J. S. Mohan (better known as Mohan) is an elderly skinny man with silver-haired who lives down the street. His face is chiselled and weather beaten. When I saw him the first time, he sat quietly in his easy chair at the corner with a cigarette holding in his emaciated fingers. “Come, please have a sit”, he raised his head. He seemed a bit spiritless, as if he is giving in to the passage of time and is unaware of his surroundings.
However, when we started to talk, Mohan’s eyes started to shine. It totally transformed his face and the years dropped away from his face. His eyes shone brightly and his teeth gleamed like piano keys. When I get to know him more, I know he is a simple yet wise man. A small act of gratitude of kindness can already fill him with happiness.
Mohan is best described as a music dee-jay turned painter. His interest in art started when he was pursuing his study on Sound Engineering in England (1989 – 1992).
Back then, parts of his leisure activities and exploration included attending fun art classes for about three to four times during his stint in England. When he was back in Malaysia in 1993, his career as a professional music dee-jay started to bloom. There is a slight twist in this though – he started doing some commission artworks for commercial clients, like music pubs and cafes. His art inclination at that time was more into pop art and culture. “I need to survive, and this is the best way to earn money”, clear and simple answer.
Mohan continues to grow his passion in art. He was encouraged by a senior local artist, “Jerry” to start painting using oil and acrylic – which he did and never stop until now.
Mohan considers himself as a self-taught artist. Although he has never been to any of the art school, he reads A LOT. He believes that all the knowledge can be found in the books. His thirst to learn has made him where is he now today. He studies the elements of art, the visual components of colour, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value all by himself. He experienced, he failed, but he never stopped.
For Mohan, line and motion is the most important thing. He always focuses on how to draw viewers into his paintings. “When you understand lines, light and shadow, you will understand everything about painting”, this is what I heard the most when I was painting with him. He also told me that, “the only way to excel is by practice, a lot of practices”.
Fascination Over Salvador Dali
Mohan’s biggest inspiration is Salvador Dali. Dali’s bizarre subconscious imagery holds an irresistible fascination for Mohan. In contrast to Dali’s renowned flamboyant personality, Mohan is rather a reclusive character. Mohan is also highly imaginative, and could be mischievous at times. Mohan enjoyed indulging in his own world.
He even dreamt of Dali when he is sleeping. In his dream, Dali taught him how to paint. “I love him so much to the extent that he even appears in my dream to teach me how to paint. Immediately I woke up and this painting ‘Tribute to Salvador Dali’ is born.”
After his retirement, Mohan decided to do art full time. It has been 4 years now since he painted professionally. His biggest life dream is to see himself as a successful professional artist with paintings sold all over the world.
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Evolution in Mohan’s paintings
Mohan’s paintings are always colourful. He painted mainly on realism, surrealism, pop arts, culture and figurative paintings. These are some of the paintings in his early years of paintings:
After many years of being a realist, Mohan decided to venture into a series of abstract paintings which he named it as “Rock Series”. One of the most astonishing paintings from this series is called the “Rock Series V”. View this series at Art-Gallery.