning, but they were all small in size. I used to go wrong in measuring the amount of resin and hardener needed. The ground on which I was practising wasn't levelled, and this caused an imbalance in how the liquid hardened. I also learned that each material requires a certain kind of resin quality. For example, the resin used to paint on a canvas is different from the resin used to decorate a wood piece. The texture, flow, and the time it takes to dry vary from one kind of resin to another." As a trick, she mixes four or five kinds of resin to suit her needs.
Just as Ms Nita believes the trend in resin art is "definitely" going upward, Ms Rao said: "Modern art is always in demand and it has some form which you can relate to. Resin has an abstract effect which means that how you view it depends on your imagination. When I make something, people find objects such as trees in it that aren't there actually. People like it."