A journey through the life of artist Kisalay P Vora is an interesting and complex one traversing the fields of different visual media to culminate in a career marked by achievements in diverse fields.
Citing art, literature and music as his primary influences, Kisalay’s artistic self sought expression from the age of five, when he began drawing with charcoals on walls opposite his family home at Mandvi, a small town in Kutch, Gujarat. Parental influence added life into his shapes and forms. The enlightening guidance of his mother, Madhuri Vora, the spine of his family, inspired him to set his goals in life. This highly positive influence of his formative years continues to inspire him to date. His father Pramodray Vora, an artist and great orator was instrumental in exciting his imagination, essential to every artist.
“As a visualiser and a person who is always inspired by kinetic energy, it is impossible for me to overlook every day elements, materials, movements and mediums (sound, dance, indoor and outdoor spaces, symbols from everyday life) and continue my dialogue with creative expressions,” says Kisalay. Inspired during his formative years by many great, multifaceted artists who expressed themselves creatively through different mediums, he describes himself as a messenger or a courier boy who has been going back and forth between the canvas in his studio and public as well as private spaces he has been creating.
He attended the JJ School of Arts in Mumbai where he got in with honours as he topped the entrance test. Here he chose Applied Arts, for he says, “Applied Art is the art of communication just like painting. For me, whether it interior designing, fine art or performing art, they all are different forms of communication.”
After JJ School of Arts, his next step was advertising agency Lintas, an enriching experience that he looked at as an extension of his search for self-expression in Fine Art. He then moved on to reinvent and explore the painter within himself while setting new goals and exploring new horizons.
He began creating works to adorn Mumbai’s premier nightclubs - large surfaces, joyous colours and a strong message – Kisalay was able to fulfill his desire to bring art out of the gallery and into public spaces. Being able to convey messages to the younger generation that visited was very fulfilling for him too. “I always wanted to communicate with the youth through my art. When the opportunity to design nightclubs came up, it presented the perfect canvas for this endeavour. This was an extension of my personality,” says Kisalay. It allowed him to express himself on large canvases in the public domain, the medium and young enthusiastic audience forming a perfect combination. Repeitive exposure to the pieces in a relaxed context was more conducive to people growing to understand and appreciate them rather than expecting viewers to ‘get’ an artwork within 20 seconds of looking at it.
Being the first artist to start public art seriously in the city, Kisalay managed to garner accolades for his unique work. He was commissioned by the Essel Group to create installations for Fun Republic. The installation had the distinction of being the city’s tallest stainless steel sculpture.
Throughout this journey, Kisalay continued to paint for his patrons and created works that explored Eastern and Indian mythology. One of the first artists in India to explore different mediums simulta- neously, he did not subscribe to being a purist and continued to challenge the boundaries between fields.
In his quest to seek newer platforms for expressing himself through art, Kisalay moved into a very potent field called Visual Merchandising. Through this phase he served as Director at Percept H and started a separate profit center for VM. Here too, his focus on art never wavered and Kisalay continued to create pieces that portrayed social messages.
After Percept, Kisalay decided to use all his accumulated information, experiences and knowledge gained through various experiments in various mediums and started to pour it onto his canvases. Every series he produced was sold out for three to four years together. In that time, he did shows of pre-sold works in collaboration with his regular patrons.
This was when he decided to create a series of works, which were abstract and more introspective in nature. He travelled extensively and interacted with a lot of art and artists and conducted open studio events for his patrons and art enthusiasts.
Around this time, being heavily affected by socio-political and everyday occurrences, he began thinking along the lines of expressing these feelings in a way that moved beyond just being representational. He felt the need to give back to society. This is where the seeds were sown for his present series of works.
Kisalay has a studio in Mumbai and another one at Koregaon Park, Pune. His work has received extensive coverage in the media across the country and internationally in publications such as The Times of India, Khaleej Times in Dubai and the Reader’s Digest, to name a few.
Currently Kisalay is represented by
Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai
Art Positive, Dehli
Monalisa Kalagram, Pune
In the near future he will be associating with Art and Deal, Dehli and Time and Space, Bangalore. He will also be colaborating with The Basu Foundation of Art, Kolkatta.