Arun Prem was awarded second place for his Oil on Canvas, She
To Arun, painting is a way to memorialize his experiences, celebrate life and a way to come to terms with challenges that come with it. Just as immigration and travel have shaped his life thus far, his artwork often tackles isolation, cultural conflict and colonial history. The resulting art is very personal and reflective of his personality. He attributes the variety of themes and the quick brush movements to his short attention span and dyslexic tendencies. The colorful palette results from his upbringing in India. Living in southern California, his current home, inspired Arun to paint realistic seascapes which he paints in his studio from his own photographs. Arun’s work is influenced by many styles - abstract Expressionism, Impressionism, Orientalism to name a few. His favorite artists are an eclectic group including John Singer Sargent, Jean-Leon Gerome, Krishen Khanna, Cecily Brown, Willem DeKoonig and Richard Diebenkorn.
We asked Arun how he became interested in art.
He responded: I was inspired to paint by watching my uncle who was a wonderful watercolor artist. During high school I took a summer class in oil painting and fell in love with the medium. I began to paint in my free time and have not stopped since. In 2010, I ran into difficulties at my job, and decided to launch my artwork on my own website as a second career. I still work full time in my day job, and paint in my home studio.
A listing of some of the important exhibitions that Arun was juried into:
February 4 – March 4, 2017 Global Perspectives, group show at SAC Gallery, Santa Ana, Curator Ed Fosmire
Jul–Oct 2016 Erasing Borders, group show hosted by The Gallery, Jan Hus Gallery, and Kapoor Galleries in NYC and Center for the Arts in New Jersey; Curator Vijay Kumar
December 2014 - Dec Group show W.A.R. Women Arts and Resistance at the American Center in New Delhi, India; Curator Myna Mukerjee
The title came from the title of a fascinating novel titled She, by English writer H. Rider Haggard. The theme of this painting was derived from Hindu mythology from India where I grew up. Durga is a Goddess of Strength and Justice who brings compassion, peace, calm and order to the chaos, destruction and conflict in any situation. She appears on her tiger, looking completely serene and composed, dressed in a red silk sari and carrying various weapons in her arms. The outstretched hand is a symbol for caring and acceptance - one I love to use in my figurative paintings.