Kolkata, Feb 02 : She is an American artist widely known for 3D street paintings or chalk drawings. She has her name at the Guinness World Record for the 'Largest Chalk Painting by an Individual'. With her soul in the US and her mind in India, Tracy Lee Stum had a candid tete-atete exclusively with UNI......
Q. Tracy, you have painted seven women on the wall of United States gallery at Kolkata Book Fair. Who are they?
Tracy: Actually we are celebrating 'Women of Colour In Literature'. So, all these women are acclaimed authors. In the left wall, I started with American novelist Alice Walker. Then we have Toni Morrison, she is a Nobel Laureate novelist. We have Angie Thomas, a young adult fiction writer then finally we have Jhumpa Lahiri on the wall. On the right wall, I started with American author Zora Neale Hurston and then we have British novelist Jacqueline Wilson and last but not the least American poet Maya Angelou.
Q. How would you like to define the phrase 'Women of Colour', which you are celebrating?
Tracy: I think it's a very broad spectrum. It can incorporate many many things I believe. Many different nationalities, ethnicities and more to mention. In this fair, we are focusing on AfricanAmerican women and keeping a Kolkata connection also in mind with Jhumpa Lahiri is the order I selected while making the images on the wall.
Q. How much do you love the art of Kolkata?
Tracy: Oh My Gosh! I love it. I love it very much. I love the complete culture of Kolkata including its music, painting, dance, literature, poetry and I can't resist mentioning the folk tradition of West Bengal is fantastic. My husband Sayak is a Bengali artist, I am too much in love with Bengal. I am becoming here for several years right from 2012. Then I became friends with several artists of the city; I visited some villages and seen they are making some folk traditional art which is mindblowing.
Q. Being a daughter-in-law of Bengal, have you ever seen Durga Puja?
Tracy: Of course. I was here in 2014. I loved Durga Puja and it was a fantastic experience. I like to mention the artisans create the pandals are real geniuses to me. As I am a visual person so when I walk around the city I see everything and in Kolkata, that's very inspiring.
Q. Are you only on the street art or you paint on the papers too?
Tracy: I do artworks as my preparation for the larger project. Actually, I do prefer to work on a large scale. That's why I move as much as an artist. I probably do more of the wall painting and floor painting than a piece of art you can frame and put in a gallery. I think street art wants to be away from the establishment but now it becomes an establishment. But I keep trying painting and drawing for myself.
Q. How much do you think Indian and American art is identical? Or is it totally different?
Tracy: The word 'art' is very hard to classify. It's tough to describe what art is. But I must say that in America we have contemporary art that tends to be a realist and naturalist art. Besides this, some of the contemporary applications are parallels like painting exhibition, photography show, videos and so on. I think those are same in any country I would imagine. But the traditional art form of India is unparalleled and definitely, we don't have in the US. Actually, I realised that India has such a long and rich history so they have religious and spiritual-based artwork that we miss in the US.
Q. Are you somehow fond of abstract art?
Tracy: I do. I love abstraction. I do appreciate what other people see, experience and the way they express themselves. I love every bit of it.Q. Do you think surrealism is important for art? Tracy: There are a lot of people in my field or my genre who are working with surrealism. I would rather say, they are surrealist actually. It's something that people can appreciate, understand and enjoy. As you know it's like any other movement and relevant too. But I don't want to call myself a surrealist, maybe some people call me a surrealist but I don't want to tag myself a surrealist. (UNI)